One of my favorite hidden gems. Martin Riker—the co-publisher of Dorothy, A Publishing Project—pens a novel that spans decades of life both remarkable and comically dull. After Samuel Johnson dies, he finds himself in a liminal state, his soul jumping from body to living body in earthbound purgatory, in search of his son and the meaning behind our quiet lives.— From Spencer R.
A Summer/Fall 2018 Indies Introduce Debut Fiction Selection
When Samuel Johnson dies, he finds himself in the body of the man who killed him, unable to depart this world but determined, at least, to return to the son he left behind. Moving from body to body as each one expires, Samuel's soul journeys on a comic quest through an American half-century, inhabiting lives as stymied, in their ways, as his own. A ghost story of the most unexpected sort, Martin Riker's extraordinary debut is about the ways experience is mediated, the unstoppable drive for human connection, and the struggle to be more fully alive in the world.
Martin Riker grew up in central Pennsylvania. He worked as a musician for most of his twenties, in nonprofit literary publishing for most of his thirties, and has spent the first half of his forties teaching in the English department at Washington University in St. Louis. In 2010, he and his wife Danielle Dutton co-founded the feminist press Dorothy, a Publishing Project. His fiction and criticism have appeared in publications including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, London Review of Books, the Baffler, and Conjunctions. This is his first novel.