A finalist for the Tartts Fiction Award and semifinalist for the Subito Press Prize, this debut collection takes the reader across America, from California to Houston to New Orleans to South Carolina. The characters seek out meaningful connections with others while struggling with their blurred identities and instincts for personal transcendence. Whether it is a couple in counseling for a husband’s obsession with little league baseball, a modern-day satire of Mary Rowlandson’s captivity narrative, or a power struggle between a newly-widowed man and his daughter, what happens in these stories is surprising, tragic, funny, profane, surreal, and occasionally redemptive.
“Zack O’Neill’s story ‘Sea Lion’ is one of the strangest stories I’ve read in some time. But here’s the thing, it’s strange in a way you can’t resist. Imagine if somebody made a movie of your memories and sent you copy. It’s like that.”
George McCormick, author of Salton Sea and Inland Empire
“Zack O’Neill works wonders with characters and with language. His characters—whether wandering a trancelike New Orleans or navigating the pangs of their not-grown-up enough children—remain committed. And his language, especially his dialogue, reveals that commitment, even when facing persistent, sad odds.”
Joe Taylor, author of Pineapple, A Comic Novel in Verse
“O’Neill’s “Turd Eden,” is a short story about a wannabe artist and insecure stoner who finds himself crawling into a trashcan and his own self-prescribed beta-itis after his own experiment to escape boredom goes from masterpiece to mess. This guy just can’t win. Hilariously acidic.”
Short Story Editor DRYLAND: Los Angeles Underground Art & Writing
Zack O’Neill’s work has been supported by the James Dickey Fellowship and the Houston Writers Fellowship. His short stories, drama, and nonfiction have appeared in The Oklahoma Review, Kudzu Review, Atticus Review, and elsewhere. He lives in Las Vegas and teaches English at the College of Southern Nevada. Zen Creoles is his first book.