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American Morons

“Glen Hirshberg seems able to do almost anything.”

  —Locus Magazine


Find American Morons now at:
    Barnes and Noble
    Powell’s Books


From the author of the acclaimed novel The Snowman’s Children and the award-winning collection The Two Sams comes American Morons, a new collection of dazzling and haunting tales…

Two traveling college students confront their disintegrating relationship and the new American reality in a breakdown lane along the Italian superstrade. A woman chases the ghost of her neglectful father to a vanished amusement park at the end of the Long Beach pier. Two recently retired teachers learn just how much Los Angeles has taken from them.

In these atmospheric, wide-ranging, surprisingly playful, and deeply mournful stories, grandkids and widows, ice cream-truck drivers and judges, travelers and invalids all discover-and sometimes even survive-the everyday losses from which the most vengeful ghosts so often spring.


Praise for American Morons:

“Fear may be the most primal and universal emotion, but as Hirshberg demonstrates in this new story collection, it’s also quite personal. The things that frighten Hirshberg’s characters-whether they be children mourning their grandfather or 19th-century surveyors-are deeply psychological and rooted in the author’s nuanced and oddly gentle portraiture.”
  —Time Out Chicago

“A keeper among this season’s offerings is American Morons, a second collection of seven ingenious ghost stories from Glen Hirshberg. Mr. Hirshberg specializes in revealing how the past impinges horrifically upon the present, smashingly in the title story about American tourists stranded on an Italian country road until a chance “rescue” that isn’t what it initially seems; and a brisk account of a retiring teacher’s day-trip on the shuttle service (“Transitway”) that appears to be conveying him to a reunion with his long lost family. Even better are the story of secrets discovered by two young boys who mischievously explore the crowded house owned by their late beloved grandfather (“The Muldoon”); and a superb period piece (“Devil’s Smile”), in which a lighthouse inspector encounters a lonely woman whose explanatory tale of death at sea, survival and grief opens an unwanted window on stories perhaps better left untold.”
  —The Washington Times

“A thoughtful collection of skillfully executed short stories that demonstrate his prowess as a writer. This is a collection to be savored, saved and enjoyed.”
  —Monsters and Critics

American Morons is the work of an original. Like Hitchcock or Ramsey Campbell, the style is precise, alert, and well-mannered, inviting us to enter Hirshberg’s private world so that he may lock the door behind us. If there is anyone in contemporary fiction worth watching, it is Glen Hirshberg.”
  —Dennis Etchison

“Glen Hirshberg’s stories are haunting, absolutely, but not only because of the content — the stories themselves haunt, they stick around, they linger, inhabiting a little corner of the reader’s brain and resurfacing to evoke mystery or sadness or longing. It’s a pleasure to dive into Hirshberg’s storytelling skills in American Morons.”
  —Aimee Bender

American Morons, like The Two Sams before it, is an excellent collection in every way. Hirshberg is among the best short story writers in, out of, or around, the genre of the fantastic. His fiction is marked by clarity, depth and a restraint and subtlety that make the horror and the wonder seem absolutely possible.”
  —Jeffrey Ford

“With American Morons, Glen Hirshberg confidently shoulders his way through the generational pack to claim his rightful place on the summit. These stories are smart, challenging, ripe with feeling, expansive in every way: Horror as it should be writ, and as only the best and most expressive can write it.”
  —Peter Straub

“Hirshberg’s American Morons is a finely crafted collection and a perfect example of the power and range of what can be called either literary fiction or horror fiction, depending on where you find it. It draws on the heritage of Shirley Jackson and Poe, or Ramsey Campbell and Herman Melville. It is nothing less than the constantly sorry state of the world we must live in, of the lives we must lead, wrought in beautiful prose with a twisted sense of the imagination.”
  —Rick Kleffel, The Agony Column

“His skill at drawing horrors out of commonplace situations peopled with credibly drawn characters distinguishes these subtle tales of the uncanny as some of the most effective and chilling in contemporary weird fiction.”

  —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Glen Hirshberg’s American Morons is a collection of great ghost stories… The author’s strength is in his ability not to shock or even scare, but to create characters who are genuinely haunted and whose stories have an afterlife in their reader’s consciousness.”

  —J.T. Hill, bookslut.com

     read the complete review

“His characters hold the long coil of human life in their hands and examine how the commonplace can spiral into a shimmering half-truth… These…finely wrought tales of suspense reaffirm what Hirshberg teaches in his title story, and which Poe, too, believed: that the most horrifying monsters are those that walk among us.”

  —Tod Goldberg, Los Angeles Times Sunday Book Review

     read the complete review