Stories from A Perfect Universe have been Shortlisted for the Sunday Times/EFG Story Prize, listed as Distinguished in Best American Short Stories, and published in Zyzzyva, The Rattling Wall, f(r)iction, VLAK, and as an Amazon Kindle Single.
A PERFECT UNIVERSE: Ten Stories
Welcome to the often overlooked corners of sun-bleached Los Angeles, where a teenaged bicycle thief searches for a kidnapped boy, a young musician emerges as the lone survivor of a building collapse, and an aging actor faces the erasure of his past. There, far from the Hollywood spotlight, we also meet two sisters locked in a destructive cycle of memory and illness, coffee shop regulars whose lives are torn apart by a stunning moment of violence, and the desperate, fraudulent writer whose fictions connect these unforgettable characters in subtle and surprising ways.
Sharply observed, exhilarating paced, and beautifully written, A Perfect Universe is a masterful exploration of growing up and growing old, loss and longing, identity and deception, and the search for redemption, humanity, and grace.
"Scott O'Connor's beautifully wrought stories are sharp-edged, unflinching, and filled with the kind of precision of language that etches images into the mind. His characters' lives are ingeniously connected by a '70s cult sci-fi film, but what really binds them is the often heartbreaking and always surprising ways they attempt to find purchase in the world they inhabit, one which can feel as out of reach and inscrutable as the farthest star.
--Marisa Silver, author of Little Nothing and Mary Coin
"I sat down to read the first story in A Perfect Universe, only to look up several hours later having read the entire book in a single sitting. I fell in love with these characters from the first page. The storytelling in this book--tender and attentive, starkly poetic and always surprising--moved me at every turn."
--Attica Locke, author of Pleasantville and The Cutting Season
"Through a kaleidoscopic cast of characters teeming with desires, hopes, frustrations, and regrets, the compelling stories in A Perfect Universe excite the imagination while appealing to the heart. Scott O'Connor's crystalline prose delivers an ambitious range of voices and narrative structures that reflect the bewildering complexity and quiet beauty of our modern world."
-- John Pipkin, author of Woodsburner and The Blind Astronomer's Daughter
"Scott O’Connor’s riveting exploration into the hopes, losses and triumphs of his characters plunges the reader into sprawling Los Angeles, where the entertainment business looms like an extra moon. A brilliant storyteller, O’Connor inhabits his characters and pulls us in after them, exploring lives in which everything is up for grabs and nothing is what you think."
--Kit Reed, author of The Story Until Now and Mormama