reviews

 

the theory of light and matter

in between days

In Between Days is a tightly wound novel of suspense, wrapped in the emotional trials of a family teetering on the edge of disaster. Andrew Porter has given us a fresh, modern, literary page-turner, exposing in turn the inner lives of father, mother, brother and sister. Grown-ups go around behaving like children, while adult children refuse to grow up, until ultimately everyone is shaken from their sheltered lives and into a whole new world.”

—Hannah Tinti, Author of The Good Thief


“[Porter] writes with intuitiveness about the complexities of family life and creates indelible characters . . . What makes In Between Days so compelling is the characters. Each is holding something back from the others, carrying a secret, telling only half the truth most of the time. By withholding vital information, Porter is able to develop a sense of unease as thick as Houston smog . . . It’s our fictional work of the year.”

The San Antonio Express-News


“When it comes to novels about the modern family, nobody does it quite like the Americans. From John Cheever and Richard Yates to Jonathan Franzen, Jeffrey Eugenides and this year's women's prize for fiction winner AM Homes, no one can touch them for their portrayal of the dark underbelly of this supposedly model institution. In Between Days might well be Pennsylvania-born author Andrew Porter’s first novel, but it proves his credentials as a writer worthy of a place in this illustrious hall of fame. Eminently moving but never sentimental, Porter's powerful tale of a dysfunctional family at breaking point is plotted with the suspense of a well-paced thriller.”

The Guardian


“[Gives] a real and moving sense of how families are composed of so many moments mutually and individually and collectively experienced . . . The author manages to make us care, to help us see how every move and each decision, however seemingly important or inconsequential, ravels and unravels a family’s life, as the fabric nonetheless somehow holds together . . . Eloquent.”

The Minneapolis Star Tribune


In Between Days confirms that Andrew Porter has arrived . . . a Jamesian examination of character that dances a quadrille with the points of view of the four Hardings . . . the prose and pacing are nearly flawless.”

The Texas Observer


“This is Andrew Porter’s first novel and, as a portrait of a modern American nuclear family, it is a deft one. He weaves in the full tapestry of contemporary life and its complications: male menopause, desperate housewives, extended adolescence and race relations in post-9/11 America.”

The Dallas Morning News


“Porter’s debut novel grabs the reader and does not let go until the last line . . . The plot moves backward and forward in time, artfully revealing key details and maintaining a mesmerizing level of suspense . . . Highly recommended.”

Library Journal


“A stirring page-turner, part Chekhov, part Hitchcock . . . a deftly paced social psychodrama.” 

Houston Magazine


“I was shaken by this cautionary tale of what can happen when a family’s secrets become larger than the love they share.”

Real Simple


In Between Days is as complex and sensitive in psychology as it is credible and compelling in narrative . . . [Porter] quietly—and masterfully—creates the context in which this quartet of characters display not just their vulnerabilities but their desperate comprehension.”

The Baton Rouge Advocate


“The story is told with great emotional insight. All four of the Hardings get to tell their pieces of the story in their distinct voices, creating a multi-layered and suspenseful tale of love in all its varieties and family defined in different ways.”

Booklist


“Andrew Porter’s debut novel, In Between Days, is a powerful portrait of family dysfunction, a worthy successor to his award-winning short story collection, The Theory of Light and Matter.”

Texas Monthly


“A family drama spiced with a touch of intrigue . . . There’s a reason writers love dysfunctional families—they are and endless source of dramatic fodder, encompassing just about every flavor of human neurosis and cruelty imaginable. In Between Days, the debut novel of the well regarded short-story writer Andrew Porter, is a welcome new entry in the canon.”

The Boston Globe


This is a beautifully written and immaculately observed portrait of what happens to the splinters of a broken family, and their shared concept of Home. Terrific. “

The Times (London)


“A striking assemblage of generational disintegrations and distress that will remind some readers of [the] Ingmar Bergman-inspired Woody Allen art house flick Interiors by way of Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Virgin Suicides . . . Porter has effortlessly and enviably, it seems, made the tough transition from best-kept literary secret to bestseller material.”

San Antonio Magazine


“Porter’s absorbing debut novel chronicles the slow-motion fracture of an upper-middle class Houston clan . . .  The prose is smooth—practically frictionless, thanks to Porter’s realistic yet meaningful dialogue and his plainspoken, nonjudgemental descriptions . . . Porter wants to explore why we take such firm hold of some parts of our emotional lives  but willfully neglect others, and his surprise ending suggests why it’s worth breaking free of others’ definitions of emotional attainment.”

