You or a Loved One


Praise for You or a Loved One

“The stories in You or a Loved One explore the messy and complicated lives of characters from hardscrabble Florida and the bottom rungs of Louisiana, in the tangled devastation of the post-Katrina Gulf Coast. These characters are often one desperate decision beyond anything resembling normal. All of these lives are rendered with compassion and authenticity. There’s an impressive array of types of stories in this collection; Gabriel Houck isn’t afraid to experiment with form and structure, while always doing so in service to the story being told. What an impressive collection this is!”
David Haynes, judge of The 2017 Orison Fiction Prize

“Gabriel Houck is a terrific young writer and this innovative collection shows off his intelligence, his humor, and his soulfulness; it’s a diverse and entertaining inquiry into—as the author aptly puts it—’the meaning of our deeds and the truths of our hearts.’”
Jess Walter, author of We Live in Water

“Gabriel Houck’s stories are beautifully layered in ways that mirror the many choices and chances a character’s life might offer while also focusing on their vulnerabilities. He has a great and insightful gift for locating those small moments and fragments of memory that bear the weight of a fragile life. One character says she is half of a lot of things, but not wholly anything; the stories in You or a Loved One are all about those complicated in-between and incomplete parts of life while also being very whole and satisfying. This is an accomplished debut by a very talented writer.”
Jill McCorkle, author of Life After Life

“Gabriel Houck’s You or a Loved One is simply a stunning story collection. There’s such grace on display in the prose, so much loving but clear-eyed attention to the lives of these characters. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I’ve been so excited about a new writer. This guy’s for real. Savor his work.”
Steve Yarbrough, author of The Unmade World

“The stories in You or a Loved One roll forward at an exhilarating pace, like a novel you read in an afternoon, propelled by a dynamite mix of comedy and tragedy, by the characters’ heartbreak, their fierce skepticism, their warped perspectives. Houck’s characters make me think of A Confederacy of Dunces and The Horse’s Mouth—this book is right in line with those classics of comic tension and waggish portraits of delinquency.”
Timothy Schaffert, author of The Swan Gondola

“A stunning book of stories! I read it with growing exhilaration as Houck broke new ground in story after story, challenging our notions of history, reality, and imagination. This is the work of a terrific new voice we’ll listen to for years.”
Jonis Agee, author of The Bones of Paradise

“Gabriel Houck’s debut collection You or a Loved One is stunning: delicate and muscular, risky and tender, haunting and vulnerable—all at once. Wrenching, skilled, heartbreaking.”
Joy Castro, author of How Winter Began



“…an impressive debut collection” 
– Michael Czyzniejewski, Editor, Moon City Press 


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