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BUSYBODY is a comic novel about someone who can't mind her own business and how that trait leads to chaos, mass hysteria and in general the confusion of assorted nincompoops. The novel follows the travails of characters familiar from previous books in this series, like LIZARD PEOPLE, BONKERS, BIRDBRAIN and others, the digestion-obsessed undertaker, Buddy Schlimizzle and his scatterbrained wife, Bunzi, the squinting, gimpy Lucas Flush, proprietor of Pest Patrol and other peculiar nitwits and, in some cases, lunatics. It also features the reappearance of the people's eco-socialist soviet of South Florida, called Carbon, and how they thumb their noses at idiots in law enforcement, in Carbon's obsessed mission to stop Americans from eating burgers.

Lizard People

LIZARD PEOPLE is a comic novel about the weirdos, nutcases, oddballs, nitwits and outright raving lunatics who think they are or associate with actual lizard people. Some in fact do have scales. It's also about their mortal enemies, the equally bonkers members of Q-Anon. Several characters transform into lizards, while the Q followers, obsessed with lizard Illuminati supposedly ruling the world, plot to hunt them down. LIZARD PEOPLE also recounts the hilarious perils and pitfalls of modern technology, in the hands of, well, the incompetent.

Roman Summer

Roman Summer is a psychological novel about things not turning out as expected; about how the passage of time invariably means loss and how to calibrate that loss when it is not total. The expats who form the nucleus of this story are young and old, almost all parents, and none expecting the damaging blows fate aims at them. Even those spared are only ready at first to admit that they themselves are subtly altered, but then the truth finally heaves into view: the mundane disasters of life change everything.


Hope Deferred

"Hope deferred maketh the heart sick," says the biblical proverb, and it applies to most of the characters in this new novel, Hope Deferred. This is a story about people in their twenties, in Philadelphia, in the years leading up and into the Trump presidency. It is about the precariousness of life and sanity, and how just one mistake can ruin everything. It also depicts how weak the good is in the world, concerned as it often is with loss, family complications and the struggle of finding a way through life.


"Bonkers" is comic novel about a judge, who is, well, bonkers. Set in the pre-covid era, it flips between Maryland and Florida, as it follows the Rabelaisian misadventures of its very mixed-up characters. The novel also spoofs the disputes of litigious neighbors, people ridiculously flummoxed by simple modern technological gadgets, the routine lunacy of the military and more. Overall, it pokes fun at life in America in the Trump era.

Anxiety, and Other Stories

From Montclair, New Jersey to Leningrad in the former U.S.S.R., the stories in this collection cover parenthood, death, mental breakdown and people just getting by. These 41 stories explore the offbeat byways of human existence, peeling back the surface of life in patches to reveal the inner workings, one small section at a time. They stretch from the 1950s to the present, shining a light on how events over decades mold human reality.


When Jeremy Spit, chief terrorism and alien abduction reporter for the supermarket tabloid, Scuttlebutt, encounters a psychotic government custodian, he recognizes that he has struck the journalistic mother-lode. The lunacy that then floods the pages of his publication and its competitor causes a national uproar from the halls of congress to the white house to the Maryland suburbs and a South Beach, Florida veterinary practice. The more outrageous the claim the better, from Spit's perspective. And his "source" is full of some doozies.


Part millennial romance, part meditation on life in the collision lane, Birdbrain is a comic novel about the mishaps of those who, instead of thinking or exerting themselves, prefer to eat. From corrupt and gluttonous politicians to insane judges and many addled members of the general population, the comedy sprawls from the halls of the Capitol to the saunas of a nearby fat farm with one hilarious misadventure after another


The fight for a ffifteen-dollar-an-hour minimum wage has come to Philadelphia in this novel, and fast food workers are walking out. But one shady restaurant owner thinks he can roll back this tide and is not concerned about possible fatal results. WAGES is the story of ordinary people trying to make ends meet and the activists, some quite radical, who help them. It also addresses other social issues in a large American city, from the opiod epidemic to homelessness, all woven together in a tale of protest and murder.

