Cafe Abyss: John O'Brien's Fiction: A Reflection

Rob Jackson (Editor) David Megenhardt (Editor)


Cleveland native John O'Brien is best known for his novel Leaving Las Vegas, the eventual basis of an Oscar-winning film. However, Leaving Las Vegas only scrapes the surface of a creative career shrouded in the shadow of alcoholism and depression.

In Caf Abyss, a variance of Cleveland writers take personalized looks into John's work, including Leaving Las Vegas but moving beyond to Stripper Lessons, The Assault on Tony's, and more.

John sadly committed suicide in 1994, so each essay included in this powerful anthology is an independent (and sometimes intimate) foray into the writings, which unfortunately were all produced within a few short years.

Edited by Rob Jackson and David Megenhardt, Cleveland authors celebrate one of Cleveland's sons--with the goal of making a wider audience aware of not only his best-known work but also works lesser known.

Product Details

Red Giant Books
Publish Date
November 07, 2019
5.98 X 0.5 X 9.02 inches | 0.72 pounds
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

ROB JACKSON is Associate Professor in the Department of Biology and Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences at Duke University and Director of Duke's Program in Ecology.


I was going to say this book is a must for any John O'Brien completist and call it a day, but then I immediately felt like a fraud because I myself wasn't even a John O'Brien completist. Until I read this book, that is, which made me want to become a John O'Brien completist. Of course, all of this leads me to final point, which is to say definitively that this book is a must for any John O'Brien completist.

Dave Hill

Author of Tasteful Nudes, Dave Hill Doesn't Live Here Anymore and Parking The Moose

"I knew this was the book for me when I repeatedly found myself wanting to enter into the discussion within its pages. By approaching its subject from an array of perspectives, it serves as a much-needed examination of John O'Brien's small but vital output. The voices inside its covers are as varied as its perspectives, ranging from the conversational to the scholarly, but they all serve the same purpose: to recognize O'Brien's talents and explore what his works have to tell us about the human condition."

Jacob Snodgrass

Author of Sock Full of Holes and A Soft Spot In The Earth's Skull

The smart, insightful voices that comprise this book give us insight into a man and his work, works lesser known, and his unique masterpiece.

-Don Evans

Executive Director of The Chicago Literary Hall of Fame and author of and Good Money After Bad