"David James Poissant's writing is so smart, so sensitive and self-deprecating and full of empathy. He is one of our very best young writers."
-Brock Clarke, author of An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England and Exley
"A wise debut collection...Poissant's characters are often a mess-belligerent, impulsive, smart in all the wrong ways-but he manages their lives with precision, intelligence, and clarity...Beautiful [stories], with a rogue touch."
"Poissant’s work has been compared to Anton Chekhov, Raymond Carver and George Saunders, so it goes without saying that his debut short story collection is something special."
"The much-anthologized Poissant justifies his status as a favorite of the literary quarterlies with this debut collection of unsparing yet warmly empathetic stories...[Poissant] finds beauty in our imperfect strivings toward love and connection. Rueful and kind, akin to both Anton Chekhov and Raymond Carver in humane spirit and technical mastery."
"An engaging, well-crafted collection...The author’s deep caring for his characters surfaces in his compassionate attempts to unpack the perplexities of the human condition. Poissant’s thoroughly realist style and tight storytelling will appeal to fans of Raymond Carver, Richard Ford, and George Saunders."
“We care about and sympathize with Poissant’s characters, even the most conflicted and difficult ones. The pieces vary greatly in length, style, and subject matter. . . . Poissant is an excellent writer. . . the brief and beautiful moments of human connection shine through in every story.”
- LIBRARY JOURNAL (Starred Review)
"The Heaven of Animals avoids bleakness, no matter how sad its stories may be, and this is a real achievement...[Poissant's] overall project—trying to wring hope from despair—shows great compassion…This is Poissant’s first book, and if Brock Clarke predicts (in blurb form) that Poissant will become 'his generation’s Richard Ford,' who am I to argue?"
"The Heaven of Animals might remind readers of two stylistically disparate story collections--Richard Ford’s A Multitude of Sins and Amy Hempel’s The Dog of the Marriage--which are surely not bad company to keep."
“[A] collection of vicious and heartbreaking vignettes.”
- THE ORLANDO SENTINEL
"Masterful…Poissant’s gift of fiction writing [is] a great big gift. So big that it stretches the short story form a bit; he turns typical short story writing pitfalls into strengths…You can move among William Faulkner, Harry Crews, and Flannery O’Connor to find the muscle that is in [“Lizard Man”] (and many of the others here), and among Eudora Welty, Lee Smith, and Jill McCorkle for the tenderness….A great strength of this collection: Though many of the characters are not like us readers one bit (some are) Poissant shows us how much alike we all are—as fathers, mothers, friends, children, liars, and lovers—no matter our pedigree….Poissant can do the seemingly impossible…I hear a novel is on the way. Look out."
“Poissant demonstrates that mankind, especially American males, may not be so separate from the animal kingdom after all.… His finest stories focus on the nuts and bolts of narrative. Despite the preponderance of scales, tails, fangs and feathers that occupy The Heaven of Animals, its real subject is all too human.”
“Great fun to read. . . . There are no clear happy endings in The Heaven of Animals, but there is a feeling of satisfaction regardless of a story’s outcome. By book’s end you know you’ve spent your time valuably, and in the hands of a deft and skillful writer.”
"Told in honest and inventive prose, The Heaven of Animals is not afraid of the beautiful but painful complications of the heart."
“The Heaven of Animals targets the tough and tender dynamics that make and break families.”
“Early reviews have compared Poissant’s stories, which ply the literary territory between realism and allegory, to the work of Anton Chekhov and Raymond Carver.”
"[Poissant] presents layered storylines and realistically flawed characters in his first collection of short stories.… Through his artful storytelling, [Poissant] gives us a glimpse into the loneliness, the brokenness, and ultimately, the importance, of our emotional connections with others."
"David James Poissant...is getting a lot of press for his first collection of short stories...A lot of praise, deserved."
- NOTRE DAME REVIEW
“Beauty. Awakening. Unexpected laughter. Moments aglint with the wondrous impossible... I delight in the writer—Poissant or any other—who, upon catching a story, dares to spring open its mouth for the surprise concealed inside.”
"A deeply evocative masterpiece. . . . ‘The Geometry of Despair’ is a rollercoaster of an emotional ride, and I don't mean one of those old-school wooden ones whose only thrill is a steep incline. I'm talking about full circle, 360-degree loops. . . . Of the short story authors I've read, I've always considered Raymond Carver the king. I think I may have just found the heir to that throne."
"The Heaven of Animals promises us a book teeming with wildlife, with metaphysical questions, with people yearning for answers, and the stories deliver. A key strength of [Poissant's] fiction is that in one breath he can both make us laugh and raise what Faulkner called ‘the old verities and truths of the heart.'"
"Poissant’s debut story collection is as taut and emotional as they come. Each story explores the oft-covered subjects of family, love, and marriage, but in ways so unexpected and varied that they never feel derivative. The resulting collection is short, but readers will want to take their time and savor each story—with a box of tissues nearby.."
"The stories in Poissant’s debut collection The Heaven of Animals dig into the lives and complex psyches of the human animal, addressing issues such as the loss of a child, divorce, mental illness and broken relationships...Perhaps most notably, the collection shows Poissant’s bottomless imagination, a zoo teaming with stories."
"The Heaven of Animals is full of stories that linger long after you have closed the book and turned off the light."
- ONE STORY
The Heaven of Animals has made the longlist for the 2015 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction. Read more about all ten finalists HERE.
* * *
David James Poissant is a finalist for the L.A. Times Book Prize's 2014 Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction. Check out the list of finalists HERE.
* * *
The Heaven of Animals brings home the silver in this year's Florida Book Awards. Read up on all of the winners HERE.
* * *
The GLCA names David James Poissant winner of the 2015 New Writers Award for fiction, putting him in the company of former prizewinners Alice Munro, Richard Ford, Susan Straight, and Louise Erdrich. The judges had this to say about The Heaven of Animals: "Poissant’s voice is clear, honest and vulnerable. The characters pause and wonder on their own behavior. The writing is as if spoken, the stories as if testimony, confession, conversation. The writing is literary and yet without pretension...In these stories we are all passing through, our hope residing in discreet gestures and small illuminated moments. The stories are understated, and there is not a weak entry in the collection." Read more HERE.
* * *
Tweed's Magazine names The Heaven of Animals the best short story collection of 2014. Read the review HERE.
* * *
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution names The Heaven of Animals one of the 9 best books of 2014.
* * *
Praise from Orlando Weekly for The Heaven of Animals. Read the article HERE.
* * *
The Heaven of Animals has been named an Amazon Best Book of the Year! Check it out HERE.
* * *
On Monday, September 15th, The Good Men Project will publish David James Poissant's essay "Books and the Reading Readers who Read Them," a response to Alexis Kleinman's Huffington Post article "Stop Lying About Your Favorite Books on Facebook."
* * *
Story Prize finalist Rebecca Lee, author of Bobcat and Other Stories, will review The Heaven of Animals this Sunday, July 27th, in the New York Times Book Review. You can read the review, in its entirety, HERE.
* * *
Simon & Schuster to give away eight advance reading copies of The Heaven of Animals on GOODREADS. Enter the drawing by February 12th, 2014: ENTER HERE
* * *
THE MILLIONS names The Heaven of Animals one of the Most Anticipated Books of 2014! See the complete list HERE.
* * *
David James Poissant will judge the 2014 Knickerbocker Prize for BIG FICTION magazine. Contest details HERE.