out of print

Unpublished novels and other nonsense for you to read:


The Tragic History of John Cocke & William Bull (2009)

The idea for this story came to me more-or-less complete one day as I sat reading Moby-Dick in a Chinese restaurant, no doubt while eating chicken yakisoba. This novel is equal parts Melville,  Shakespeare, and soy sauce. An unhappy love triangle among criminals in Colonial America. A high body count, explicit violence, a hurricane, Jehovah, a whale, the usual stuff. My second agent tried mightily to find a publisher for this book, but it was deemed too otherworldly and unsympathetic for America's readers. It's only "realism" at the surface level, and even that surface-level "realism" breaks down over the length of the book.

The Transcendental Detective (2010)

An experiment in golden-age detective fiction, which is to say not properly a detective novel, but more like thirteen Chekhovian character sketches held together by a Frenchwoman's investigation of a murder on a fictional island off the coast of Oregon. Heavily indebted to Woolf and Beckett as well as to Christie. A comic novel about a crime of passion, featuring a strong female lead character. This one was almost published. Almost.

Go Home, Miss America (2013)

A novel about memory, a college novel, a novel about European exploitation of Africa, a novel about saints and sinners, a religious novel, a family novel, a novel about goats. I could not find an agent for this book. I suspect that's because the novel doesn't push the falsehood that self-actualization is the ultimate good. Or maybe it's just not a very good novel. I don't know, I tell you in all honesty. In terms of prose, I was in my Fitzgerald/Hemingway phase, so a bit terse and clangorous.

Mona In The Desert (2014)

A literary critic in search of a new life takes the reader on a spiral path through his family history, following his mother in and out of a repressive marriage, and his aunt Mona through her three erratic and unpredictable relationships backward in time to a climactic battle against a witch. This is my favorite of my own novels, containing in some way everything I'd ever read and most of what I believed to be true about people and art. The narrative shape is that of a cloud of leaves blown off a tree, swirling as they tumble to the earth. I still believe that this is a great book, a beautiful and surprising novel. It is everything I want fiction to be.

Short Stories

The Solicitor's Clerk
Complex Chinese
Before All Those Unhappy Miles
The Gift of the Magi