My deepest thanks to John L’Heureux, mentor and friend for more than fifteen years. Thanks, also, to Charlie Junkerman, who has always been unreasonably generous. Thanks to Mike Curtis at The Atlantic Monthly for publishing my first short story, which opened many doors, and to Jofie Ferrari-Adler for his work on this book.
I will always be indebted to the creative writing program at Stanford University, where I was an undergraduate, Wallace Stegner Fellow, John L’Heureux Fellow, Jones Lecturer, and Continuing Studies Lecturer, and to the creative writing program at Cornell University, where I received my MFA. In particular, I must thank Stephanie Vaughn and Robert Morgan at Cornell, and John and Joan L’Heureux, Ken Fields, Simone DiPiero, Toby Wolff, Eavan Boland, Michelle Carter, Laura Selznick, Leslie Cahoon, Shirley Heath, Adrienne Rich, and Grace Paley at Stanford.
Many thanks, also, to the writers who were kind enough to endorse my book, with a special thanks to Melanie Thernstrom, Keith Scribner, Jason Brown, and especially Julie Hilden for encouragement, advice, and inspiration. Julie Hilden is nothing less than a muse.
Thank you to friends Jeff and Lora Colflesh, Margie and Pete Wilkinson, Dave O’Rourke, Michael Pardee, Steve Toutonghi, Forrest Melton, Craig Triplett, John Romano, Hilary Hug, Cristal Guderjahn, Shalini Mehan, Paula Moya, Gita Srinivasan, Zaidi Langworthy, Galen Palmer, my father-in-law and mother-in-law Salvador and Ofie Flores, and Pat and Jeff Saturnio. And thank you, finally, to my mother and the other women in my family who have always supported my writing, ever since the early stories about squirrels; to my uncle Doug, who crossed oceans with me three times; and to my wife Nancy, who endured everything and managed somehow to remain happy and loving.