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Under the Small Lights

Under the Small Lights

A novel by


"John Cotter's prose is lyric, his images unforgettable, his characters richly complicated. From the first sentence to the last, I was captivated by this story and the characters that call out to the reader with mystery and beauty and terror, like voices in the night. Under the Small Lights is a book to be savored, and John Cotter is an exciting new voice in contemporary fiction."
Laura van den Berg

"Under the Small Lights is a kaleidoscopic glimpse at an intense circle of friends as they mix love and obsession in a sort of game of art. John Cotter knows how to write cutting dialogue and create slices of ardent and ambitious lives as they balance on the last edge of youth."
Ron Carlson

"John Cotter knows his people, their talk, their turf. An auspicious debut by a writer to watch."
Janet Peery

"John Cotter's Under the Small Lights is the kind of book I always look for and rarely find: a mellow meditation on friendship and romance and the romance of friendship told in prose straightforward and lovely. His characters are urbane and articulate, foolishly impulsive, and heartbreakingly earnest. It's been a long time since I've encountered a bildungsroman this successful, let alone a novella this bighearted."
Josh Russell

Fiction. Jack wants Corinna, Star wants Jack, Paul wants fast money, Jack and Bill want immortality in art. On a freezing January day Jack and Bill construct elaborate theatricals on the shores of Walden Pond. In burning July, Jack attempts to insinuate himself into the life Corinna's picked with another man, the moneyed town and overgrown garden she was born to, the wealthy poet next door, and the distant world of artistic success. Fireworks misfire. A summer party and a winter confrontation heat into harsh words, violence. Long-held secrets are revealed. UNDER THE SMALL LIGHTS is a lyrical take on the lives of lost 20-somethings, lust, and the state of art. Jack, Bill, Star, and Corinna grow up without roadmaps, with dubious role models, and with more pills and gin than they know what to do with. They are actors in search of roles, and they are betrayed in these roles by real life. This is a novel about the doubtful possibility of collective love and the painful experiences which, once having endured them, we wouldn't be without.

Used availability for John Cotter's Under the Small Lights

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Paperback Editions

May 2010 : USA Paperback
Title: Under the Small Lights (Miami University Press Fiction)
Author(s): John Cotter
ISBN: 1-4507-0091-8 / 978-1-4507-0091-7 (USA edition)
Publisher: Miami University Press
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

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