Further Adventures of Feckless Frank

Readers of Carbon will enjoy this new comic novel, which picks up one of the earlier book's comic threads that ended with Frank Fart quite dead and lying at the bottom of his grave, in a North Miami suburb. The angels, however, desperate to keep Frank out of heaven, arrange for an ill-advised reincarnation. This leads to one mishap after another, as Frank bungles his way through his new life in suburban Maryland.


This comic novel follows a twenty-something on the make in the idiot world of climate change denial. Set in Miami and Washington, D.C., Carbon makes fun of buffoonery, ignorance, corruption and outright greed, all of which stand between humanity and a reasonable solution to the spiraling catastrophe of a rapidly warming planet. The story also satirizes the utterly shameless amorality of supermarket tabloids, as they plunge into the climate change debate, denying global warming is a problem.. This novel is above all a comedy and full of laughs from the first page to the last.

Sanctuary City

Fleeing government violence in Honduras, Elena and her three children arrive in Trump's U.S.A. unprepared for officially whipped up hysteria and bigotry about immigrants. The family heads for the mid-Atlantic sanctuary city of Dyre and hides from ICE in a sanctuary church. But anti-immigrant fever has reached a dangerous pitch, infecting the police department and the airwaves, as a local, right-wing radio celebrity rails against "hordes of immigrants spewing into the U.S." Sanctuary City is the story of ordinary people caught in the fatal coils of a neo-fascism that bloats itself on racism, political corruption and violence.

Hometown U.S.A.

This novel about what happens when fracking comes to a small country town has a sinister side. When the locals confront the gas company, they find themselves going up against its ruthless security firm, with fatal results.

Tainted Water

This novel about the human cost of a water crisis in a low-income city details the ravages of a wholly man-made tragedy. It portrays the fatal effects of cost-cutting and austerity, when focused on a vital human service.


When two suburban retirees decide to enter the marijuana trade for extra spending money, it doesn’t take long for things to go haywire. First one of their distributors plunges off the deep end, while the other becomes the object of a conspiracy-minded neighbor’s bizarre fixation. Then there comes a court case, multiple, hysterical calls to 911 and an utterly harebrained burglary, as everyone’s peculiar symptoms deteriorate. Meanwhile, the lives of other neighbors, from DEA agents to smarmy lobbying lawyers who avidly peruse the pages of Peddling magazine are linked to the lunacy of the main characters. In short, Homegrown could easily be called a comic meditation on mental illness.

Sunset at Dawn

This fourth and final volume in the series "The Human Struggle," reveals much about the causes of the war off-world, in which angels assist fighters in their battle against humanity's fascist enemies. Meanwhile on earth, momentous developments are afoot, which could alter human history by deeply involving the divine feminine. But mankind's enemies, aware of earth, have established their own corporation here, outside Washington, D.C., devoted to the promotion of robotic warfare and the privatizing of prisons, among other things, in order to speed the planet's demise. As fighters from the previous books infiltrate this deadly corporation, another fighter, Rafael Orozco, finds himself sidelined, only to learn that his new job involves protecting someone, whose appearance on earth may be too momentous to hide in the big, second-rate, run-down East Coast city of D___, which happens to be crawling with death-worshippers. 

The Race of Men

The third in the sci-fi fantasy trilogy, "The Human Struggle," this novel tracks the efforts of two fighters, Detective Orozco and Pavel Saltwater, as they race to save lives from an enemy determined to extirpate the human race from this and every universe. Mankind's enemies, including human storm troopers, are on the move, and once again humanity is a few steps behind. The fighter, Detective Orozco, hero of the two previous novels in this series, "The Human Struggle," is confronted with finding homes for the millions of fighters' orphans, stranded by the enemy's assault on their alternate universe, an assault that is leading to its collapse. Orozco's transuniverse orphanage is swamped, even assisted by angels, and to make matters worse, another fighter, hero of "Zone of Illusion," Pavel Saltwater, must crack the code of how, precisely, the enemy is destabilizing multiple human realities throughout the cosmos. And the prospects look grim.

