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Cover for Aliens in the Prime of Their Lives

Aliens in the Prime of Their Lives


Brad Watson


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Finalist for the 2011 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction: "Watson's talent is singular, truly awesome; [his stories] are infused with an uncanny beauty."—A. M. Homes

In this, his first collection of stories since his celebrated, award-winning Last Days of the Dog-Men, Brad Watson takes us even deeper into the riotous, appalling, and mournful oddity of human beings.

In prose so perfectly pitched as to suggest some celestial harmony, he writes about every kind of domestic discord: unruly or distant children, alienated spouses, domestic abuse, loneliness, death, divorce. In his masterful title novella, a freshly married teenaged couple are visited by an unusual pair of inmates from a nearby insane asylum—and find out exactly how mismatched they really are.

With exquisite tenderness, Watson relates the brutality of both nature and human nature. There’s no question about it. Brad Watson writes so well—with such an all-seeing, six-dimensional view of human hopes, inadequacies, and rare grace—that he must be an extraterrestrial.

Praise For Aliens in the Prime of Their Lives: Stories

Consistently delivers that elusive element great Southern writers have always brought to the table—a delicious sense of the unexpected.
— Kirkus Reviews

Watson is a master at hairpin plot turns, and his characters come alive on the page.
— Publishers Weekly

Essential reading and highly recommended.
— Library Journal

Powerful stories.
— Booklist

Precise, surprising . . . gorgeously turned sentences.
— Pam Houston, author of Cowboys Are My Weakness

W. W. Norton & Company, 9780393338850, 272pp.

Publication Date: March 14, 2011

About the Author

Brad Watson (1955—2020) taught creative writing at the University of Wyoming, Laramie. His first collection, Last Days of the Dog-Men, won the Sue Kauffman Award for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts & Letters; his first novel, The Heaven of Mercury, was a finalist for the National Book Award, and his Aliens in the Prime of Their Lives was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.