Kirkus Reviews


Andrew Porter’s 2010 debut, the story collection The Theory of Light and Matter, was much acclaimed. This compelling, perceptive novel confirms his talent. Porter gives us a portrait of a household on the brink of dispersal, but even as he depicts the tensions of family life he movingly affirms its consolations.”

The Financial Times (UK)


The real treat is Porter’s plainspoken treatment of his characters, quiet and intense, and the revelations of fine but substantive fractures that are impossible to repair.”

The Paris Review Daily


“Andrew Porter’s poised study of the meaning of love, family and home has a meatier, more suspenseful plot than you’d anticipate [and] the backdrop, Houston, is also unexpected, taking on a lush complexity in Porter’s telling”

—The Daily Mail (UK)


“Absolutely mesmerizing . . . Andrew Porter had me at page one of In Between Days . . . If you care at all about excellent writing, intriguing storylines, character development, human behavior, family relationships, or just plain great reading, do not miss this book.”

Coastal Breeze News


“One of the year’s stellar debut novels . . . Porter follows his impressive story collection, The Theory of Light and Matter, with the exquisitely told dysfunctional family drama In Between Days.” —David Gutowski, Largehearted Boy


“In clear, clean prose, and reminiscent of Rosellen Brown’s Before and After and Reservation Road by John Burnham Schwartz, Andrew Porter’s astonishing and provocative debut novel follows a family falling apart in the face of colliding expectations, secrets and betrayals.”

The Barnes & Noble Review (a “Discover Great New Writers” selection)


Beautifully written, deeply felt, and sharply intelligent, Andrew Porter's In Between Days is a subtly drawn masterpiece.”

—Powell’s Books


“Porter has achieved the holy grail of the modern novelist - he has written about a dysfunctional family in a way that is wholly original, with elegant prose that is a pure joy to read.”

—Book People Bookstore, Austin, TX


“This is one of those rare books—a first novel, written by a young writer—where we witness many gifts come together in a manner that seems effortless. In Between Days is taut and insightful, thrilling and suspenseful, and through it all Porter shows an understanding and feeling for his characters that is so genuinely deep and loving that we can’t help but feel grateful.”

—Skylight Books, Los Angeles


"I couldn't put In Between Days down. I was captured by the story of a family falling apart and daughter Chloe's obsessive love for her boyfriend. "
—University of Washington Bookstore, Seattle, WA


“Beautifully written and suspenseful . . . Porter masterfully presents each of his characters with stunning believability.”

—Bookshop Santa Cruz


“An engaging novel . . . fraught with tragedy and tension.”

—Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn, NY


“Porter’s prose if gorgeous, fluid and precise . . . [an] astonishing and provocative debut novel”

—Miwa Messer, Director of the Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” Series


“Truly wonderful, literary prose; characters who could be your own sister/brother/mother/father. Porter is an enormous talent.”

KXAN (NBC) News and Book People Bookstore


“Porter has crafted a novel of emotional insight, increasing tension and a story that pulls the reader into unusual but always credible family circumstances . . . a gripping story”

The New Zealand Herald


Eminently moving but never sentimental, Porter's powerful tale of a dysfunctional family at breaking point is plotted with the suspense of a well-paced thriller.”

The Guardian (UK)


In Between Days is Andrew Porter's beautifully crafted tale of a family falling apart. Twisting and turning the narrative, Porter sensitively charts the systematic splintering of the Harding family unit, disrupting the traditional notion of 'family' and asking how you put the pieces back and, perhaps most importantly, how you carry on?”

Booktrust (UK)


“An absorbing and suspenseful family drama . .  . Throughout this tale, Porter manages to accurately convey both the fragility and strength of the family unit . . . A moving portrait of an intensely dysfunctional family.”

The National


“[Porter] has a commanding ear for dialogue . . . and paints his portrait of a family gone wrong in harrowing detail.”

Pop Matters


“Porter writes each character with sensitivity . . . unflinching honesty . . . Love that was supposed to last forever doesn’t end, exactly; rather it becomes transmuted into nostalgia for what used to be but is no longer livable. Through his close psychological portrait of the Hardings, Porter shows how bittersweet that change is.”

