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The Business of Naming Things

213 pages5 hours


Though fiction, Coffey’s stories are rooted in the author’s experiences with marriage, fatherhood, adoption, and his revelation that, unlike his adoptive parents (a corrections officer and registered nurse in upstate New York), he turned out to be very much like his biological parents, two Irish Catholics involved in New York’s jazz, entertainment, and literary scenes—a time period and milieu that he brings alive in this collection.

This is Michael Coffey’s first work of fiction, but through his long tenure at Publishers Weekly, he has established an immense amount of goodwill in the publishing industry that should lead to significant blurbs and media coverage in major outlets. Like Norman Rush, who published his first work of fiction, the Pulitzer Prize-shortlisted story collection Whites, at the age of 53, this collection will establish Coffey as an important American writer.

Bellevue has developed a reputation of excellence with short story collections. Recent collections have been reviewed on the front page of the New York Times Book Review, in O, The Oprah Magazine and Elle, and on NPR’s All Thing Considered. They have also been named as Library Journal, Largehearted Boy, and Shelf Awareness Best Books of the Year.

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