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The Barn Ruins

A Novel

Walking on this world are people whose very bones contain the dirt under their feet, their blood the water of nearby streams. The passing of their earthly wisdom to kin gives meaning to their lives. And on this world are children who reject their elders’ ways and abandon home in search of an identity all their own. But can anyone born to carry the burden of entire generations ever really escape the weight of it?

This is the question at the heart of The Barn Ruins.

Sheperd Whelan was born with some kind of ghost. A ghost of expectations to carry on the proud and righteous farming traditions of the Whelan men before him. But in the miserable wake of a family tragedy, he is forced to hold tenuously to the shreds of his mother and father and decides as a young man to forget all he'd been given and find out who he really is.


As an adult, he finds himself lost in a miasma of alcoholism, vagrancy, and violence when he is faced with yet another fateful decision about who he wants to be. It's then that the past he spent his life trying to out-run comes rushing back in the most unexpected form.

The Barn Ruins stretches over more than twenty years and is set in the vastness of the American landscape, from rural Virginia to the expansive American West. It is an introspective and eloquent story about land, self-discovery, and the meaning of home.

Portions of The Barn Ruins have been published as a short story titled "Death Spares Not Another Year," Levee Magazine, 2019.

The Barn Ruins is a completed manuscript and currently open for representation and/or publication.


Special thanks to editor Caitlin Alexander for your help revising the latest draft.

Agents or publishers wanting to learn more about The Barn Ruins are encouraged to email the author at kevinwaynezerbe@gmail.com.