Josh Michaels

“If all Josh Michaels served up in Outlaws was a darkly comic take on the dilemma of having sex with one’s in- laws—a provocative theme reminiscent of Philip Roth at his best—it would have been enough. But Outlaws, a compellingly readable first novel that touches down in Florida, Southern California, Venice, and Las Vegas, offers so much more. Painting a scathing portrait of a modern American family, Michaels mixes vignettes of petty squabbling and cringe-worthy spats with moments of genuine tragedy and revelation. Along the way, there are engaging riffs on the history of Venice, the humiliations of academic life, the world of pet rescue activists, and ruminations on Mozart’s The Magic Flute, including a sympathetic (and long overdue) reassessment of the Queen of the Night. The beauty of Outlaws is that all of this fits together in a seamless, beautifully written narrative you won’t soon forget. A solid literary debut, highly recommended.”

Josh Getlin — New York-based books and culture writer,
former New York Bureau Chief for the Los Angeles Times

“The plot is even somewhat Shakespearean–thick with outlandish characters and themes of deception and love… The novel may seem a bit over the top at times, but it’s well written and often funny… Conventional familial relations, the novel seems to say, can be much darker than forbidden ones. An engaging, eccentric take on love and family.

Kirkus Reviews

A Balzacian variety-show full of learning and hi-jinx, this sophisticated study of eros and family takes no prisoners. Featuring warring siblings, impulsive bed-switchings, full-hearted academic satire, and a production of The Magic Flute to boot, in the good old praise-phrase, it’s a page-turner.”

Barry Spacks — author of the novels The Sophmore and Orphans, and
eleven volumes of poetry, including Spacks Street: New and
Collected Poems
and The Hope of the Air