Elise understands her father—a Vietnam vet who abandoned her when she was an infant—about as much as she does her church organist mother and the rest of their suburban Virginia town. When even that thin thread of connection is suddenly severed, Elise is flung across the world, to Southeast Asia. Tracing the steps her father took through the war, Elise searches for a connection—with his ghost, with other travelers, with the foreign culture and environment she experiences. In a series of linked short stories, Talismans follows Elise’s journey to learn what she must hold onto, and what she must leave behind.

Watch a recorded reading here.

Listen to Sybil talk about Talismans during a WUTC interview.

Praise for Talismans:

Sybil Baker writes beautifully of a young woman’s journey to make peace with her past, in spite of being impeded by loss. The felt-life of her settings pulses on every page. The young woman is brave; Sybil Baker is brave, as well, for writing with such keen honesty.”

Patricia Henley, author of Hummingbird House and In the River Sweet

Baker’s language is sharp and evocative…Talismans combines the descriptive power of short fiction with the narrative swath of a novel, and it should appeal to fans of both.”

Paul V. GriffithChapter 16

Talismans is a haunting and memorable series of vignettes that will leave readers thinking about Elise, as well as the places she visits and the persons with whom she interacts, long after reading the final short story in the collection…Baker is a gifted writer, in that she has created ten individual works that stand alone, and can be read and appreciated independently of each other… her descriptions of the people and places are lush and her narration authoritative.”