stories malevolent and benign
Nathan's first short story collection includes previously-published works from respected literary journals (The Bellingham Review, Diagram, The Gettysburg Review, Glimmer Train, Lemon Magazine) and a few never-before-seen tales, including the "literary spaghetti western" novella, Jack the Bastard. Evoking John Cheever, Raymond Chandler, and the Coen Brothers, Nathan takes the reader from 1960's New York to the modern-day Tex-Mex border, with some dark stops along the way. Haunting illustrations by four of the comic industry's biggest names (Phil Noto, Michael Allred, Russ Nicholson, and Tradd Moore) complement the prose.
“…a rollicking good time…funny and compelling as hell. An often grim, often intense meditation on violence and revenge and history…” -ComicsBulletin
“A malevolently thrilling coming-of-ager wrapped in a philosophical detective tale.”
Eric Dunne is a sixteen-year-old academic phenom. Desperate to escape his foster family, Eric graduates early from high school and earns a scholarship to Aberdeen College, a small, prestigious school in northern Connecticut. Aberdeen is a school for the privileged youth of America's elite, an isolated world where hard drinking and hard studying go hand in hand. When Eric is assigned a work-study job with the college's head librarian, Cornelius Graves, Eric begins to hear strange and disconcerting rumors about his new mentor. Despite himself, he is curiously drawn to Cornelius, if only to divine whether it's true that he's searching for the Philosopher's Stone, a mythical substance that supposedly holds the secret to eternal life.
At the same time, Eric's preternatural aptitude for Latin quickly attracts the attention of Arthur Fitch, a charismatic and aloof senior who invites him to become a research assistant for Dr. William Cade, Aberdeen's most celebrated professor. Eric is accepted into Cade's small circle of sophisticated students, all of whom live off campus on Cade's country estate, and soon discovers that his new friends are not just conducting research for Dr. Cade—they, too, are searching for the Philosopher's Stone. When an alchemical experiment goes fatally wrong, Eric is drawn deeper into the dark secrets surrounding the legendary substance. As the police investigation narrows and Eric gets swept up in Professor Cade's obsession, the tensions on the estate and in Eric's new friendships threaten to explode and, with them, Eric's idealized world.
Like The Secret History and A Separate Peace, Gods of Aberdeen demonstrates the selfishness and savagery that can lie at the heart of the most rarefied academic setting.
“Soaked with gothic mood and spiked with sharp dialogue, it’s Dead Poets Society via Stephen King.” - Chris Barsanti, The Hollywood Reporter
“…a remarkable first novel…impossible to put down…Gods of Aberdeen may be basically a coming-of-age story, but it is much more than that. It also is a murder mystery and an intriguing account of a bizarre quest for the secret of eternal life. As an author, Nathan’s off to a brilliant start.” - Al Hutchinson, The Tampa Tribune
“...a blend of the slapstick and the slapdash, the ironic and the painfully sincere...a wild road trip, a yarn spiced with plenty of humor and romance....”
–Michael Lindgren, The Washington Post
When Ben Fish responds to an ad that reads “Driver Needed Seven Days Excellent Pay No Druggies, Drunks, or Felons,” it’s because of the money ($10,000) but also to get away from his dead-end life. He has just graduated from college with a useless degree, has gotten dumped by his longtime girlfriend, and is still mourning his father, who died in a freak accident. Yet Ben finds himself in for more than he expected, as the old man who placed the ad seems to be a still-living Elvis who leads Ben on a 900-mile journey to Memphis in search of his granddaughter. Along the way they brawl with biker gangs, consult a backwoods oracle, rescue a hooker named Ginger from her one-eyed pimp, and ultimately find some answers about themselves and their place in the world.
“Nathan presents the reader with several fantastic characters in this rollicking, adventurous tale. Readers will pore through this fast-paced, adrenaline-filled novel and eat up the fantastic dialogue that brings Elvis back to life in a new, deliciously lascivious way.” - Julie Hunt, Booklist
“Thus begins the weirdest of buddy adventures, with feckless Ben playing first mate to the is-he-or-isn’t-he Elvis, a superannuated hillbilly with the unearthly self-possession of a Zen master. En route to points south, the adventurers tangle with a one-eyed pimp, a trio of roadhouse sirens, a backwoods soothsayer, and other low-rent variations on a Homeric theme…with antic originality [and] the near-magic realism of Elvis as a geriatric Ulysses….” - Amanda Heller, The Boston Globe
Micah Nathan is an American novelist and essayist. His fiction has been translated into five languages, and includes the bestselling novels Gods of Aberdeen (Simon & Schuster, 2005), and Losing Graceland (Random House, 2011), along with the collection Jack the Bastard and Other Stories (2012). He received his MFA from Boston University, where he won the 2010 Saul Bellow Prize. His essays have received an Associated Press Award, and his short stories have been finalists for the Tobias Wolff Award and the Innovative Fiction Award.
Micah’s nonfiction frequently appears in Vanity Fair, the Paris Review Daily, Kinfolk, and others. His short fiction has been featured in The Best American Mystery Stories, Glimmer Train, and the Gettysburg Review. Occasionally, Micah teaches fiction writing at MIT.
Arcanum 17 (Breton)
Writing, so no