From the best-selling coauthor of The Disaster Artist and “one of America's best and most interesting writers" (Stephen King), a new collection of stories that range from laugh-out-loud funny to disturbingly dark—unflinching portraits of women and men struggling to bridge the gap between art and life
A young and ingratiating assistant to a movie star makes a blunder that puts his boss and a major studio at grave risk. A long-married couple hires an escort for a threesome in order to rejuvenate their relationship. An assistant at a prestigious literary journal reconnects with a middle school frenemy and finds that his carefully constructed world of refinement cannot protect him from his past. A Bush administration lawyer wakes up on an abandoned airplane, trapped in a nightmare of his own making.
In these and other stories, Tom Bissell vividly renders the complex worlds of characters on the brink of artistic and personal crises—writers, video-game developers, actors, and other creative types who see things slightly differently from the rest of us. With its surreal, poignant, and sometimes squirm-inducing stories, Creative Types is a brilliant new offering from one the most versatile and talented writers working in America today.
About the Author
TOM BISSELL was born in Escanaba, Michigan, in 1974. His short fiction has won two Pushcart Prizes and has been published in multiple editions of The Best AmericanSeries. He has also written eight works of nonfiction, including Apostle and (with Greg Sestero) The Disaster Artist, as well as many screenplays for video games and television. Bissell lives in Los Angeles with his family.
“Tom Bissell is one of America's best and most interesting writers." —Stephen King, from the introduction to Flight or Fright: 17 Turbulent Tales
"Award-winning stories that are clear-eyed, unrelenting, slightly acidulous, and sometimes bleakly funny in their exploration of contemporary life... Well-crafted and expansive stories." —Library Journal
"This buzzing collection brings together seven stories that showcase [Bissell's] gift for energetic storytelling, each tale imbued with humor and relevant cultural references... Bissell's affinity for fast pacing and quick wit will reward readers looking for an antidote to the doldrums of life under quarantine." —Booklist
“The seven stories in Bissell’s droll, thoughtful collection… portray artistic people in the midst of unfortunate circumstances, often due to their own actions… Each story demonstrates Bissell’s talent for smooth, sparkling prose, arresting descriptions… and vivid characterization. Desperate, downtrodden, and self-absorbed, the protagonists are thoroughly human, and Bissell consistently transforms the reader’s voyeuristic pleasure into unexpected sympathy.” —Publishers Weekly
"Bissell is a deeply precise writer, and his sense of the emotional disorientation his characters face is literally gut-level... A witty, wide-ranging exploration of complex emotions." —Kirkus
"It’s like Deborah Eisenberg and Bruce Chatwin had a secret love child and instead of raising him, they gave him away to Ubisoft in an experiment to see if gamers can be turned back into readers. Bissell pulls off the what should be impossible — illuminating all the modern silences and somehow rendering them laugh-out-loud funny. You won’t find more memorable 'lovers' or better dialogue anywhere. Buy this book and learn how to write." —Stephen Gaghan, writer and director of Syriana
“The creative types in Tom Bissell’s brilliant stories travel, try not to be tourists, take cocaine, have threesomes, have babies, find themselves doing hack work for SNL, interview super heroes—all trapped inside acute, bone-cutting sentences. The stories in Creative Types are witty, sharp, and fun as hell to read but also highly serious, fearlessly exposing the foibles of creative people as they try to build lives that feed the muse—or sell themselves out. Bissell is one of our best writers and this is one of his best books. —David Means, author of Instructions for a Funeral
“Tom Bissell writes like some kind of wicked angel. Here are transgressively funny stories about writers and actors, cocaine and art, escorts and threesomes, religion and apostasy, all rendered in sentences so exquisite they make me blush with holy envy. I’ve read and admired Bissell's work for years, but Creative Types might be his best book yet.” — Jamie Quatro, author of Fire Sermon