A dazzlingly inventive collection of short stories by a distinctive new voice in American fiction.
'Ridiculously good...[There's a] feeling of being inside a bubble while reading Mr. Pierce, and it is a bubble you won't want to leave' Janet Maslin, New York Times
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 woolly 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 collection of stories.
Ridiculously good... These stories never drift vaguely off into the ether. They are beautifully built, and their author has an especially deft way of finding just the right final flourish.... [There's a] feeling of being inside a bubble while reading Mr. Pierce, and it is a bubble you won't want to leave. This is such a fine collection that there's not a stinker in the bunch.... Mr. Pierce's originality, inventiveness, questing spiritual intelligence and animal fixation aren't easy to do justice to in the limited space here. But they're irrefutably good reasons to discover him for yourself - Janet Maslin, New York Times
A debut collection that reads like the work of a much older, established fiction master. The stories in Pierce's book explore the ordinary in the otherworldly, the surreal in the mundane, and the results are stunning and unexpected.... Pierce is an endlessly incisive and engaging writer. It's a book full of wisdom and emotion, with stories that explore what it means to live and die in a world filled with invisible things - NPR
It will be tempting, but hard, for readers to choose a favourite among the stories here... Rich and complicated... These stories have that merry, postmodern humor, but also a classical love of real human emotion - New York Times Book Review
Thomas Pierce was born and raised in South Carolina. He is the author of the collection Hall of Small Mammals and his stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, VQR, Oxford American and elsewhere. A recipient of the National Book Foundation's 5 Under 35 Award, he is a graduate of the University of Virginia creative writing program. Pierce lives in Virginia with his wife and daughters.