Book Excerpts

The Littlest Nihilist (a 56,000-word novel opens with a sprawling family reunion, the delight of which is a four-year-old, “rubber-legged” boy. However, at the end of the bright day he is molested by an unknown teenage boy who exits safely. Matty, trusting his mother, tries to tell her what has traumatized him, but she is either incapable of hearing such news or is unwilling to. The bond between them is broken.)

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 the cheapest apartment he can find. 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, 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 quickly while caring for the children and unwitting wife of a psychopathic man. The nanny progresses from cold observations, to heated observations, to outright rebellion that will mark her, and the family she is employed by, for life).

Snow Follows the Plow (a 45,000-word memoir-fictional account of my uncle’s death in a “trick blizzard” which channels some of my favorite writers (Annie Ernaux, W.G. Sebald, Laurent Binet, Thomas Bernhard, etc.) who blend fiction with biography so seamlessly readers just don’t know. True fiction).

Hobby Horses: A Private Eye for Every Act (a 19,000-word novella about Stu, Wayne, Sandy, Roger, Eugene, Randy, and Roberta — six recent high school graduates of a small Midwestern town who spend their time casually and callously hurting each other while trying to make it through).

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 as-yet-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).