Book Excerpts

The Strangest Thing He Never Saw Coming. A 32,500-word novella inspired by the death of my uncle Lawrence in a blizzard, which channels some of my favorite writers (Annie Ernaux, Emmanuel Bove, William Maxwell). A blend realistic and magical fiction: True fiction.

The Littlest Nihilist. A 56,000-word novel about a traumatized little boy and his mother who is incapable of helping him.

My Dog, Me. A 51,000-word novel about a young man who’s been dumped by his girlfriend for good reason, but instead of sticking around and sulking he flies to New Orleans where he rents a cheap apartment. He also buys a bicycle on which to get to know the city better. He’s white, his bike is white. He bikes into black neighborhoods. He gets to know black people. He meets an atypically beautiful woman (and her close friends) who he forms a unique relationship with.

Wash My Bones and Sing My Song. A 48,000-word memoir about my mother’s Alzheimer’s and a large family in crisis. I always kept a journal with me when we visited so I could capture the playfulness and dissolution of her speech. It became my belief that Alzheimer’s can teach us much about the ultimate loss of every mind’s authority. Hang on for a harrowing account, from independent living to her final weeks in a Psych Ward.

One False Hope and You’re Dead. A 50,000-word novel about a young nanny who gets in over her head while caring for the children,  an unwitting wife, and a psychopathic husband. Progressing from cold observations, to heated observations, to outright rebellion.

Hobby Horses: A Private Eye for Every Act. A 19,000-word novella about recent high school graduates of a small Midwestern town who spend their time casually and callously hurting each other while trying to make it.

Whimsy Rules the Plateau. A 32,000-word novella set in hockey country. Martha graduates from high school lonely and meets a boy hockey player who takes her on an epochal and mythical journey of love toward the “ever-north.” Slight of words and sleight of hand.

Michael & Magdalena. An unfinished novel that follows the parallel but vastly different paths of an American young man and a Guatemalan young woman — until the fateful moment in which they meet and worlds, unaware, collide.

I Was No One’s Servant but My Own. A selection of poetry, mostly from my early years.