Then We Saw the Flames

Daniel A. Hoyt

Charles Bice

University of Massachusets Press

Mary McCullough


File Size:
~ 220 MB

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Winner of the Juniper Prize for Fiction

In this freewheeling debut collection, Daniel A. Hoyt takes us from the swamps of Florida to the streets of Dresden, to the skies above America, to the tourist hotels of Acapulco, to the southwest corner of Nebraska. Along the way, we encounter a remarkable group of characters all struggling to find their footing in an unsettling world.

Sometimes magical, sometimes realistic, sometimes absurd, these stories reveal people teetering on the dangerous edge of their lives. In “Amar,” a Turkish restaurant owner deals with skinheads and the specter of violence that haunts his family. In “Boy, Sea, Boy,” a shipwrecked sailor receives a surreal visitor, a version of himself as a child. In “The Collection,” a father and son squander a trove of bizarre and fanciful objects. And in “The Kids,” a suburban couple grasp for meaning after discovering children eating from their trash.

In each of these stories, characters find themselves challenged by the political, cultural, and spiritual forces that define their lives. With a clear eye and a steady hand, Hoyt explores a fragile balance: the flames—fueled by love, loss, hope, and family—shed new light on us. Sometimes we feel warmth, and sometimes we simply burn.

First Line

Darren felt his boots being embraced by the mud.


“Sharp, daring, and shot with moments of rare beauty, these stories grab you by the collar and refuse to let you go. Daniel Hoyt tears away the layers of our shared human experience to reveal the raw emotional truth at the core, and at the same time he uncovers the searing loneliness and desire that bind us together. This is a fearless and unforgettable book.” -- Julie Orringer, author of How to Breathe Underwater

“A wonderful book that brings together thirteen stories that are odd bedfellows—now realist, now magical, now minimalist, now not. To read them is to wander untethered through Daniel Hoyt’s highly developed imagination and to come away sometimes stunned, often thrilled, always amused, constantly surprised, and, from time to time, comforted. In a way, reading this collection is like changing channels on a very peculiar TV: the programs look different each from the next, but soon you realize that someone is controlling all of the programming, there are common threads running through every show.” -- Frederick Barthelme, author of Elroy Nights and Bob the Gambler

"Variety is the spice of life, and Daniel A. Hoyt has a lot of spice. Then We Saw the Flames is a collection of short stories from one Daniel Hoyt, as he presents a fine compilation of short stories that go into a variety of topics, with the overlying themes of the challenges that everyone faces in their life. With plenty of entertainment crammed between the covers, Then We Saw the Flames is a great short fiction pick." -- Midwest Book Review, Fiction Shelf

More Metadata!

Iambik Audio ISBN: 9781926673455
Iambik Audio Publication Date: Jun 15, 2011
Print ISBN: 9781558496996
Print Publication Date: May 31, 2009
Audio Distribution Rights: Worldwide
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