This powerful debut collection, set in the light-filled deserts of Nevada and Arizona, introduces a darkly inventive new voice. Like an early Richard Ford, Don Waters writes with skill, empathy, and an edgy wit of worlds not often celebrated in contemporary literature. In Desert Gothic, Waters unleashes a wild and gritty cast and points them down paths of reckoning, where the characters earn the grace of their hard-won wisdom.
Set in bars, mortuaries, nursing homes, truck stops, and the “poverty motels that encircled downtown’s casino corridor,” Waters’s ten stories are full of misfit transients like Julian, a crematorium worker who decorates abandoned urns to create a “lush underground island,” and the instant Mormon missionary Eli, a hapless divorcé who “always likes people better when they’re a little broken.” Limo drivers, ultra-marathoners, vagabonds, and a distraught novelist-to-be populate the pages of these gritty stories.
About the Author
Don Waters was born and raised in Reno, Nevada, and now lives in Berkeley, California. He’s received numerous honors for his writing, including fellowships from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Jentel Foundation, as well as the McGinnis-Ritchie Award from the Southwest Review. His stories have been published in such venues as Epoch,StoryQuarterly, the Kenyon Review, the Southwest Review, the Santa Monica Review, zyzzyva, the Cimarron Review, and Grain.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Excellent prose from a talented writer.