A Book About: Life

In September we’ll publish the first book I acquired for Reagan Arthur Books/Little, Brown, and I could not be more excited.  It’s a debut story collection from a writer named Stuart Nadler, who graduated from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has been published in the Atlantic Monthly.  I’m excited about this book because I love stories—I read them in every literary magazine I can get my hands on—big circulation, small circulation, Canadian, Southern, traditional, avant-garde—and if I only have a half hour to read something I’d rather sit down with a story than anything else, for the wonderful sense of completion.  Stuart’s are my favorite kind of stories—long, complex, Alice Munro-type stories with lots of twists and turns, and characters who continually surprise the reader with their thoughts and actions—characters who continually surprise themselves. Our publicist, Marlena, described it as “that rare collection that makes me feel at the start of each story that I’m in good hands and am going to love where it takes me.”

I love that Stuart’s book is not just about one thing but everything.  It’s about fathers trying to connect with their wayward sons; about couples who are desperately in love but screw up their romance anyway; about friends who betray each other and families who lie and cheat but are still families; about grief, faith, and ultimately the redemptive power of relationships.  In other words, it’s about life, which is why I think The Book of Life is a perfect title, perfectly matched by designer Matt Tanner’s bold, stop-you-in-your-tracks cover.  For more information about Stuart and the book visit his gorgeous, just-launched website, and follow him on Twitter.

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