How exhilarating to come across a young writer as technically gifted and emotionally insightful as Eric Puchner . . . The nine stories in his debut collection are told in a classical mode . . . executed with such fluency, constructed with such surprising plot twists and blessed with so many bright, memorable lines that they rise above the contemporary din . . . this [collection] builds beautifully.
–The New York Times Book Review
This wry, incisive book gathers a well-drawn group of rudderless characters seeking a deeper hold on their world. . . brilliant . . . An awe-inspiring debut that introduces readers to Puchner's great strength: the ability to chronicle the oddest of behaviors with a humane, unsparing voice. Grade A.
The broad range and perfect pitch of these stories are astounding.
–The Boston Globe
Funny and heartbreaking . . . There are no gimmicks in these stories, and no need for any. There is wonderful writing, and characters that take hold and don't let go . . . it's hoped Puchner gets the audience he deserves.
The America that Eric Puchner portrays in this riveting collection swings between the mordant surrealism of, say, George Saunders and the Wal-Mart realism of Bobbie Ann Mason . . . he brings an appraising eye to the oddball—and often hilarious—goings-on of the upstart children, hormonally adrift teens, feckless teachers, and absentee parents that populate these pages, making MUSIC THROUGH THE FLOOR a time capsule, at once alien and wholly familiar, of the here and now . . . In this melodious collection, Puchner proves to be uncannily in tune with the heartbreak and absurdity of domestic life.
A triumph of the short story genre . . . transcendently beautiful and moving . . . Every story in Music Through the Floor carries with it the weight of emotional gravity.
–San Antonio Express-News
Stories with style, heft, and real endings . . . Puchner puts the story back in short story. He homes in on that one perfect moment or moments, on a scene that presents just the right vantage point to spy on the characters.
–San Francisco Chronicle
Salinger meets Rabelais in a fresh, profoundly human debut collection that meditates on growing up, falling apart and simply being dazzled or bollixed by the wondrous puzzlement of life...nine terrific stories with memorable and just-right detail, bits of observation that work like bite-sized poems. The author has a sharp eye and a warm touch, and it’s impossible not to identify with his mixed-up characters and the messy lives they gamely muddle through...Puchner is a hip writer, his language colloquial and his tone knowing. But he's never ironic, never less than wise. Don't miss this introduction to a genuinely talented find.
–Kirkus Review (Starred Review)
This impressive first collection is filled with fragile, wayward loners often responsible for their own outsider status . . . characters not only sympathetic but somehow endearing as well.
Eric Puchner beckons us into the consciousness of the lonely, the alienated, and the variously disconnected...Puchner's stories...are real life. They capture the existence of ordinary people, then glimpse in their circumscribed worlds scraps of the extraordinary, the spectacular, or the grotesque.
Eric Puchner shows just how startling a first work can be. The nine stories included here wake you up to the joy and heartache of a tale well told . . . storytelling that lingers long after the last page is turned.
A debut collection [that] really sings . . . very funny . . . Puchner is a high-energy young writer who never ceases to surprise the reader.
–Deseret Morning News
A remarkable debut collection of stories . . . a new writer certain to receive far more notice as his career progresses.
Unbridled imagination, free-roaming empathy, and well-crafted prose . . . a substantial and affecting debut collection. Puchner's insight into outsiders, fluency in pain and irony, and edgy humor make for rewardingly complex and hard-hitting stories.
Sad, funny tales animated with . . . welcome moments of menace.
Puchner shows a great acceptance and compassion for the human condition, along with a wry sense of humor. Grade A.
–Rocky Mountain News
Puchner delivers with his first book . . . readers will hope this collection is only [his] opening salvo.
–East Bay Express
[A] sublime collection . . . The great creative triumph of Puchner's stories, which . . . recall the aerodynamic command of language and the resilient heart of, say, Michael Chabon, is their great kindness to characters from all walks of life.
A slew of stories filled to the brim with a raw, often funny, but always poignant pathos that [keeps] each page following the last in rapid succession.
–The Skinny magazine
[Puchner's] intelligence, his fascination with nearly everything and his considerable technical skills are deployed in the service of emotional truth, that resonant thrum of a short story firing on all cylinders.
–Los Altos Town Crier
This is the most auspicious debut of a short story collection that I have encountered in years. Eric Puchner is a master of the perfect phrase and the perfect detail, and his stories are exceptionally wide-ranging in subject and tone: they can be funny, scary, and deeply moving, while the writing is at all times smart and emotionally courageous. Writers like Eric Puchner are keeping the short story form alive, and if there is any justice left in the world, this book will be widely read and celebrated.
–Charles Baxter, author of The Feast of Love and Saul and Patsy
No blurb can do justice to this book. It is riotously funny and smart and beautiful, as nuanced and unpredictable as real life. This is the book you will keep by your bedside table, the one you will loan to friends and then feel compelled to steal back in the middle of the night.
–Julie Orringer, author of How to Breathe Underwater
Music Through the Floor is a compendium of everything we hope for from current fiction, delivered with a singular wit, energy, and ecstasy unique to Puchner's prose. The stories are infectious and irresistible, as if he's channeling Tristram Shandy, Dostoevsky and South Park all at once.
–ZZ Packer, author of Drinking Coffee Elsewhere
The distance between childhood and adulthood, as Eric Puchner shows us, can be measured in light years. Incandescent with language and humor, the stories in Music Through the Floor radiate enough intelligence, enough emotional gravity, to light our way. We depend on new writers to be sextants of the human condition. Eric Puchner, however, has positioned himself as a polestar.
–Adam Johnson, author of Emporium and Parasites Like Us
Eric Puchner is one of our great young storytellers, arriving with this beautiful collection, in which his varied, surprising characters are connected by a sense that we are foolish and we are lost, yet we are all in this together.
–Andrew Sean Greer, author of The Confessions of Max Tivoli