The Wasp Eater (Paperback)

By William Lychack

Mariner Books, 9780618618903, 170pp.

Publication Date: November 1, 2005



"The Wasp Eater has an uncanny precision about love and forgiveness . . . It is one of the best narratives I have ever read about those who are unforgiven, and the effect of this refusal on a child." -- Charles Baxter

Deeply felt and wholly original, William Lychack's heart-rending debut charts a ten-year-old boy's quest to reunite his estranged parents. After learning of her husband's infidelity, Daniel's mother throws the man and his things out of the house. Stubborn and impulsive, Daniel's father is forbidden to visit, but he returns frequently to his son's window at night, furtively offering money, apologies, advice, and hope. Caught between his mother's pain and his father's guilt, Daniel attempts an extraordinary act in a desperate bid to repair his family.

Graceful and magnetic, this impressive first novel insightfully charts the raw emotional undercurrents of a broken family through characters whose human foibles are artfully drawn.

"This spare, meticulous novel opens out like a poem, its deceptively casual images bearing a universe of weight." -- New York Times Book Review

"Poignant . . . Lychack finds new ways to describe feelings too achingly familiar to anyone whose parents ever delivered similar news." -- San Diego Union-Tribune

"The simplicity and clarity of Lychack's writing are effective in their precise portrayal of a child's mind . . . vivid." -- People

William Lychack's stories have appeared in The Best American Short Stories, Ploughshares, Triquarterly, and on public radio's This American Life. The Wasp Eater is his first book.