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Last Day on Earth

Two stories chosen for Best American Short Stories

Winner of 2018 Towson Prize for Literature

Last Day on Earth

A boy on the cusp of adolescence fears his mother might be a robot; a psychotically depressed woman is entrusted with taking her niece and nephew trick-or-treating; a reluctant dad brings his baby to a debaucherous party; a teenage boy tries to prevent his mother from putting his estranged father’s dogs to sleep. Ranging from a youth arts camp to an aging punk band’s reunion tour, from an eerie future where parents no longer exist to a ferocious-ly independent bookstore, Last Day on Earth revolves around the endlessly complex, frequently surreal system that is family.

Eric Puchner, the author hailed as “technically gifted and emotionally insightful” (The New York Times Book Review), and someone who “puts the story back in short story” (San Francisco Chronicle Book Review), delivers a gloriously original, utterly memorable story collection that evokes both the comedy and tragedy of our lifelong endeavor to come of age.

Model Home

NY Times Book Review "Editor's Choice"

“Best Unsung Books of 2010,” PBS’s Newshour 

Finalist for PEN/Faulkner Award

Barnes & Noble Discover Award, 2nd Place

California Book Award for Fiction, Silver Medal 

Longlisted for International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award

Model Home

Warren Ziller moved his family to California in search of a charmed life and to all appearances, he found it: a gated community not far from the beach, amid the affluent splendor of Southern California in the 80s. But his American dream has been rudely interrupted.  Despite their affection for each other—the “slow, jokey, unrehearsed vaudeville” they share at home—Warren, his wife Camille, and their three children have veered into separate lives, as distant as satellites. Worst of all, Warren has squandered the family’s money on a failing real estate venture.

When tragedy strikes, the Zillers are forced to move to one of the houses in Warren’s abandoned development in the middle of the desert. Marooned in a less-than-model home, each must reckon with what’s led them there and who’s to blame—and whether they can summon the forgiveness needed to hold them together. 


Subtly ambitious, brimming with the humor and unpredictability of life, Model Home delivers penetrating insights into the American family and into the imperfect ways we try to connect, from a writer “uncannily in tune with the heartbreak and absurdity of domestic life” (Los Angeles Times).

Music Through the Floor
Music Through the Floor

A collection of ten unforgettable stories – strikingly original, fiercely funny, and quietly heartbreaking – portraying a group of cultural misfits attempting to navigate mainstream America.

In “Children of God,” a young loner becomes the caretaker and companion for two mentally retarded men, seeking solace in their outsider status. “Essay #3: Leda and the Swan” is told in the forlorn, benighted, and tragically funny voice of a high school girl who longs more than anything to be loved. In the unsettling “Child’s Play,” Puchner explores the price of nonconformity by following a pack of boys wreaking havoc on Halloween. Writing from an impressive range of perspectives—men and women, children and adults, immigrants and tourists—Puchner deftly exposes the dark, tender undersides of his characters with arresting beauty and precision.

"Brilliant…an awe-inspiring debut."

-Entertainment Weekly

NY Times Book Review "Editor's Choice"

San Francisco Chronicle "Editor's Choice"

Finalist for NYPL Young Lions Fiction Award

Borders Original Voices Selection

BookSense Notable Pick

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