About Hall of Small Mammals:
A wild, inventive ride of a short story collection from a distinctive new American storyteller.
The stories in Thomas Pierce’s Hall of Small Mammals take place at the confluence of the commonplace and the cosmic, the intimate and the infinite. A fossil-hunter, a comedian, a hot- air balloon pilot, parents and children, believers and nonbelievers, the people in these stories are struggling to understand the absurdity and the magnitude of what it means to exist in a family, to exist in the world.
In “Shirley Temple Three,” a mother must shoulder her son’s burden—a cloned and resurrected wooly mammoth who wreaks havoc on her house, sanity, and faith. In “The Real Alan Gass,” a physicist in search of a mysterious particle called the “daisy” spends her days with her boyfriend, Walker, and her nights with the husband who only exists in the world of her dreams, Alan Gass. Like the daisy particle itself—“forever locked in a curious state of existence and nonexistence, sliding back and forth between the two”—the stories in Thomas Pierce’s Hall of Small Mammals are exquisite, mysterious, and inextricably connected.
From this enchanting primordial soup, Pierce’s voice emerges—a distinct and charming testament of the New South, melding contemporary concerns with their prehistoric roots to create a hilarious, deeply moving symphony of stories.
"It will be tempting, but hard, for readers to choose a favorite among the stories here... Rich and complicated... These stories have that merry, postmodern humor, but also a classical love of real human emotion." --New York Times Book Review
"Short stories that will truly delight and amaze; man set in a near future that is twisted and strange, but full of southern warmth and heart." --Vanity Fair
"Pierce mines the mysterious rift between fantasy and reality with the intricate skill of an archaeologist and the sheer wonder of an imaginative child." --Elle
"Pierce's masterful stories are wildly imaginative and deeply humane." --Slate
"We're in the realm of the uncertain here, immersed in a view of life that teeters on the edge of the parable as an organizing principle for this amazing collection of stories about the possible, the probable, the unknown, the ridiculous, the astonishing, the embarrassing, and also the just plain heartbreaking awkwardness of all kinds of hope and yearning, as we read about life lived in an echo chamber of the past that is now moving rocket-like into the future. It's a brilliant group of stories fueled by its inherent metaphors. Thomas Pierce has a delicate, shaping presence in all these stories, which are sure to be talked about, admired, and paraphrased nervously, because they take us out of the comfort of the known world." --Ann Beattie
"Ridiculously good... These stories never drift vaguely off into the ether. They are beautifully built, and their author has an especially deft way of finding just the right final flourish." --New York Times
"Mysterious and delightfully weird, every story in Hall of Small Mammals is a wild adventure." --Buzzfeed
"A debut collection that reads like the work of a much older, established fiction mater... There isn't a weak story in Hall of Small Mammals, and Pierce is an endlessly incisive and engaging writer. It's a book full of wisdom and emotion." --NPR
"These science-flavored short stories by New Yorker regular Thomas Pierce dance at the edge of possibility, exuding an off-kilter brilliance in their exploration of human longing and fear." --Nature
"Pierce's stories are beautifully written and suffused with mystery." --The Millions
"It's thrilling to find a writer with an imagination as wild and wonderful as Thomas Pierce. It's even more impressive to see how Pierce builds upon the initial conceit of his stories, the way he follows the thread of that weirdness toward something utterly unique and altogether human. This is a fantastic, rewarding book of stories." --Kevin Wilson, author of The Family Fang