Galvanized Yet Undone by a Tragedy: Dennis Mahoney’s ‘Fellow Mortals’


On the first page of Dennis Mahoney’s first novel, Fellow Mortals (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 277 pages), a fire burns down two houses and damages two more on Arcadia Street. It’s pretty much all downhill from there for the characters. As their lives creep along in the aftermath of that tragedy, Mahoney’s characters show us how a single event can galvanize a group of people yet destroy them at the same time. Infelicitous mailman Henry Cooper starts the blaze on Arcadia Street while trying to light a cigar on his route. The fire demolishes the houses of Nan and Joan […]

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