“John Cotter’s prose is lyric, his images unforgettable, his characters richly complicated. From the first sentence to the last, I was captivated by this story and the characters that call out to the reader with mystery and beauty and terror, like voices in the night. Under the Small Lights is a book to be savored, and John Cotter is an exciting new voice in contemporary fiction.”

Laura van den Berg, author of What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us

“John Cotter’s Under the Small Lights is the kind of book I always look for and rarely find: a mellow meditation on friendship and romance and the romance of friendship told in prose straightforward and lovely. His characters are urbane and articulate, foolishly impulsive, and heartbreakingly earnest. It’s been a long time since I’ve encountered a bildungsroman this successful, let alone a novella this bighearted.”
Josh Russell, author of Yellow Jack and My Bright Midnight

Under the Small Lights is a kaleidoscopic glimpse at an intense circle of friends as they mix love and obsession in a sort of game of art. John Cotter knows how to write cutting dialogue and create slices of ardent and ambitious lives as they balance on the last edge of youth.”
Ron Carlson, author of The Signal and Five Skies.

“John Cotter knows his people, their talk, their turf. An auspicious debut by a writer to watch.”
Janet Peery, National Book Award finalist for The River Beyond the World


Here’s Jason Cook’s great review at The Daily Loaf.

A note-perfect review by Levi Stahl on I’vebeenreadinglately.

An interview with my new friends at Lighthouse Writers.

Read Grace Talusan’s review of Under the Small Lights at The Rumpus.

Read Dan Mager’s review of the novel at New Pages.

Under the Small Lights is recommended at length at Lit Pub.

There’s a thoughtful reflection by Dan Green at The Reading Experience.

Also Carissa Halston’s review at the Aforementioned Productions blog,

& Adam Gallari’s at The Collagist,

& Jason Behrends’ review at Orange Alert.

Read the backstory of the novel here, at Lisa Peet’s Like Fire.

Watch me read from the book at Literary Firsts.

A quick interview in The Daily Iowan.

A less quick interview in The Cornell Daily Sun.

Hear a reading from Under the Small Lights at Chicago Now.


& see the trailer here:

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