Full Stop


A powerful debut novel by the acclaimed author of the short-story collection The Theory of Light and Matter . . . This cautionary tale as seen through the eyes of a disintegrating family is lucid, luminous, and enjoyable . . . [a] taut yet eloquent narrative.”

—Steve Evans, Finders Indaily (Australia)


“A powerful tale of a family in disarray, In Between Days deftly explores the aftermath of crime and tragedy on a close-knit family . . . Andrew Porter’s novel combines precisely drawn characters and compelling psychological suspense to create a masterful novel of an American family in chaos.”

—Texas Book Festival


“Heartbreakingly realistic . . . if you’re a fan of adult fiction, you should give this book a try.”

—The Bookwheel


“This beautifully-written novel forces us to examine the power of white versus Muslim in America, frightening us with the results of blanket prejudice and loss, leaving us to wonder about our own racism and what lengths we must go to to find hope.”

JEMS


“A first novel of surprising maturity . . . [Porter] is a master of the snapshot, in the manner of Raymond Carver.”

Le Temps (France)


“By blending literary fiction with a touch of suspense, Porter has written a novel that takes the genre to a new place.”

River City Reading


In Between Days is a elegiac achievement. Andrew Porter’s second book approaches the topics of discrimination, disintegrating relationships, identity and infidelity with an uncanny compassionate ease . . . pleasurable, emotively cohesive, you won’t put this book down unless you have to.”

Campus Rap (Australia)


“A perceptive portrait of a modern and broken family. The struggle of each of the characters with their own identity is flawlessly observed.”

Must Reads (The Netherlands)


“An addictive novel . . . sensitive and controlled writing . . . impeccably suspenseful.”

—Cathulu (France)


“Andrew Porter has written a penetrating novel . . . a mosaic of a plot that unfolds effortlessly over four hundred pages.”

—Cobra (The Netherlands)


“A beautiful painting of ordinary life, this novel tells of love and disenchantment, bitterness and joy, betrayal and forgiveness . . . a sensitive novel.”

—PAGE: Le Livres Par Les Librairies (France)


“A captivating novel that reveals a nuanced writer.”

—La Semaine (France)


“A beautiful novel with moments of tension and compassion. A book that raises many questions.”

—Onalulu (France)


“A psychological suspense . . . The terror that emerges is reminiscent of the The Ice Storm by Rick Moody.”

—Sud Ouest (France)


“A revelation . . . Andrew Porter enters the big leagues thanks to his last great novel In Between Days.”

—Men’s Up (France)


“A beautiful novel . . . Porter dissects the relationships of the family members and explore with subtlety, sensitivity and understanding the psychology of each . . . absolutely masterful.”

—Clara et les Mots (France)


“This is such a superior American novel . . . delightful”

—Marleens Boek van de Week (The Netherlands)


“After a masterful collection of short stories, Andrew Porter has written a remarkable first novel . . . the literary debut of Andrew Porter was already breathtaking . . . [In Between Days] is even stronger”

—Livres Hebdo (France)


“Andrew Porter, a keen observer, immerses himself in the lives of the Harding family . . . a novel that clings to you . . . very successful.”

Ruban Carbone: Daily Culture (France)


“A first novel that shows a great narrative mastery.”

Audouchoc (France)


“Remarkable subtlety and intelligence . . . a fascinating portrait on an era, the US post September 11th . . . an excellent thriller.”

Lilly in the Vallee (France)


“An addictive novel with a flawless sense of suspense.”

Planete Ardechoise (France)


“This is Porter’s first comprehensive novel. Very successful.”

Cafe Powell (France)


“A thriller with an excellent sense of suspense, this novel continues to surprise the reader.”

Cuneipage (France)


“Here is a classically told, great novel along the lines of a Raymond Carver or John Cheever, and I'm willing to state it here: one day Andrew Porter will win a Pulitzer or National Book Award.”

—Liz and Gianna’s Adventures in Bookland













More Reviews Coming Soon!

home              books              about             news             events            reviews           interviews           press           contact



"If you are anything like me, you will read Andrew Porter's The Theory of Light and Matter with the same feeling of simple gratitude that the first readers of Richard Ford's Rock Springs must have experienced twenty years ago: here, you will think, is a true master of the short story, a writer of honesty and plainspoken poetry who knows the human soul in all its light and shadow and harnesses every sentence to the purpose of revealing it."

