The Theory of Light and Matter: Stories


Product Details

University of Georgia Press
Publish Date
5.5 X 0.8 X 8.1 inches | 0.75 pounds
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About the Author

Andrew Porter's award-winning fiction has appeared in "One Story," "Epoch," and "The Pushcart Prize Anthology" and on NPR's "Selected Shorts." A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, he has received a variety of fellowships including the 2004 W. K. Rose Fellowship in the Creative Arts, a Helene Wurlitzer Fellowship, and a James Michener-Paul Engle Fellowship from the James Michener/Copernicus Society of America. Porter is an assistant professor of English and creative writing at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.


Porter's fiction is thoughtful, lucid, and highly controlled. It is especially striking for the strong consistency of vision that is achieved in every story. He has the kind of voice one can accept as universal--honest and grave, with transparency as its adornment.

--Marilynne Robinson "Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Gilead "

I've known of Andrew Porter's genius for ten years. He's a born storyteller. Every page of The Theory of Light and Matter will change something in your life and refresh you. Yet it is an easy read, nothing like classroom lit. He makes his own space instantly and invites you in. Hats off!

--Barry Hannah "author of Airships "

If you are anything like me, you will read Andrew Porter's The Theory of Light and Matter with the same feeling of simple gratitude that the first readers of Richard Ford's Rock Springs must have experienced twenty years ago: here, you will think, is a true master of the short story, a writer of honesty and plainspoken poetry who knows the human soul in all its light and shadow and harnesses every sentence to the purpose of revealing it.

--Kevin Brockmeier "author of The View from the Seventh Layer "

[L]ike taking a sip of the clearest mountain spring water: quenching, even though you've had water before . . . With clear, strong prose marked by devious underpinnings, Porter's style is straightforward, his characters careful narrators treading above a murky pool.


The Theory of Light and Matter displays that fine combination of mystery and manners that drove Flannery O'Connor's work and drives all good fiction: mystery over what our behaviors and misbehaviors reveal about us, and manners in the peculiar style or vision by which the author conducts the investigation.

--Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee University Review

[A] luminous collection . . . Porter's use of poetic yet plainspoken language and his thoughtful consideration of the fractured American family place his writing in direct dialogue with the work of John Cheever and Raymond Carver. But Porter is no mere student of these masters. As the ten stories in this luminous collection demonstrate, Porter has his own compelling vision of human longing, loneliness and grief. . . . Porter's The Theory of Light and Matter is a memorable debut that honors the history of the short story form while blazing a new trajectory all its own.

--Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The narrators of Porter's Flannery O'Connor Award-winning collection tend to be young and clear-eyed beyond their years as they give voice to the secrets . . . that haunt them. . . . If the events and secrets of these characters' pasts have not overtaken their lives, then their reverberations still threaten to corrupt the years yet to come. Throughout, Porter shows how love and pain often come hand in hand.

--Publishers Weekly