Summertime in the Emergency Room
by David Nutt
150 pgs / $16
David Nutt is the author of The Great American Suction (Tyrant Books, 2019). He lives in Ithaca, New York, with his wife and dog and two cats.
Excerpts and reviews:
—"The Blister Sisters," in TRNSFR 7
—"A Kind of Swimming," in Juked 13
—"Theories for the Eternal Dog," in Socrates on the Beach
—"The Rim," in Electric Literature
—"Our Lady of Bleak Hearts," in New York Tyrant
—"Magellan," in Pets: An Anthology (Tyrant Books)
—"Superior Parachutes," in Green Mountains Review XXVI/1
—"Beatrice and Bone," in Washington Square Review No. 42, republished in Sleepingfish
Nine stories about befuddled loners, estranged friends, and detonated families, all hobbled by various acts of self-sabotage, yet still they flounder forth, grasping at every loose thread as if it were a lifeline, only to unravel themselves instead.
"A sentence in David Nutt’s hands turns into something 'shiny and lethal to brandish' in these fiercely imagined spaces where 'even the ferns look nervous.' Under house arrest, crazed by love or war, the freakishy wounded or self-wounding characters in these stories break their bonds for pharmaceutical relief, and we follow them in astonishment at their excess. Summertime in the Emergency Room is a remarkable debut collection of stories from a gifted writer."
"When it comes to David Nutt, the only thing I love more than his sharp, inventive and seismically funny style is the deep humanity from which it springs. His is a brilliant and much needed voice in these sad, ridiculous times."
"Witty, exacting, and full of exuberant prose, Summertime in the Emergency Room is one of those high-velocity collections in which every story swerves and surprises. It is oddly exhilarating to witness Nutt’s characters careen and stagger through their darkest moments and worst decisions, their voices full of heat. This is a stylish, blisteringly inventive book."
—Kimberly King Parsons
"David Nutt's Summertime in the Emergency Room contains stories that reveal the psychological truths of the human condition. Here are stories that are strange, heartbreaking, told with precision and delicacy that recalls such writers as Garielle Lutz and Mary Robison. The world shown here through Nutt's eyes shows a writer with a deep and passionate understanding of language."
"'Do you ever think about how lucky we are? To be alive and awake in this thrilling historical epoch, just moments before the apocalyptic collapse?' This collection of otherworldly stories reads like a hallucinogenic negative print of the world we are inhabiting today. Sick adolescents stall on unfinished algebra equations that speak to larger enigmas. They burn ants with magnifying lenses, smear them like sauce onto a slide, and patiently wait for the red guts to bake under a microscope’s glare. Adults are stitched up, half dead, or generally so checked out that they are never to be trusted. Molars get extracted with pliers and sadness gets sucked out with straws. Pee gets archived in soda bottles. Nutt reveals the 'dark strain of lonely,' one you want to live in even when it hurts because it’s a comforting through line to a very contemporary feeling of solitude."
"I recommend this collection of stories by an author who generates Nabokovian pyrotechnics on the sentence level and whose characters are mind warping combinations of your neighbor and your most hideous nightmare. Bags of gases and juices and metal parts, they are subservient to the demonic narrative collectively named American Suburbia, and they are fall-off-your-chair funny, rueful, comic and tragic—just like you or me. He’s a new voice and he teaches you how to read him as you go. He’s Bosch, Hopper, (Dennis and Edward both) and he MAKES IT NEW, kids, like the best writers must."