“How does Michael Don do it? The more absurd his situations—an eggplant on Craigslist, or a company that delivers anything from soft shell crabs to the greatest mysteries of your life—the more real they feel. The more palpably real his characters’ yearnings—inhabiting bodies and lives full of urges they can scarcely understand much less control—the more beautiful absurdity he unearths. Again and again, Michael Don shows us how hard it is for us to know each other, how harder still it is to know ourselves, yet how startlingly a story just a few pages long can snap us into insight.” 

—Alex Shakar, author of Luminarium


“Michael Don’s characters have all passed a brink, and now must live through the strange new lives they’ve made for themselves. Divorced, angry, lovesick, criminally impulsive—these insightful and endearing stories simmer with discontent and anxiety, humor and heart. Stitched together with concisely poetic prose, this wonderfully twisted batch of love stories rushes forward even as its characters stagnate, fester, and regress.”

—Baird Harper, author of Red Light Run

“Michael Don’s fiction creeps with the uncanny, occasionally winding into dangerous territory. Filled with both oddball humor and impossible tenderness, these stories are at once familiar and completely unexpected.”

—Laura Adamczyk, author of Hardly Children

“There is a deep and insightful wit hiding behind every line, in every story, of Michael Don’s fine debut collection, Partners and Strangers. Don is a sage guide, whirling us through a tour of his imagination, each stop a new, exciting, and welcome twist. Reading this collection makes me feel good: about literature, about the world.”

—Michael Czyzniejewski, author of I Will Love You for the Rest of My Life: Breakup Stories

Dark, enigmatic, and sometimes comic, the stories in Partners and Strangers unite intimate anxieties with public dangers. Its characters embody grief, deviance, and the repressed. In "Yoav Feinberg's Last Year at Home," a teenager's pain over his father's death becomes unpredictably intertwined with an obsession with a cable man. In "A Home for an Eggplant," the specter of a Craigslist killer provides a backdrop for a couple's struggle with fertility. In "The Best Delivery Service," the narrator and his sister, living together after their parents' disappearance, obsessively order items through a hotline that promises delivery of anything one can imagine. The collection highlights a contemporary age characterized by loneliness and alienation.