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The Heaven of Animals

The Heaven of Animals

Stories

In each of the stories in this remarkable debut, award-winning writer David James Poissant explores the tenuous bonds of family—fathers and sons, husbands and wives—as they are tested by the sometimes brutal power of love. His strikingly true-to-life characters have reached a precipice, chased there by troubles of their own making. Standing at the brink, each must make a choice: Leap, or look away? Pulitzer Prize finalist Lee Martin writes that Poissant forces us “to face the people we are when we’re alone in the dark.”

From two friends racing to save the life of an alligator in “Lizard Man” to a girl helping her boy­friend face his greatest fears in “The End of Aaron,” from a man who stalks death on an Atlanta street corner to a brother’s surprise at the surreal, improb­able beauty of a late night encounter with a wolf, Poissant creates worlds that shine with honesty and dark complexity, but also with a profound compas­sion. These are stories hell-bent on hope.

Fresh, smart, lively, and wickedly funny, The Heaven of Animals is startlingly original and compul­sively readable. As bestselling author Kevin Wilson puts it, “Poissant is a writer who knows us with such clarity that we wonder how he found his way so easily into our hearts and souls.”
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  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 272 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781476729961 | 
  • March 2014
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Read an Excerpt

LIZARD MAN

I rattle into the driveway around sunup and Cam’s on my front stoop with his boy, Bobby. Cam stands. He’s a huge man, thick and muscled from a decade of work in construction. Sleeves of green dragons run armpit to wrist. He claims there’s a pair of naked ladies tattooed into all those scales if you look close enough.

            When Crystal left him, Cam got the boy, which tells you what kind of mother Crystal was. Cam’s my last friend. He’s a saint when he’s sober, and he hasn’t touched liquor in ten years.

He puts a hand on... see more

About the Author

David James Poissant
Ashley Inguanta

David James Poissant

David James Poissant’s stories have appeared in The Atlantic, Playboy, One Story, The Southern Review, Glimmer Train, and in the New Stories from the South and Best New American Voices anthologies. His writing has been awarded the Matt Clark Prize, the RopeWalk Fiction Chapbook Prize, the George Garrett Fiction Award, and the Alice White Reeves Memorial Award from the National Society of Arts & Letters, as well as awards from the Chicago Tribune, The Atlantic, and Playboy. He teaches in the MFA program at the University of Central Florida and lives in Orlando with his wife and daughters.

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