Place Published: Braddock, PA
Publisher: Alleyway Books
Date Published: July 11, 2017
Every Single Bone in My Brain is an enthralling debut story collection—by turns electric and thoughtful, comic and wise. A young music journalist tries to avoid becoming a band groupie, only to discover she has far more to offer to their music than she realized. A Jewish teenager gets involved with an alluring Mormon woman who presents an alternative to life with his dysfunctional family. And in the title story, a man whose condition—his body is a conduit for enough electricity to kill a person—forces him to live and work in isolation, uses the internet to form a relationship with a similarly reclusive woman; one that may bring them both joy or end in tragedy. Aaron Tillman’s beautiful prose and sense of fun make him an essential new voice in contemporary short fiction.
Praise for Every Single Bone in My Brain:
Aaron Tillman’s Every Single Bone in My Brain picks up where Malamud and Roth leave off, opening a new chapter in Jewish-American fiction. From a couple who try to conceal the birth of their critically-ill newborn from their parents to the romantic adventures of a man whose body carries a natural electric charge, Tillman’s stories are distinguished by wit and mystery. Throughout this vibrant, vivid work, we are constantly reminded: These aren’t your grandfather’s Jews anymore. And yet, to a degree they are—still as tormented and conflicted as if they stepped off the pages of a novel by Bellow or even Kafka. Surely, this is a collection not to be missed.
–-Jacob M. Appel, author of The Topless Widow of Herkimer Street
Aaron Tillman’s debut collection of short stories, Every Single Bone in My Brain, is so absolutely beautiful that you have to read it twice. It’s the kind of beauty, which holds your hand, tosses you into the river, pulls you out in a kind of ecstatic glory, then does it all over again. Tillman’s revelations and particulars are that rare mix of insight, entertainment, humor, and the ever-present dancing heart that lets you crawl inside his narratives to be so inside of them that you are so inside of them, fully. The writing moves between the outside world and the inside world—lips to sadness, spongy palms to pity, regret, and disappointment—in a seamless, visionary story-telling that comes out of the center of the brain where the body lives. He’s a master. His voice is unique, unquestionable, and, most importantly, something you don’t want to stop listening to. When reading this collection, all of the bones in my brain felt strong, alive, and full of electricity. When you read this collection, your bones will feel the same.
–-Matthew Lippman, author of American Chew
The stories in this lively collection are consistently inventive and provocative. Who would have thought that smiling could be a bad thing? Or that a “stubborn” entity called the “B’Jesus” could jump from one person and lodge in another? Or that a young man cursed with (magical) electric conductivity in his body could find comfort with a disabled young woman? These are among the mysterious, mystical questions tackled here, often in the context of family or romantic relationships. Aaron Tillman has sharp insight into the human condition, and he expresses it in ways that open our eyes and ears. When these stories kick in—and they inevitably will—you will feel their strength.
–-Thaddeus Rutkowski, author of Guess and Check
"These are terrific stories—inventive, brainy, and illuminating. Every Single Bone in My Brain is a collection full of surprise turns, sheer talent, and wild, affecting moments."
–Joan Silber, author of Fools
"I'm always impressed by the sheer wizardry of writers who can make people sound like people on the page. Tillman creates people who not only sound like people—they ARE people, come to life, flesh and blood and bone; all humanity and human foible burns right through this book."
—Amber Sparks, author of The Unfinished World and Other Stories
Aaron Tillman is an Associate Professor of English and Director of the Honors Program at Newbury College. He was a First-Place Winner in Glimmer Train Stories’ Short-Story Award for New Writers and won First Prize in the Nancy Potter Short Story Contest at University of Rhode Island. His stories have appeared in Glimmer Train, The Madison Review, Arcadia Magazine, The Carolina Quarterly, great weather for MEDIA, Sou’wester, The Tishman Review, upstreet, Burrow Press Review, and elsewhere. He has recorded two stories for broadcast on the Words & Music program at Tufts University and another for Functionally Literate Radio. His essays have appeared in The Writer’s Chronicle, Studies in American Humor, Symbolism, The CEA Critic, and The Intersection of Fantasy and Native America (Mythopoeic 2009).