Suspend Your Disbelief

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Book of the Week: The Law of Strings, by Steven Gillis

The-Law-of-Strings-Front-Cover-Final-321x500Our new feature is Steven Gillis’s most recent story collection, The Law of Strings (Atticus Books, 2012). Gillis is the author of four previous novels, Consequence of Skating (2010), Temporary People (2008), The Weight of Nothing (2005), and Walter Falls (2004), as well as an earlier story collection, Giraffes (2007). He is also the founder of 826michigan and the publisher of Dzanc Books—one of the great contemporary forces in indie publishing.

In the introduction to Tyler McMahon’s recent interview with Gillis, he describes the collection as “strange, surprising, and ever original.”

As McMahon notes, the collection “features magicians, tightrope walkers, and levitators, living fantastic lives but suffering ordinary problems.” In response to a question about his stories often being described as surreal, Gillis replies:

As for what I try to achieve with my stories, you’re right–I don’t really like the term “surreal,” as it suggests something false and artificial. I think my writing—and the true masters, like Saunders and Bender and Barthelme and Hannah and many others, including Cheever who is my first love—look for ways to present the truth. I firmly believe nothing requires more truth than fiction. The presentation, setting, and style, is simply a vehicle for getting to that truth. I practiced law many years ago and nothing requires more fiction than lawyer-ing. But I digress.

We’re giving away a copy of The Law of Strings in two weeks to three of our Twitter followers. To be eligible for this giveaway (and all future ones), simply click over to Twitter and “follow” us (@fictionwriters).

To all of you who are already fans, thank you!

Further Reading


Jeremiah Chamberlin

Jeremiah Chamberlin is the Assistant Director of the English Department Writing Program at the University of Michigan, where he teaches English, Literature, and Creative Writing. He is the recipient of numerous teaching awards from U-M, including the David and Linda Moscow Prize for Excellence in Teaching Composition, the Lloyd Hall Instructor of the Year Award, the Ben Prize for Excellence in Teaching Writing, and the Outstanding Mentor Award from the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program. In addition to his work at the University of Michigan, he is also a Contributing Editor for Poets & Writers Magazine. His fiction, criticism, literary interviews, and essays appear regularly in such places as The New York Times Book Review, Glimmer Train, Granta, Flyway, Vagabond, The Michigan Quarterly Review, LSA Magazine, and The Virginia Quarterly Review. In 2014 Cengage will publish Creative Composition, a rhetoric and composition textbook that he co-authored with Natalie Bakopoulos and Eileen Pollack.

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