—Kevin Brockmeier, author of The View from the Seventh Layer


"I've known of Andrew Porter's genius for ten years. He's a born storyteller. Every page of The Theory of Light and Matter will change something in your life and refresh you . . . He makes his own space instantly and invites you in. Hats off!"

—Barry Hannah, author of Airships


“Andrew Porter’s fiction is thoughtful, lucid and highly controlled. It is especially striking for the strong consistency of vision that is achieved in every story. He has the kind of voice one can accept as universal—honest and grave, with transparency as its adornment.”

—Marilynne Robinson, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Gilead


“In a world where everything, including stories, seem to be moving so fast, reading Andrew Porter's book is like stopping to catch your breath - and remember. These stories are patient and rare, and, to my mind, permanent. This is the kind of book that you will keep taking off the shelf to read again and again because you want to re-capture what it felt like to read them for the first time.”

—Peter Orner, Author of Esther Stories


“[Porter] is a master storyteller, a creator of tender and hopeful characters, a writer who whispers rather than shouts. We look forward to hearing more from such an amazing talent . . . This collection deserves to be read and reread.”

—The Christian Science Monitor


“[A] luminous collection . . . Porter's use of poetic yet plainspoken language and his thoughtful consideration of the fractured American family place his writing in direct dialogue with the work of John Cheever and Raymond Carver. But Porter is no mere student of these masters. As the 10 stories in this luminous collection demonstrate, Porter has his own compelling vision of human longing, loneliness and grief . . . Porter's "The Theory of Light and Matter" is a memorable debut that honors the history of the short story form while blazing a new trajectory all its own.”

—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


“A work of unadorned beauty. . . Porter’s collection draws immediate comparison to the work of Raymond Carver . . .  Like Carver, Porter is expert in understanding the weak threads that hold together broken families and the way people suppress their disappointments and experience epiphanies far too late to make a difference.”

—The Cleveland Plain Dealer (A Noteworthy Paperback)


“A remarkable collection . . . Porter’s clear, spare stories about loss, betrayal and failure are wistful and wise . . . again and again, he makes these stories seem like something we should know, and should want to know . . . Whatever these people are telling us about, in their deceptively simple way, we’re with them, willing them along, interested to hear and saddened to know. It takes a rare sort of artistry to establish such a bond.”

—The Minneapolis Star Tribune


“This collection reveals an extraordinarily talented writer. The term ‘beautiful writing’ is used too freely, but it really does apply here. Unlike many writers who have a love of language, Porter avoids long descriptive passages or the use of arcane words. In the long American tradition traced from Hemingway through Sam Shephard, Raymond Carver and Richard Ford, Porter uses words with great economy. That he does this without any of the heroic machismo of that tradition makes him truly a writer for our times.”

—Sydney Morning Herald


“[A] beautifully executed short story collection . . . Porter pulls us through the looking glass into a world where adults suffer from failed careers or sexual confusion and their offspring are underachievers at best or, at worst, mentally “not right.” There’s a crisp economy to these stories that nicely underpins their offbeat narratives.”

—Texas Monthly


“[An] impressive debut story collection . . . [Porter’s] characters' lives seem placid and idyllic on the surface. Yet underneath, they are roiled by secrets.  .  . Loss, sacrifice, choice and responsibility are some of the other themes tightly woven into this impressive debut.”

—The Dallas Morning News


“[An] exquisite debut collection . . . [These] stories have a hard-won grit and imagination to spare.”

—Time Out New York


“[A] fantastic collection of short stories.”

—The Houston Chronicle


“A terrific collection.”

—The London Times


“One of the ten best collections of short fiction for 2008.”

—The Kansas City Star


“Andrew Porter is one of the best young American writers today.”

—McNally Jackson Books


“One of America’s most compelling new short-fiction writers.”

—The Independent (UK)


“Andrew Porter can achieve more in a handful of pages than most writers can in a hundred. I’ve read most of the stories in this collection two and three times, and I continue to marvel at how they can be so spare and rich at the same time. My favorite book of the year.”

—Billy Taylor, The San Antonio Express-News (Best Books of 2008)


“Moving . . . These ten stories are full of wisdom and deep sadness. Through Porter's beautiful and restrained prose, they accumulate power slowly and deceptively until they become difficult to shake.    Like the best writers of childhood, Porter understands that these are fundamentally stories about the weight of memory. . . [They] cut to the emotional quick of human experience with stunning compression.”

