Their world in constant flux, the characters in The Flounder struggle with impending mortality, economic precarity, and the mysteries of their own desires. An elderly woman and the neighbor children she’s befriended contemplate ending the life of her ill husband, a newly married couple struggles with infidelity on a trip to France, a grandson watches as his recalcitrant grandfather provokes an armed robber.
Fulton…excels at capturing the big wounds and the minor gripes, the intimacies, the betrayals, the grave dissatisfactions, and the rare, quiet moments of solace, connection, and grace. There are ghosts in these stories, not footless haunters, but of memory, forces that hover in the offstages of our minds that we can’t see or name but live in us, raising the unanswerable questions that wake us in the night.
—The Boston Globe. Read the entire review here.
Advanced Praise for THE FLOUNDER
—In THE FLOUNDER, John Fulton writes about men caught in riptides, navigating the rough emotional waters of love, marriage and family. A boy faces his father’s terminal illness. A Mormon teenager traveling through post-Soviet Europe fails to lose his virginity. A young husband takes a road trip with his unfaithful wife. Fulton is a writer of great humanity, with an eye for the revelatory moment. These are masterful short stories — closely observed, moving, memorable and profound.
Jennifer Haigh, author of MERCY STREET
—The Flounder is a remarkable book, full of remarkable stories that move quickly through time while simultaneously being firmly rooted in place and that manage to be intimate while also having sweep and grandeur. In this, they remind me of work by Alice Munro and John Cheever, but really, they’re 100% John Fulton: smart, deeply felt, and ingeniously constructed stories of how we go to extraordinary lengths to keep on living our ordinary lives.
Brock Clarke, author of Who Are You, Calvin Bledsoe?
—Faced with apocalypses that are sometimes private and sometimes prophesized, the characters in John Fulton’s The Flounder wrestle with faith in many forms. These are stories that illuminate human realities of love and betrayal, life and death using a touch of the miraculous. The result is an elegant collection with a timeless sensibility, as well as the ecstatic capacity to make its readers see their lives anew.
Allegra Hyde, author of The Last Catastrophe
—THE FLOUNDER…feels unified by topic and tone—although the tones are various and the diction supple…. Marital fidelity and infidelity are at issue here, as is the relation between generations and the search for (one might as well call it) authenticity. And the real connective tissue is the talent of its author, whose eye for detail is both telescopic and microscopic. Whether set in rural North America or towns and villages in Europe, John Fulton’s fictions ring true.
Nicholas Delbanco, author of, most recently, WHY WRITING MATTERS.
Mores Reviews, Interviews, and Extras!
In The Flounder, John Fulton is clearly at the top of his game. His prose has that rare thing — a sense of intimacy.
—The Arts Fuse. Read the entire review here.
The protagonists of these spare, lyrical stories find their way through losses—of faith or love or dreams—and become emblematic of how we all move through the world carrying our invisible wounds. Fulton’s spare writing plunges the reader directly into the situations he presents…. These luminous stories generally conclude with a peaceful acceptance of loss and imperfection.
—Tupelo Quarterly. Read the entire review here.
The western writer Bill Kittredge says that in order for fiction to be effective, the writer, like a juggler, has to keep a number of story strands up in the air at once…. Fulton does just that…. [He] is very good at capturing the nuances of our thoughts and relationships…. The Flounder is well worth reading.
—The Somerville Times
Listen to my podcast discussion on Burned by Books with Chris Holmes here.
Here I’m interviewed by Jon DiSavino on Short Story Today and Jon reads my short story “Stitches.”
*The Flounder is a Poets & Writers Page One New and Noteworthy Book Selection. See it here!
*The Flounder featured in IF MY BOOK on MonkeyBicycle.
*The Flounder is an SPD recommended book.
*The Flounder in Poets & Writers’ The Time Is Now writing prompts. Try this writing exercise based on the opening line of The Flounder here.
*Check out my feature on the diaries of Virginia Woolf, which inspired The Flounder, on Poets and Writers’ “Writers Recommend” here.Purchase directly from the publisher.