Under the Small Lights

Powells Amazon

Jack, Paul, and Corinna meet in bed during a gin-soaked celebration of the Clinton–Dole debate. After Paul and Corinna’s hasty wedding, Jack negotiates his new position as a weekend spectator of their marriage. Meanwhile, Jack and his best friend Bill grow apart, and the theater piece they were constructing on the shores of Walden Pond about a lost girl on a train becomes instead about a woman haunted by a second, aboriginal soul. Paul attempts to insinuate himself into the moneyed lifestyle of Charles Jodoin, the wealthy poet next door, and Jack finds himself back in Corinna’s bed. At a summer party thrown by the poet, Jack discovers that he’s not Corinna’s only extra-marital interest. Violence erupts and long-held secrets are exposed. Over unfinished plays and unread poems, the characters iUnder the Small Lights wrestle between the roles they want to play in life and the roles already assigned to them.

Under the Small Lights is a wry and lyrical take on the lives of lost 20-somethings, their stabs at art and their unlucky lusts. Jack, Bill, Paul, and Corinna grow up without roadmaps, with dubious models, and with more pills and gin than they know what to do with. This is a novel about the doubtful possibility of collective love and the painful experiences which, once having endured them, we wouldn’t be without.


A fine review by Levi Stahl at I’vebeenreadinglately

Jason Cook’s review at Creative Loafing.

Read Grace Talusan’s review at The Rumpus.

Carissa Halston’s recommendation of the book at Lit Pub.

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

Another review at Aforementioned Productions

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

Jason Behrends’ review at Orange Alert,

Adam Gallari’s review at The Collagist,

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

Also: there’s some video of me reading from the book at Literary Firsts.

A quick interview in The Daily Iowan.



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