“An intimate portrait of the violence we do to each other, about family and art and the scars of unspeakable acts. Broken River blisters and rips and ultimately soars. I loved it."
— Lauren Beukes, author of Zoo City and Moxyland
“Broken River is a novel with multiple identities: it's a ghost story, a crime story, a coming-of-age story, a story about love and family and fiction itself. What is astonishing is how well all these elements work together, how they intertwine as seamlessly as the fates of Lennon's characters. As good as fiction gets.”
— Ben Winters, author of the Last Policeman trilogy and Underground Airlines
"Compelling from the first page, and then smart, sophisticated, suspenseful
and satisfying throughout — Broken River is a first–class ride.”
— Lee Child, author of the Jack Reacher novels
Links have been provided for Powell's Books and Amazon.com. Books currently in print can also be ordered from your local independent. Signed copies of many of these books can be bought from Buffalo Street Books in Ithaca, NY; Buffalo Street can also acquire used or out of print editions, have me sign them, and send them to you.
SEE YOU IN PARADISE
In these stories, a portal to another universe can be discovered with surprising nonchalance in a suburban backyard, adoption almost reaches the level of blood sport, and old pals return from the dead to steal your girlfriend. Sexual dysfunction, suicide, tragic accidents, and career stagnation all create surprising opportunities for unexpected grace in this depiction of those days (weeks, months, years) we all have when things just don't go quite right.
“Unconventional yet emotionally resonant stories...Much like his contemporaries Kevin Wilson or Wells Tower, Lennon is one of those writers who defies categorization and is as likely to fit comfortably into Weird Tales as he is into Granta.” ―Kirkus Reviews
Elisa Brown is driving back from her annual, somber visit to her son Silas’s grave when something changes. Actually, everything changes: her car, her clothes, her body. When she arrives back home, her life is familiar—but different. There is her house, her husband. But in the world she now inhabits, Silas is no longer dead, and his brother Sam is disturbingly changed. Elisa has a new job, and her marriage seems sturdier, and stranger, than she remembers. She finds herself faking her way through a life she is convinced is not her own. Has she had a psychotic break? Or has she entered a parallel universe? Elisa believed that Silas was doomed from the start, but now that he is alive, what can she do to repair her strained relations with her children? She soon discovers that these questions hinge on being able to see herself as she really is—something that might be impossible, for Elisa, for anyone.
The New York Times Book Review: "[An] allusive and mysterious novel . . . one of his finest."
The Boston Globe: "An important book...so thrilling that it achieves an almost magical propulsion."
THE GREAT ZOMBINI
ebook of short-short stories, Red Willow Digital Press, 2011. Collaboration with collage artist Lou Beach: an embarrassing interview with a nude skier, a bicycle made of iron, a piano-loving gangster, a sinister birthday party magician, an alcoholic ape in denial, a mail-order bride, the end of the world, and fifteen other multimedia eye-poppers and gusset-busters. HEAR the imprisoned schoolteacher rationalize her torture of the troublemaker named Billy! SEE the shopping mall Santa with a disfigured face! LISTEN to the musical stylings of a modern-day political troubador! WITNESS the unfolding madness of the diarizing ichthyologist! 21 stories and weird pictures in all.
Novel, Graywolf Press, 2009. A man buys a plot of land in upstate New York, only to discover that it contains an abandoned castle, and the secrets of his past. Buy audiobook from Iambik.com!
The New York Times Book Review: "A terrific story, dire and confusing and convincing...it richly deserves to be read."
The Dallas Morning News: "Clever and insightful, [Castle] compels the reader to solve a series of riddles that reveal the emotional rationale underpinning our most despicable behavior."
PIECES FOR THE LEFT HAND
Stories, Granta Books, 2005, and Graywolf Press, 2009. 100 short shorts.
The Guardian: "These are stories about connections - sometimes meaningful, but often mysterious, or conjured out of random coincidence in our efforts to make moral sense of the world...intriguing and graceful."
Novel, 2006. A wealthy woman has secret plans for the small town she has just moved to. An abridged version of this novel was serialized in Harper's Magazine.
Buy the ebook from Amazon.
Novel, W. W. Norton and Granta, 2003. A frenetic bildungsroman about a doomed mailman. Read an excerpt in Granta 82.
Review of Contemporary Fiction: "The secret of this extraordinary work is that letters--written words--are our salvation.Mailman is, finally, a radiant mirror of the days of our lives--a triumphant work of art."
Library Journal: "Like Joseph Heller's John Yossarian and Ken Kesey's Randle McMurphy, Alfred Lippincott, Lennon's titular mailman, is destined to become one of the great characters in American literature... This is black comedy at its best."
ON THE NIGHT PLAIN
Novel, Henry Holt and Granta, 2001. After the Second World War, a man leaves his home on a Great Plains sheep ranch. He returns to chaos and despair, and decides to devote himself to setting things right.
The New York Times: "The kind of book that steals slowly into the reader's sympathy...An utterly convincing evocation of hard lives...impressive."
Publisher's Weekly: "A terse and haunting story that speaks of the inescapable bonds of blood, the ineluctable hold of the land and the healing powers of work and solitude."
Novel, Riverhead Books and Granta, 1999. A failed installation artist inherits his father's syndicated comic strip, and is forced to come to terms with his dysfunctional family.
