Settled amid the seasonal amusements and condominium-lined beaches of the Florida coast, the characters who inhabit Kevin Moffett’s award-winning stories reach out of their lives to find that something unexpected and mysterious has replaced what used to be familiar.
Some are stalled in the present, alone or lonely, bemused by mortality and disappointment. Some move toward the future heartened by what they learn from those around them—a tattoo artist, an invented medicine man, zoo animals, strangers, fellow outsiders. Deftly rendered, these stories abound with oddness and grace.
In “Tattooizm,” included in The Best American Short Stories 2006, a young woman struggles with a promise that her boyfriend is determined to make her keep. In the Nelson Algren Award-winning “Space,” a reluctantly undertaken errand forces a young man to finally confront the death of his mother. And in “The Medicine Man,” hailed by the Times (U.K.) as “perfectly pitched and perfectly written,” a man recounts his manic attachment to his sister.
Moffett’s closely observed stories are candid and complex, funny and moving. The world of Permanent Visitors is an idiosyncratic and generous one, its inhabitants searching for constancy in a place crowded with contradiction.
“Kevin Moffett is a writer who has the very rare gift of true kindheartedness. Again and again in Permanent Visitors, he surprises and gratifies the reader with the intensity and patience of his gaze—his ability to find the complicated, the funny, the human, the dazzling, in the stuff of everyday life. The best stories in this book remind us of the real and only purpose of fiction: to recalibrate the heart.”—George Saunders
“Kevin Moffett’s Permanent Visitors is a terrific book. These short stories are absurd and absolutely real at the same time, and Moffett is simply a wonderful writer. He will make you laugh out loud, and move you deeply, over and over, often in the very same sentence.”—Elizabeth McCracken, author, The Giant’s House and Niagara Falls All Over Again
“Mr. Moffett writes with a precision when things get somber that suggests old John Fogerty’s bad moon rising. It’s the power of true things said truly, and I think this power will grow.”—Padgett Powell
“You could say this book is heartbreaking. Funny. Unpredictable. Intelligent. Yet these words fail to adequately convey the experience of reading Kevin Moffet’s Permanent Visitors. ‘Soul loofah’ edges a little closer. If you’ve picked up this collection, wondering, ‘who is this Moffett guy?’—I urge you to buy it and read it, so that you can be one of the lucky people who discovers Kevin Moffett before he’s more widely outed as the brilliant writer that he is.”—Heidi Julavits, author, The Effect of Living Backwards