Hall of Small Mammals: Stories.pdf

Hall of Small Mammals: Stories.pdf


A wild, inventive ride of a short story collection from a distinctive new American storyteller.

The stories in Thomas Pierce’s Hall of Small Mammals take place at the confluence of the commonplace and the cosmic, the intimate and the infinite. A fossil-hunter, a comedian, a hot- air balloon pilot, parents and children, believers and nonbelievers, the people in these stories are struggling to understand the absurdity and the magnitude of what it means to exist in a family, to exist in the world.

In “Shirley Temple Three,” a mother must shoulder her son’s burden—a cloned and resurrected wooly mammoth who wreaks havoc on her house, sanity, and faith. In “The Real Alan Gass,” a physicist in search of a mysterious particle called the “daisy” spends her days with her boyfriend, Walker, and her nights with the husband who only exists in the world of her dreams, Alan Gass.  Like the daisy particle itself—“forever locked in a curious state of existence and nonexistence, sliding back and forth between the two”—the stories in Thomas Pierce’s Hall of Small Mammals are exquisite, mysterious, and inextricably connected.

From this enchanting primordial soup, Pierce’s voice emerges—a distinct and charming testament of the New South, melding contemporary concerns with their prehistoric roots to create a hilarious, deeply moving symphony of stories.

Praise for Hall of Small Mammals

“It’s thrilling to find a writer with an imagination as wild and wonderful as Thomas Pierce. It’s even more impressive to see how Pierce builds upon the initial conceit of his stories, the way he follows the thread of that weirdness toward something utterly unique and altogether human. This is a fantastic, rewarding book of stories.”
Kevin Wilson, author of Tunneling to the Center of the Earth and The Family Fang

“We’re in the realm of the uncertain here, immersed in a view of life that teeters on the edge of parable as an organizing principle for this amazing collection of stories about the possible, the probable, the unknown, the ridiculous, the astonishing, the embarrassing, and also the just plain heartbreaking awkwardness of all kinds of hope and yearning, as we read about life lived in an echo chamber of the past that is now moving rocket-like into the future. It’s a brilliant group of stories fueled by its inherent metaphors. Thomas Pierce has a delicate, shaping presence in all these stories, which are sure to be talked about, admired, and paraphrased nervously, because they take us out of the comfort of our known world.”
Ann Beattie

"Thomas Pierce describes a world we may soon inhabit, where science advances but mystery endures. Extinct species are revived on TV, and near-extinct species are the local zoo’s sellout draw; a new infectious disease defies attempts to identify or contain it, and physicists everywhere quest to identify a theoretical entity called the daisy particle. In this world, fractured families and lost souls — Pierce’s deeper interests — are the norm. Wry, wrenching, and elegant."
Brian Kimberling, author of Snapper

Thomas Pierce was born and raised in South Carolina. His stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic,  Oxford American, and elsewhere. A graduate of the University of Virginia creative writing program, he lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, with his wife and daughter.


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