Fierce Pretty Things: Stories
In these eight darkly comic stories, Tom Howard explores the instincts for violence and tenderness that mark his character's lives. A brother and sister wander the pier after a deadly plague destroys most of humanity. A high school bully struggles to overcome his demons. A man in the grips of dementia is visited by his children's ghosts. The people in these blistering tales grapple with past mistakes, trying to navigate their way toward redemption and resurrection and failing often--but always with a ferocious heart. Their unforgettable voices guide us through schoolyards, cemeteries, drive-in theaters, and the rich landscapes of their own imaginations.
Equal parts funny, tragic, and wise, Fierce Pretty Things is a striking debut that teaches us how to live in a world as cruel as it is beautiful.
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About the Author
Tom Howard's stories have appeared in Ninth Letter, Indiana Review, Cincinnati Review, Willow Springs, Booth, and elsewhere, and have been awarded the Robert and Adele Schiff Award, the Tobias Wolff Award, the Masters Review Short Story Award, and the Indiana Review Fiction Prize. He holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and lives with his wife in Arlington, Virginia.
The stories in Howard's debut collection blend raw emotions with surreal forays into the supernatural and metaphysical.... Howard's fiction follows an unexpected logic, but at its best it achieves a deep emotional resonance."--Kirkus Reviews
Though not for the faint of heart, Howards stories depict his characters ruminations on abandonment, neglect, teen angst, and gun violence, making for an intense and effective collection."--Publishers Weekly