matthew vollmer
writer. teacher. editor.
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Publisher's Weekly

Kirkus Reviews

The Washington Post

The Rumpus

The Boston Globe

 

 

 

 

 

The New York Times

From Library Journal
(Starred Review):

Vollmer's impressive first book is a rare and gratifying achievement: a superbly written collection of short stories. Vollmer writes with great wisdom and insight about love, sex, and loss. He is particularly adept at depicting the thrilling experience of young love. Vollmer's narrative voice, reminiscent of T.C. Boyle, is also fully realized and very appealing— irreverent, vital, and bristling with vivid imagery and detail. Perhaps most impressive, Vollmer has populated these stories with a formidable variety of beautifully drawn characters. These include a young man named Harper who is working at Yellowstone National Park and mourning the loss of his best friend; an angst-ridden, middle-aged mother who unexpectedly encounters her estranged gay son at her vacation cabin; and a wonderfully drawn young teenage girl who falls in love with a devout Christian boy. Overall, an inspiring and impressive collection highly recommended for most libraries.

—Patrick Sullivan, Manchester Community Coll., CT

From Publishers Weekly:

This debut short story collection unveils the subtle beauty in raw grief and general disappointment with being. Vollmer plays with absurdity, the loneliness of daily existence, and the importance of taking chances. Nine of the dozen stories have appeared in journals and magazines, but the collection maintains a natural cohesion, with terrifically dark but strangely sweet characters and plotlines. One centers on a deadbeat dad who, while visiting his straightedge son (a rising X Games star), is forced to come to terms with his self-disappointment. In another, a recent widow takes an impromptu retreat to the family lake house, only to discover her estranged son sequestered with an unfamiliar man. The title piece is narrated by a teenaged punk atheist, Alex, who has developed a crush on her staunchly Christian best friend and home economics partner, David Melashanko. Though the two share every surreptitious desire and potential misdeed, Alex is heartbroken to learn that Melashenko has been keeping a secret. Vollmer masters distinct personalities and surprising plots, writing deftly from many points of view.

Other Reviews (click to see):

Mary Magazine.

Bookslut.

PopMatters.

Roanoke Times.

New Pages