Salon: "Lennon entertainingly sends up celebrity culture and the new children-of-celebrity culture, but his most substantial achievement is his three-dimensional portraits of Tim and Pierce...The novel...makes large what the real funnies make small."
The New Yorker: "Psychologically nuanced, richly detailed, and unexpectedly comic."
THE LIGHT OF FALLING STARS
Novel, Riverhead Books and Granta, 1997. The lives of five people are changed by a plane crash in a small Montana town. Winner of Barnes & Noble's 1997 Discover Great New Writers Award.
San Francisco Chronicle: "A memorable first novel...Lennon's lushly descriptive style speaks directly and metaphorically at the same time.... A voice with real promise."
Publisher's Weekly: "[An] ambitious, elegiac debut...[Lennon] paints a world tinged with loss, adeptly showing us sentiments left unspoken, relationships forever left dangling, silent moments of grief...lucid and graceful even in his characters' darkest hours."
W. W. Norton, 2012. In our bureaucratized culture, we’re inundated by documents: itineraries, instruction manuals, permit forms, primers, letters of complaint, end-of-year reports, accidentally forwarded email, traffic updates, ad infinitum. David Shields and Matthew Vollmer, both writers and professors, have gathered forty short fictions: counterfeit texts that capture the barely suppressed frustration and yearning that percolate just below the surface of most official documents. The innovative stories collected in Fakes trace the increasingly blurry line between fact and fiction and exemplify a crucial form for the twenty-first century. Features the JRL story "The Authors Speak."
Significant Objects (Anthology)
Fantagraphics Books, 2012. Can a great story transform a worthless trinket into a significant object? The Significant Objects project set out to answer that question once and for all, by recruiting a highly impressive crew of creative writers to invent stories about an unimpressive menagerie of items rescued from thrift stores and yard sales. That secondhand flotsam definitely becomes more valuable: sold on eBay, objects originally picked up for a buck or so sold for thousands of dollars in total — making the project a sensation in the literary blogosphere along the way. But something else happened, too: The stories created were astonishing, a cavalcade of surprising responses to the challenge of manufacturing significance. This book collects 100 of the finest tales from this unprecedented creative experiment. Features the JRL story "Choirboy."
The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2011 (Anthology)
Mariner Books, 2011. The Best American series is the premier annual showcase for the country’s finest short fiction and nonfiction. For each volume, the very best pieces are selected by a leading writer in the field, making the Best American series the most respected—and most popular—of its kind. Features the JRL story "Weber's Head."
What's Your Exit? (Anthology)
Word Riot Press, 2010. What's Your Exit? A Literary Detour through New Jersey is a collection of contemporary fiction, poetry, and essay inspired by a place that piques the curiosity of all who have set foot in it...and those who haven't. Themes of family, friendship, sex, love, fear, nostalgia and longing populate this anthology, which features forty-nine writers whose visions of the Jersey landscape are as eclectic and beautiful, and as unnerving and mysterious and bold as the place that unites them. Featuers the JRL story "Mark."
The Empty Page (Anthology)
Serpent's Tail, 2009. Decapitated hands, marrow-coloured goo, serial killing Dr Zhivago fanatics and double-sided dildos make their mark on The Empty Page: Fiction Inspired by Sonic Youth. Reddy K is chasing up fresh spiral from the big tube...Ulla Shooks is testifying, countering the wicked with the godly, Michael Chambers is enjoying an empty restaurant for what may be the last time, and Sue Carlyle is buying a penis. And that's just the tip of an ugly and decidedly surreal iceberg. Features the JRL story "Death to Our Friends."
Buy from Amazon.
Who Can Save Us Now? (Anthology)
The Free Press, 2008. Twenty-two of today's most talented writers (and comics fans) unite in Who Can Save Us Now?, an anthology featuring brand-new superheroes equipped for the threats and challenges of the twenty-first century -- with a few supervillains thrown in for good measure. With stunning illustrations by artist Chris Burnham. Features the JRL story "The Rememberer."
The Flash (Anthology)
Flambard Press, 2006. Stories inspired by the journals of Chekhov and Carver. Features the JRL story "When I Married, I Became An Old Woman." Also includes David Means, Andrew Crumley, Ali Smith.
Buy from Amazon.
Don't Forget to Write (Anthology)
826 Valencia, 2005. An anthology of short fiction, combined with writing prompts and assignments for teenagers. Features one of JRL's twenty-second stories from McSweeney's.
Buy from Amazon.
The Best American Short Stories 2005 (Anthology)
Houghton Mifflin, 2005. The Best American series has been the premier annual showcase for the country's finest short fiction and nonfiction since 1915. Each volume's series editor selects notable works from hundreds of periodicals. A special guest editor, a leading writer in the field, then chooses the very best twenty or so pieces to publish. This unique system has made the Best American series the most respected--and most popular--of its kind. Features several of JRL's Pieces for the Left Hand.
Prize Stories 2000: The O. Henry Awards (Anthology)
Anchor, 2000. Established early in the last century as a memorial to O. Henry, throughout its history this annual collection has consistently offered a remarkable sampling of contemporary short stories. Each year stories are chosen from large and small literary magazines and a panel of distinguished writers is enlisted to award the top prizes. The result is a superb collection of twenty inventive, full-bodied stories representing the very best in American and Canadian fiction. Features the JRL story "The Fool's Proxy," which later became the beginning of On the Night Plain.
Buy from Amazon.