—The American Book Review


“Heralded by critical praise . . . Porter’s tales are brimming with characters both likable and bewilderingly human. We see in them our own flaws and shortcomings and desires. These are quintessentially stories about the desire for redemption, the search for meaning, and the need for human contact . . . Porter does a fantastic job of recreating these entrancing confluences of lives.”  (A Critics Pick)

—The San Antonio Current


“In Porter’s debut story collection, he casts an unflinching, psychological eye on modern suburban life, its failed and revised dreams, and the madness and illness that can chip away at families and relationships.”

—Poets & Writers Magazine


“Wonderful . . . [a writer] of exceptional vision and voice.”

—Shenandoah


“These beautiful stories are safe and menacing at the same time.”

—The Boston Globe


“Delicately lovely tales . . . Porter’s spare, lean voice deftly captures the rhythms of recollection, with the tranquil resignation of recounting what has already happened cloaking the latent emotions left roiling underneath . . . Rendered with sensitivity and depth. This new author deserves some attention.”

—San Francisco Book Review


“Like taking a sip of the clearest mountain spring water . . . With clear, strong prose marked by devious underpinnings, Porter’s style is straightforward, his characters careful narrators treading above a murky pool.”

—Booklist


“In Andrew Porter's [collection], there is a wave-like movement in each story, a swelling toward the event and an ebbing toward the new future after the event . . . in some cases the event will lodge, like a splinter, in other's lives. Porter is in it for the backward glance; he believes we might actually be able, if we look hard enough and study small movements, to predict the future.”

—The Los Angeles Times (“Discoveries” Selection)


“Stunning meditations on loss and remembrance . . . Porter crafts stories of disparate lives . . . in an evocative, straightforward prose style reminiscent of Raymond Carver.”

—The Daily Beast (“Hot Reads” Pick)


“Lovely . . . There’s a certain slim-hipped, youthful masculinity to Andrew Porter’s 2008 debut . . . Porter delivers suburbia just exactly as you’ve experienced it, but with all the dark corners intact, and some of them even lit right up. Normal people, across America, struggling to discover the meaning in their everyday lives. His voice is even, often understated, so much so that at times, the sharp details he is able to illuminate come as a delightful surprise.”

—January Magazine


“An accomplished and exciting debut by a young writer of considerable restraint and undeniable gifts.”

—The Sunday Star-Times (New Zealand)


“Andrew Porter is the real storytelling deal. This ten-story collection won the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction and it’s not hard to see why. Porter performs conjuring tricks with time and perspective that less accomplished writer would never get away with . . . I loved this collection and didn’t want it to finish.”

—Insights Magazine (Australia)


“A collection at once arresting and purposefully charged . . . Porter [has] expert control of his subject, and an ability to bring depth to characters who at first seem relatively simple. It’s a gift that puts him alongside Wells Tower and David Vann as one of America’s most compelling new short-fiction writers.”

—The Independent (UK)


“Porter chronicles suburbia in these timeless, well-crafted stories, and this collection stands out as one of the year's most unforgettable works of fiction.”

—David Gutowski, Largehearted Boy


“Like Raymond Carver, like Richard Ford, in just a few short stories Andrew Porter made it clear to me he would be one of those rare writers who’s work I will hunt down for as long as he’s alive and writing.”

—Nick Earls, author of After January


“Extraordinarily beautiful and moving stories. The genius of The Theory of Light and Matter is Porter’s ability to express emotion with such rawness and realness.”

—Media and Culture Journal (Australia)


“Let me join the chorus of praise for this debut collection of ten well-crafted and timeless stories . . . reading Porter is like falling into a whole other world. Highly recommended.”

—South Coast Register


“It’s easy to understand why Andrew Porter won the Flannery O’Connor Award: He deserves it. The stories in his collection The Theory of Light and Matter are exceptional.”

—Real Change News


“Ten remarkable stories . . . Porter’s prose is clear and unadorned, and impresses the reader with its apparent openness. Through the variable lens of memory, each narrator struggles to get his (occasionally, her) story straight and, in doing so, some version of the truth is revealed . . . The Theory of Light and Matter is a wonderful introduction to Andrew Porter’s fiction.”

