Neighbors of Nothing examines characters who find themselves searching for new identities in worlds they no longer recognize. In “Piebald,” parents assume the identity of their dead son; in “Everyday Murders,” the sole survivor of a violent crime attempts to confront an online entrepreneur who sells football-style serial killer jerseys. Through odd, compelling, and sometimes futile gestures, these characters struggle against guilt and grief and the seemingly endless stretch of days. Influenced by absurdism and the southern gothic, Neighbors of Nothing offers intelligent and heartrending insights into the complex human struggle to exist with purpose.
Dara Van Dusen
Voice Over by
Beautiful stories, searching and generous. Ockert never ceases to astound.Junot DíazAuthor of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and Pulitzer Prize winner
Ockert’s stories make me feel grateful to have eyeballs—if you want to be surprised, expanded, devastated, delighted, then Neighbors of Nothing is what you should be reading. His plots are hair-raisingly original, his humor is feverish and dark, his language soars. And yet no matter what altitude of weird Ockert achieves here, his imaginary worlds are always populated by real people, characters who matter deeply to each other, and to their readers.Karen RussellAuthor of Swamplandia! and Pulitzer Prize finalist
Jason Ockert digs deep in these stories and unearths some difficult truths. Some of these stories completely devastated me, and Ockert earns that emotional resonance with his writing, never over-the-top, as tender as anyone could be in the presence of such dark matter. This is a writer working with a high degree of difficulty and he nails it.Kevin WilsonAuthor of The Family Fang and Tunneling to the Center of the Earth
Jason Ockert is the author of Rabbit Punches and Neighbors of Nothing. His stories have appeared in many journals and anthologies, he was the recipient of the 2010 Dzanc Short Story Collection Contest, and was a nominee for the Shirley Jackson Short Fiction Award. He teaches creative writing at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina. For more visit: www.jasonockert.com