Late Night, Early Morning

by Allen Wier

University of Tennessee Press / ISBN 978-1-62190-332-1 / October, 2017

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Recent Work & Appearances

Wier gives a craft talk at the Sewanee Writer’s Conference

Read Wier’s new work of fiction Restless in Narrative Magazine

Wier receives the Truman Capote Prize for short fiction

Podcast: Linda McHenry in conversation with Allen Wier

Praise for Late Night, Early Morning

Allen Wier might be the king of creating ordinary, everyday, well-intentioned characters beset with struggles irrefutably recognized and related to by ordinary, everyday, well-intentioned readers. These stories--which on first glance appear quiet and serene--remind me of the great works of Chekov, Cheever, and Carver. The stories in Late Night, Early Morning move like slow, safe waters with a long, treacherous set of rapids in view. Wier’s a master, unequivocally. I’ll read these stories over and over.”

—George Singleton, author of Calloustown

These stories patiently unfold, brimming with affection for characters in mostly western, rural landscapes. Fathers, sons, wives, husbands puzzle through expected and unexpected dramas—the death of parents, fatal accidents—awed by love and struck to the heart by the brevity of life.”

—Christine Schutt, author of National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize finalists Florida and All Souls, and of Prosperous Friends

Wier’s imagination ranges freely in this masterful collection. What pulls the stories together and gives them their significance as art is their extraordinary power to realize, make real for readers, moments of lived life. We know these people intimately, and we recognize their workaday world, even as it is revealed to us with an imagery and precision of language we conventionally expect of poetry”

—B. J. Leggett, author of Playing Out the String and Women in Cars

For more than three decades Allen Wier has been known as one of the best fiction writers in the south. This collection confirms again his mastery of the short story. One of his major themes is recognition and avoidance of responsibility to others, bonds between family members, friends, lovers, and even strangers. Sometimes satiric, sometimes scary, always memorable, these stories demonstrate Wier’s extraordinary range of voice and achievement.”

Robert Morgan, author of Chasing the North Star

Late Night, Early Morning lives up to Arnold Bennett’s assertion that the “foundation of good fiction is character-creating...” Wier imaginatively inhabits and beautifully rounds out his characters, while also crafting stories that intrigue—many that unfold in small Texas towns. Wier’s descriptions of people and places crackle with life, are riveting in their exactitude, insightful, sometimes funny, dramatic, and involving. These 22 stories display an impressive narrative talent and do not disappoint.”

Peter Makuck, author of Wins and Losses

These exquisitely shaped stories—which range from a father and son playing chicken with a doppelganger, to a confederate widow who wants to know how a one-armed man’s love feels, to a radio which eternally broadcasts reports from the heartland—are nothing less than the dazzling handiwork of an American Maestro. Allen Wier and Late Night, Early Morning should be declared National Treasures.”

Dale Ray Phillips, author of My People’s Waltz

These stories are beautiful and various and deeply satisfying, the way short fiction, when practiced by an artist with vision, always is. The prose sings; the people are vivid and alive as one's own personal memories. Here is that same big, wayfaring imagination that is so evident in Wier's great novel Tehano, only this time it is turned into the depths, to create the whole world in miniature”

—Richard Bausch, winner of The Rea Award for the Short Story, and author of eight volumes of short fiction, including Living in the Weather of the World

Allen Wier’s Late Night, Early Morning—lyric, elegiac, breath-taking in range—is the work of a master of the short story form. I read these stories one right after the other, thirsty for the next, happy to be transported from domestic tensions and joys, to men at war and having survived war, to chance encounters between strangers. Throughout, I was gently guided by Wier’s painstaking, detailed sense of place, by a narrative voice that is assured, confiding, but also a little in awe of what it discovers in the telling. In “Bob and The Other Man,” Bob tells young Boon Speer after his grandfather’s funeral, “Plenty of time now, sonny boy. All the time in the world.” That tension, between the patient unspooling of a story and the relentless, inevitable disappearance of everything we love, accounts for the beauty and the appeal of this collection”

—Liza Wieland, author of Land of Enchantment

In this deeply affecting and extraordinary collection of stories, Allen Wier makes what is familiar strange all over again, and coaxes the reader into emotional territory that is humane without being sentimental and severe without being cruel. As the title suggests, we regard our surroundings differently in twilight, and Wier writes with the stern grace of Flannery O'Connor and the piercing eye of Raymond Carver as he brings the material world to vivid new life and practically makes it dance: the shine of a black paint job on a Dodge, a baseball tossed up into the sky, a century plant tickling the edge of a porch, the orange paint on a pair of stilts, a radio broadcasting the weather of a distant city, a handful of red dirt. You won't just think about these stories, you will feel them”

—Tom Zoellner, author of The Heartless Stone and A Safeway in Arizona

Allen Wier writes living fiction, stores that vividly detail life as it's lived—painful, surprising, and blessed. These stories invigorate and illuminate. because Wier cares about what readers, we lovers of the world, want and need to understand.”

—Kent Nelson, author of The Spirit Bird, winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize

What a joy to rediscover Allen Wier’s remarkable short fiction. The stories here from his first volume, which I read and learned from before I began to publish, retain every bit of their power and brilliance, and the uncollected work is a revelation. His is an enduring and important voice, illuminating our struggles for connection, for meaning.”

—Robert Olen Butler, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain

Allen Wier is blessed with both the generosity of a lay preacher and the cunning of a natural-born storyteller. In these refreshingly pure imaginative explorations, characters suspend judgment in favor of wonder and pursue curiosity without irony or snark. The stories are blessedly clean of authorial excess yet are fully realized, offering sustenance, heft, and light. Allen Wier's patient literary genius is the balm we so desperately need in these chaotic times.”

—Lynn Pruett, author of Ruby River


“I’m astounded by the intimacy and the sensuousness of these stories. I was immersed in the inner lives of the characters, who are rendered affectionately in a dazzling prose style.”
—Bobbie Ann Mason


“Tehano is a rich, ambitious, satisfying novel.”

—Larry McMurty, author of Lonesome Dove


“...this shimmering, powerful story evokes time’s inexorable flow, the tug of unlived dreams. Transcending labels like “Southern fiction,” Wier’s engaging family saga is an exploration of the way people live and fitfully cope.”
—Publishers Weekly


“Wier’s images are so sharp they hurt.”

—Publisher’s Weekly


“His words shimmer on the page like the vistas round his lonely desert town...the novel suggests comparison at various moments with Larry McMurtry, Sherwood Anderson and Robert Penn Warren.”
—Washington Post Book World


“Strong, resonant, beautifully written stories.”

—Publishers Weekly


Books Edited and with an Introduction by Allen Wier

“It's no secret to anyone who has read me that the voice I love best is the narrative voice, is the storyteller's voice. I believe that narrative momentum must override description, must restrain all our pretty abilities with the language, must be more strongly felt than even necessary information.”

—John Irving


Walking on Water is an outstanding anthology, surprising in the rich variety the voices and stances, extraordinary in the sustained quality of all of the 24 stories. . . . Editor Allen Wier has done an excellent job of selection.”

—George Garrett