Conditions of Precarity


This haunting collection reveals the inner longings of a wide swath of humanity—of differing ages, sexualities, ethnicities—who hover on the brink of life-altering realizations and face outcomes as dangerous as they are uncertain.

An immigrant grandmother who sells roses to gay customers at a West Hollywood bar; a deaf-mute masseur and sex worker plying his trade; a transient nesting in the lilac bushes of a New England college campus—these are a few of the characters in Conditions of Precarity who find their existences at grave risk in a world in which every choice impacts an uncertain future.

Exquisitely wrought stories. Boone’s range of character, setting and development is remarkable, as is his ability to inhabit so convincingly his large cast of characters.T.C. Boyle, author World’s End and Drop City

I was struck while reading these stately, understated stories by the camouflaged velocity of the epiphanies, the turns in the turns. These are aggressively graceful fictions that sneak up on you. There, that sting of the bullet that comes moments before you register the muzzle flash or even hear the report of the shot fired. This work packs that kind of punch—kinetically energetic in a potential energy drag. Yes, I found myself on edge, on that kind of edgy edge.Michael Martone, author of Plain Air: Sketches from Winesburg, Indiana and The Complete Writings of Art Smith, The Bird Boy of Fort Wayne

Conditions of Precarity is abundant with beauty. Joseph Boone has written a collection that reminds us of our small moments of grace, moments that affirm our connections and moments that illuminate our humanity in these precarious times. Each story is a wondrous meditation of longing, desire, joy—or the will to reach for more. Read this brilliant collection. It will never let you go.              Dana Johnson, author of In the Not Quite Dark and Elsewhere, California

Conditions of Precarity is an atlas of longing and desire populated by characters whose sensitivity, wonder, and abiding optimism afford them the capacity to be surprised, to explore, to change. With these ten stories, ranging in style from the gothic to the farcical to the tragic, set in wildly different terrains—the rural South, the Yorkshire moors, college towns, the Hollywood Hills–Boone puts on full display his abundant talent for charting all of the libidinal currents of the world, all of its varieties of love.Peter Gadol, author of Silverlake Life and The Stranger Game

All of these stories put us at the terrifying center of precarity—the searing vulnerabilities of childhood, of sexuality within hostile environments, even within the storied precarity of certain literary masterpieces—but always the reader’s sturdy perch is Joseph Allen Boone’s gorgeous prose.Michelle Latiolais, author of Widow and She