Simple Pleasures marks the debut of Andrew Marshall’s curiously addicting fiction. In Marshall’s stories hearts can literally be touched, actually–grasped, and a rolling Head can terrorize a town. Here the power of sex both attracts and repels: lovers fall off a dizzy perch among branches, a plunge that alters the lives of others for decades; the accidental glancing touch of two strangers binds them to an increasingly disorderly life of physical pleasure; and the confluence of a cache of pornographic drawings and mistaken identity allow a man to escape his dreary life. Surprises appear at nearly every turn in these intriguing, original stories, and Marshall orchestrates them beautifully.
—Philip Graham, author of How to Read an Unwritten Language and The Art of the Knock
Amidst the known and predictable elements of this world, A.W. Marshall’s fictions open up uncanny new spaces, ruled by the unexpected, the inexplicable. Thanks to mysterious encounters and turns of event, the very human characters in Simple Pleasures come to experience life as “weirder and full of more possibility” than before. I feel that way too after reading these stories, which startled and moved me with their mix of marvelous strangeness and genuine heartache. After a boy proves his claim that he can touch a girl’s heart—literally reach in and touch it—he muses, “‘Imagine if I can do this now, what I can do later.’” It’s hard not to wonder the same about Marshall himself, given the dark powers and brilliant promise he shows in this scary-good first collection.
—Ellen Lesser, author of The Shoplifter’s Apprentice and The Blue Streak
Simple Pleasures is a mysterium tremendum of stories like little boxes with secret drawers and hidden latches the reader opens with glee, trepidation, and increasing recognition that the great mysteries of existence are best mined in the small moments between humans.
—Mary Rickert, author of The Memory Garden and Map of Dreams