Zone of Illusion

Second in "The Human Struggle" series, this is a sci-fi fantasy about the collapse of an alternate reality and the human effort to avert it. In this novel, fighters attempt defend human life in a universe contiguous to earth's. The enemy, determined to extirpate humanity from this and all alternate realities, is sacking, burning, conquering and murdering his way through the cosmos, and now enemy storm troopers have found a doorway into earth and are filtering into our world. Fighters and the visionaries they work with, guardians, struggle to keep them at bay, while a lonely few of their number must journey far behind enemy lines to destroy the power which keeps humanity losing the war that has been fought off-world for millennia. From the first shot at the story's opening to the search for a guardian replaced by his doubles, to the white-hot fireballs with which angels destroy enemy commanders, "Zone of Illusion" portrays a non-stop sci-fi/fantasy war of the worlds.

Realm of Shadow

A sci-fi fantasy about a war of the worlds and the human struggle to survive it.The novel follows the struggles of guardians and fighters, two special groups entrusted with the defense of earth, here and off-world, Elsewhere, where a war rages against humankind's enemies, a war in which angels assist the fighters. The novel also follows the flight of a young man who knows a guardian's name -- which has brought an enemy interrogator, who is not human, to earth for the first time. As the guardians hurry to hide him, and the fighters struggle to protect earth, off-world, Elsewhere, millions of fighters mass for what could be the final battle to save their poor, besieged home planet. Realm of Shadow is also the story of a rescue and an escape from a prison world, a vast charnel house known to fighters and guardians, feared and avoided by them; an escape on which the earth's fate and the war's outcome both depend.

Sojourn at Dusk

This sprawling novel, set in the 1960s and the ensuing decades, depicts a large group of hippies, anti-war activists and political radicals as they participate in the volcanic events of an era that changed the United States. From the major East Coast cities to Chicago, San Francisco, Texas, Wyoming, Kansas, Mexico and Peru, "Sojourn at Dusk" follows the peregrinations of its characters and how they changed or did not with the passage of time. The novel also chronicles the depredations of a multinational corporation that affects the lives of these people. From the opening flight of a leftist from the clutches of the FBI in 1950, to the police riot at the 1968 Chicago convention, to the attempts of Vietnam veterans to reconstruct their lives, this novel is imbued with the sense that though the 1960s and '70s were less the beginning that many thought than the beginning of an end, those years nonetheless displayed plenty of daring and courage and risks taken for unshakable convictions.

Dark Is the Night

This murder story set in the great but run-down East Coast city of D___, against the backdrop of 1960s counterculture, political activism and revolutionary violence, chronicles the intent of a drug-dealing hippie, who doubles as a police spy, to cash in on his girlfriend's death. Mob violence, political corruption, a virulently reactionary mayor and a decent legislator's attempt to unseat him weave together in a pattern of plots and subplots that ensnare artists, union organizers and people of goodwill in the coils of the coldly triumphant wicked. The social panorama of loan sharks, high society heirs and the psychotic homeless shifts from light to shade and hope to despair, as people in a landscape of unrelieved gloom and iniquity fight to survive. Above all, "Dark Is the Night" is a story about evil and the struggle against it, in the dark depths of the human soul.

The Walkout, A Tale in Three Parts

The new schools superintendent of a large East Coast city has big plans for education -- plans that involve firing legions of teachers. Thus begins The Walkout, a tale told from the perspectives of several different participants. There is intrigue, blackmail, treachery, skullduggery -- all set against the backdrop of a mass protest, as the teachers battle to save their jobs and education for their students. But the new superintendent, they learn, cares little for either; he has outsized plans and even more outsized ambitions, which set in motion all kinds of trouble. The struggle between blind ambition and decency, wild careerism and modest goals makes The Walkout not just a tale in three parts, but also a parable of our times.

What They Didn't Know, Stories and Essays

A number of these stories and essays are reprinted from literary journals, and one essay first appeared in The New York Times Magazine, but most are published here for the first time. The most recent stories range from a California prison to a house in foreclosure outside Trenton, New Jersey, to a high-powered Philadelphia law firm, but though the settings vary, they display thematic unity -- the power and propinquity of the unknown. "From the Depths" is a cycle of seventeen stories about people on the bottom of the social ladder in the early twenty-first century, while the 1980s series, "Kindness in the City," evokes the magic of the metropolis, that is, Manhattan.
The essays deal with four Renaissance literary masterpieces of humanism, by Cervantes, Rabelais, Erasmus and Boccaccio, the work of a contemporary fiction writer, Ozick, and an analysis of Augustine's Confessions. Altogether these stories and essays make for an extremely various and compelling mix.

