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Love And Grief And Odd Obsessions In Megan McNamer's Debut Novel

Black Lawrence Press

In Children and Lunatics, the 21st century is new and fragile, the center barely holding. Wars, terrorists, and hurricanes are on TV.  A silent street person and a suburban mother share intimate spheres of love and grief and odd obsessions, although they barely meet.  As their paths converge, an eerie world hovers, casting shadows and flickering lights, igniting fears and dreams.

"Children and Lunatics pieces together a nightmare landscape—the one we all live in. It's recognizable, strange, and subtly frightening. You can't lay this book aside unchanged."

— Rick DeMarinis, author of The Year of the Zinc Penny

"Megan McNamer’s Children and Lunatics reminds us that madness is created by life’s tragedies and that comfort is found in the most ordinary of places: every third house on a block, a chair, a thrift store purse, a cafe table. We are taken on a skillful journey full of mystery and sadness while being reminded that it is our connection to one another that keeps us from total despair. McNamer’s two central characters are nameless, which means they might be anyone, they are our invisible neighbors, and our potential friends and saviors. There are acts of kindness and acts of violence in this book and I cared so much for the characters that I couldn’t stop reading, and I couldn’t stop hoping for their salvation."

— Mary Jane Nealon, author of Beautiful Unbroken, winner of the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference Bakeless Prize

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Megan McNamer
Credit courtesy Megan McNamer
Megan McNamer

MeganMcNamer’s novel Children and Lunatics won a Black Lawrence Press Big Moose Prize. Her work appears in Salon, Sports Illustrated, The Sun, Tropic Magazine (of The Miami Herald), Islands Magazine, and a number of anthologies. She has won finalist and semi-finalist awards from New Millennium, Glimmer Train, Writers@Work, the University of New Orleans Writing Contest for Study Abroad, the Travelers' Tales Best Travel Writing Solas Awards for 2016, and Carve Magazine's Raymond Carver Short Story Contest for 2016. She grew up in northern Montana and studied music at the University of Montana and ethnomusicology at the University of Washington. Megan McNamer performs Balinese music as a member of the Missoula Community Gamelan, Manik Harum.

Chérie Newman is a former arts and humanities producer and on-air host for Montana Public Radio, and a freelance writer. She founded and previously hosted a weekly literary program, The Write Question, which continues to air on several public radio stations; it is also available online at and
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