PRAISE FOR OLIVER LOVING
"A breathtaking tale of tragedy and redemption... A triumph."
"They say great fiction has the power to increase one’s empathy, and Stefan Merrill Block’s Oliver Loving does just that."
-Amazon Book Review, *An Amazon Best Book of January 2018*
"In Stefan Merrill Block’s psychologically astute novel, the damaged people that surround Oliver try to piece together their own versions of what happened that night and since then, even as doctors prepare a new treatment that might help Oliver communicate again."
-Esquire, "27 Most Anticipated Books of 2017"
"All of life’s difficult questions are asked on these pages. How one teenager’s neighbors and family answer them is heartbreaking and will have readers holding their breath."
-Holly Silva, Saint Louis Post-Dispatch
"A charged and hopeful story of a West Texas family seeking a way forward in the aftermath of a school shooting."
"Powerful, ambitious ... A beautifully rendered meditation on the nature of forgiveness, mercy, and healing."
-Library Journal, Starred Review
"Block has done an excellent job of building both his characters and the West Texas setting, which lives vividly on the page, all heat and dust and decrepitude. At once timely and timeless, this is an exciting story that rewards reader interest.”
-Booklist, Starred Review
"Honest and surprising ... the book itself speaks with a single clear and compelling voice."
-Steve Donoghue, Open Letters Review
"A moving novel of love, family, and loss, Stefan Merrill Block's Oliver Loving pulls on every heart string and leaves no stone unturned throughout one man's quest to escape the paralysis that has ensconced him and live a normal, happy life."
“With pinpoint accuracy and rich metaphor, Block’s prose equally captures the psychological nuances of loss and the desolate West Texas “headshop aroma of sun-cooked creosote.”… Block's story gets its powerful depth from his eloquent exploration of what he frequently refers to as the before and after of it.”
-Bruce Jacobs, Shelf Awareness
“Moving…This is a ruminative novel whose accumulating emotional force depends on the acuteness of Block’s patient character development and the unassuming grace of his prose.”
-Harvey Freedenberg, Bookpage
""Empathic, transporting, bold, and original, Block creates an immersive literary experience, terrible to contemplate, impossible to forget."
-Michelle Newby, Lone Star Literary Reviews
"An exquisitely moving novel of sorrow, love, and the miracle of human connections."
-Kamila Shamsie, author of Home Fire
"Every page of this compelling, exquisitely written novel is suffused with a warm intelligence that evokes the best of Tobias Wolfe, Jeffrey Eugenides and Michael Chabon. With a superb evocation of place (Texas), Oliver Loving is a haunting, imaginative, and deeply poignant story by one of America's great wordsmiths. I love this wise, probing and beautiful novel."
-Steve Toltz, Man Booker-shortlisted author of A Fraction of the Whole and Quicksand
"A topic both timely and timeless, psychologically astute and vividly rendered, with strong characters and a rich sense of place."
"Stefan Merrill Block has a masterful understanding of family dynamics. He writes with authority about the power of secrets, shared history and how tragedy shapes lives. The result is a haunting, bittersweet, addictive novel that will keep you wondering until the very end."
-- J Courtney Sullivan, New York Times-bestselling author of Maine and Saints for All Occasions
""Like Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections and Annie Proulx's The Shipping News, Oliver Loving is an extraordinary novel about family and community, told with real heart and humour and style. Stefan Merrill Block has the rare ability to capture, in his literature, the secrets we store in silence — the pages of a life that are rarely read aloud."
-Jonathan Lee, author of High Dive
"Stefan Merrill Block's profound third novel, Oliver Loving, is intricately constructed and rich with devastating, gorgeous prose. But it is the author's rare and special sense of empathy -- felt so deeply in every moment -- which elevates this novel to a breathtaking place."
- Jami Attenberg, New York Times bestselling author of The Middlesteins and All Grown Up
"One reason we read fiction is to know the lives of others as well as our own. In OLIVER LOVING Stefan Merrill Block writes about a West Texas family and community so wholly and honestly, and with such poetic beauty, that their dreams and sorrows become ours. This is a dazzling, psychologically astute, scientifically engaged novel about love, loss, and the mysteries of the mind. Through one family's tragedy Block dares to ask some of the most profound questions of what it means to be alive."
― David Ebershoff, author of The Danish Girl and The 19th Wife
"With exquisite prose and nuanced insights into the functions and dysfunctions of family, Oliver Loving ranges far and wide, from small-town Texas to New York City, communication with semi-living ghosts to the American appetite for violence, the uncharted territory of the human brain to the equally elusive mysteries of the human heart. Stefan Merrill Block has written a captivating, powerful novel."
― Teddy Wayne, author of The Love Song of Jonny Valentine
"In lucid prose and with a tremendouslysure narrative hand, Block weaves together a coming of age story and a lamentof lost youth. This is the story of the devastation inflicted on those leftbehind by catastrophic illness, and the strength they find to live in the wakeof it. The novel becomes a thriller of sorts, with secrets upon secrets,conflicting agendas, and the truth quivering in every conversation. Anessential window into the consciousness of someone on the other side of animpenetrable veil, Oliver Loving brilliantly illuminates theenduring bonds of family and offers one of literature's best explorations ofthe limits of communication we all grapple with."
―Matthew Thomas, New York Times bestselling author of We Are Not Ourselves