NEIGHBORS of Nothing
newest collection of stories by Jason Ockert
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.
Neighbors of Nothing Blurbs and Reviews
"Beautiful stories, searching and generous. Ockert never ceases to astound."
Junot Díaz, author 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 Russell, author 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 Wilson, author of The Family Fang and Tunneling to the Center of the Earth
"In his darkly humorous and moving collection, Neighbors of Nothing, Jason Ockert explores connections both made and lost in the aftermath of unexpected tragedy. Parents and children, students and teachers, artists, lovers, and shut-ins, these characters live on the outskirts. They are the ones who don't belong—but that does not stop them from discovering ways to soldier on, unearthing hope and even a place to call home in Ockert's mysterious, wild, and wonderful world."
Hannah Tinti, author of The Good Thief and Animal Crackers
"These ten stories are about exodus, migration, and the inability to find oneself in familiar and unfamiliar terrain." Read the book review on Electric Lit.
Book review by Zachary Vickers, Richard Yates Prize and The Clark Fisher Ansley Prize recipient