Pictures of the Shark: Stories

Front Cover
Texas Review Press, 2022 - Fiction - 205 pages
2023 Foreword Reviews INDIES Awards Finalist in Literary Fiction

2023 Houston Chronicle Notable Book

2023 Massachusetts Book Award Must-Read

"An emotionally taut and often haunting collection."

--Kirkus Reviews(starred review)

"[An] always compelling novel in short stories."

--Foreword Reviews

"[A] powerful family portrait ... heartbreaking authenticity."

--Booklist Online Exclusive

"A tightly written and often emotionally gripping collection."

--Lone Star Literary Life

A sudden snowfall in Houston reveals family secrets. A trip to Universal Studios to snap a picture of the shark from Jaws becomes a battle of wills between father and son. A midnight sťance and the ghost of Janis Joplin conjure the mysteries of sex. A young boy's pilgrimage to see Elvis Presley becomes a moment of transformation. A young woman discovers the responsibilities of talent and freedom.

Pictures of the Shark, by award-winning Houston writer Thomas H. McNeely, moves from its protagonist Buddy Turner's surreal world of childhood into the wider arenas of sex, addiction, art, and ambition. Appearing in the country's finest literary journals, including Ploughshares, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Epoch, and Crazyhorse, shortlisted for the O. Henry Award, Best American Short Stories, and Pushcart Prize collections, the stories in Pictures of the Shark are gems that refract their characters' complex relationships.


from Pictures of the Shark

If he said yes, Buddy knew, he would have to keep his father's secret. "Yes, sir," he said. "I'd like that." When they walked up the broken cement path to their house, his mother watched them, her face blurred and ghostly behind a porch screen. As always when his father appeared, she stood very still, as if afraid to startle him. His father stopped, one foot on the bottom step. His mother asked if he could come in. Just for a minute.

About the author (2022)

An East Side Houston native, THOMAS H. McNEELY has published short stories and non-fiction in The Atlantic, Texas Monthly, Ploughshares, and many other magazines and anthologies, including Best American Mystery Stories and Algonquin Books' Best of the South. His stories have been short-listed for the Pushcart Prize, Best American Short Stories and O. Henry Award anthologies. He has received National Endowment for the Arts, Wallace Stegner, and MacDowell Colony fellowships for his fiction. His first book, Ghost Horse, won the Gival Press Novel Award and was shortlisted for the William Saroyan International Prize in Writing. He currently teaches in the Stanford Online Writing Studio and at Emerson College, Boston.

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