Reluctant Reaper

When Winnie Teitlebaum decides to commit suicide, little does she anticipate that she will be interrupted by a burglar. But she is, and her suicidal concentration is shattered. Thus begins the rather wacky relationship at the center of Reluctant Reaper, a comedy about a group of zany suburbanites, some of them quite adle-pated, some rather nuts. Some are elderly, with one foot literally in the grave. Set in Maryland in the summer of 2009, amid swine flu hysteria and the first steps of a new president, this novel portrays hypochondriacs, the Alzeihemer's afflicted, several petty criminals, colorful eccentrics and one raving lunatic, all thrown together whether they like it or not. And when they don't, they are not shy about vociferously, hilariously complaining.


The posh hamlet of Spuckelsburg, outside Washington D.C., is up in arms. A terrifying plan is afoot, to run a mass transit line right into the residents' opulent midst. Ready to fight, they have retained the services of a mad though ruthlessly effective lawyer, who showers his generous share of the massive settlements he wins on Las Vegas slot machines, exotic dancers and the insanely conspiracy-minded political cult to which he belongs. Thus begins Suburbia, a comic novel about a group of well-heeled ninnies who band together to protect their property values. No matter that some of them are so dim-witted they can scarcely follow a sentence with a relative clause -- they know a threat when they see it. From the Viagra support group, to a lunatic's campaign for mayor on an anti-pepper spray plank, Suburbia presents one wildly hilarious situation after another with unforgettably eccentric characters.

Dead in Iraq

Eve Ottenberg not only knows how to tell a story, but brings you so far inside that it'll stay with you.
–Nat Hentoff, Village Voice columnist

Dead in Iraq traces the lives of eight young friends and their disastrous group decision, after 9/11, to join the army. Full of humor when depicting their lives at home, the story becomes much more serious when the new recruits arrive in Iraq. Structured around eight portraits, one for each young man and his family, the story moves quickly from impulsive decisions, made in anger and haste, to its catastrophic conclusion.

The Unblemished Darlings

The Unblemished Darlings is a comic novel about the absurdity of much of the human enterprise. It is filled with zany characters, human and animal, some of them with unpronounceable names, all of them, the humans that is, out for a buck. It is also a hilariously improbable romance, with a heroine who is definitely not thin, not rich, more than a little addled and somewhat over-the-hill. But her unlikely suitor loves her, if only he could bring himself to let her know and if only he didn't have so much competition! From the moment the first bird droppings land on Snarkle's head, to the pigeon that tries to steal his dessert, to his beloved's tiny but ferocious dog that attacks him at every opportunity, the entire animal world seems to be conspiring against poor Snarkle; and the humans are not making his romantic pursuit any easier either.

The Widow’s Opera

The Widow's Opera is the story of people whose lives have been uprooted by the cataclysms of the twentieth century - World War II, Stalin's purges and, earlier, the Armenian Genocide.The novel chronicles the life of Ursa Smirny, a Polish refugee in New York City. It also recounts her friendship with the ruthless Nina Morphy, and Nina's mysterious husband, nicknamed Morpheus by the murderers, thieves and other felons of the prisons where he spends his time. Among the many minor characters, some are comic, like the benighted Mr. Darkwood and some otherworldly, like Mr. Tannini, a self-styled nineteenth-century humanist and bibliophile. But it is also a story of betrayal, murder and revenge that moves quickly from the first page to the last.

Glum and Mighty Pagans

This comic novel set in the world of New York City real estate in the late 1970s and early 1980s chronicles the coming of age of Clara Chimes, who wants to be a scientist. But her overbearing aunt wants her in the family business. Brilliant though not particularly good at standing up for herself, Clara flounders through her family's upper class milieu only to loose her way. Clara becomes lost in the world of the housing court, crazed and somewhat corrupt judges, and tenant organizing, and she also struggles with her aunt's cancer. Minor characters abound, and some are hilarious, especially Clara's dim-witted, Republican voting, health-food-eating eccentric friends from the Main Line. After a tour of Clara's somewhat wacky acquaintance, the reader sees her settle for something not her first choice, but still very good.