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MIDDLE MEN (Simon & Schuster)
Be advised! Skylight Books is hosting the launch party for LA author Jim Gavin's debut story collection and you will not want to miss it.
Who is Jim Gavin? Just ask Esquire: "Who is Jim Gavin? The second coming of Denis Johnson if his debut collection is any indication. These sad, funny stories about nowhere men….knocked me out. MIDDLE MEN will transport you, will educate you, will entertain you, will fill you with laughter and sadness.”
“Jim Gavin’s stories are wise and funny and not at all afraid of the dark, or the light. Middle Men is a very powerful debut.”—Sam Lipsyte, author of The Ask
"Jim Gavin's MIDDLE MEN is perfectly titled -- these are characters gloriously unaware of how adrift they are. Gnostic high school basketballers, romantic pursuers, open mike comedians -- I've rarely seen such a keen depiction of souls so out of focus. These stories -- especially "Elephant Doors" -- brought back some hilarious, uncomfortable memories for me. Immerse yourself! Immerse!" – Patton Oswalt, author of Zombie Spaceship Wasteland
In "Middle Men," Stegner Fellow and "New Yorker" contributor Jim Gavin delivers a hilarious and panoramic vision of California, portraying a group of men, from young dreamers to old vets, as they make valiant forays into middle-class respectability. In "Play the Man" a high-school basketball player aspires to a college scholarship, in "Elephant Doors," a production assistant on a game show moonlights as a stand-up comedian, and in the collection's last story, the immensely moving "Costello," a middle-aged plumbing supplies salesman comes to terms with the death of his wife. The men in Gavin's stories all find themselves stuck somewhere in the middle, caught half way between their dreams and the often crushing reality of their lives. A work of profound humanity that pairs moments of high comedy with searing truths about life's missed opportunities, "Middle Men" brings to life a series of unforgettable characters learning what it means to love and work and be in the world as a man, and it offers our first look at a gifted writer who has just begun teaching us the tools of his trade.
JIM GAVIN worked as a sportswriter, a plumbing salesman, and a Jeopardy! production assistant. A former Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, he received his MFA from Boston University in 2011. His fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, ZYZZYVA, and Slice magazine. He lives in Southern California. This is his first book.Photo by Fred Schroeder