— Carol Reid, The Short Review


“An evocative first book . . . Porter displays his unique talent for showing that forsythia-filled suburban front yards are not at all what they seem. [His] prose continually lulls the reader into the muggy landscape of faraway memory, back to a place in which the roots of a later tragedy were first born.”

—Gulf Coast


“An impressive collection . . . Porter [has] a restrained prose style reminiscent of craftsmen like Richard Ford and Tobias Wolff . . . [A] writer whose work seems destined to attract an appreciative following”

—Harvey Freedenberg, Shelf-Awareness


“Andrew Porter is a bright young thing to watch . . . his first collection, The Theory of Light and Matter, comprises ten beautiful, deft, touching and memorable stories . . . This is a highly accomplished debut from a writer you’re going to want to keep an eye on; they’re accessible and resonant stories that’ll stay with you. Read it, read, read it—and wait excitedly for what’s coming next.

—Valerie O’Riordan, BookMunch (UK)


“Porter’s stories unfold like literary origami—Porter pulls a corner and a whole segment is revealed. The Theory of Light and Matter does not sacrifice humanity for the cause of idiosyncrasy.”

—Time Out Sydney


“The clear, understated style in which Porter writes about his characters makes their fates all the more poignant.”

—ELLE Magazine (The Netherlands)


“With The Theory of Light and Matter, Andrew Porter reveals a rare potential, that of a great novelist . . . In the tradition of Brett Easton Ellis and Raymond Carver . . . [he] is a writer who will soon be prominent.”

—Fluctuat (France)


“A masterpiece . . . impeccably written.”

—Direction Fiction (France)


“Ten wonderful stories . . . Porter, creator of tender and hopeful characters, whispers little moments of truth that may go unnoticed in the clamour of life—don’t let them pass you unheard.”

—The Malaysia Star (Malaysia)


“[A] natural born talent . . . a writer for our times”

—The Sydney Morning Herald


“A sensual pleasure . . .  moving [and] profound”

—The Arkansas Review


“[A] superbly written collection of short stories . . . Porter is a gifted storyteller.”

—The Collegiate Times


“Porter is a master . . . a remarkable first collection.”

—Sud Ouest (France)


“Every story in the debut from Andrew Porter, The Theory of Light and Matter, surprised and seduced me as a reader. He has a crisp, clean, evocative style and a way with clever endings that reminds me of Raymond Carver.”

—Jo Case, Readings Monthly (Australia)


“Beautifully and wisely [written] . . . [These] stories take the reader on journeys to rural Amish country, suburban neighborhoods and a cottage in New England. Each time, the reader is delightfully welcomed into the action and sated with rich description and sharp looks at interpersonal relationships . . . The 2007 Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction . . . could not have been bestowed upon a more deserving work.”

—The Collegian


“A superb collection of stories. All written in the first person, Porter use that unreliable lense to provide an intimate exploration of a half-remembered suburban America . . . Porter’s fic

tion is without exception exquisitely crafted; the voices credible and unadorned.”

—The Age (Australia)


“Andrew Porter writes with the voice of an older storyteller . . . [These] tales seem almost timeless.”

—Smile Politely: Champaign-Urbana’s Online Magazine


“Each of the ten stories in this debut collection is unique and highly accomplished. The writing is seamless, but Porter’s strength is characterization. He enters the head space of characters of different ages, perspectives and lifestyles, and portrays them with gentleness and empathy.”

—The Big Issue (Australia)


“Andrew Porter has begun his dialogue with the world . . . Each story evokes a sense of grace that honors the human experience.”

—Texas Books in Review


“Porter gets at what it is to be human.”

—Mason County News


“This debut collection of stories introduces a new and distinctive voice in American fiction . . . Porter has a unique and quietly heartbreaking range . . . [He] has his own voice, his own style and one that suits these stories perfectly. Even if you usually wouldn’t consider a collection of short stories, you really need to read The Theory of Light and Matter.”

—BookTrust (UK) (Book of the Month)


“Readers who enjoy the classic American short story, served up with a side order of edgy intensity, will reap the rewards. Porter’s stories are sparse but powerful.”

—Ricky Kleffel, The Agony Column


“Beautifully written . . .  I opened it, started to read, and never put it down.”

—The Lakeland Times


“A brilliant collection of ten short stories with the themes of love, relationship, guilt and memory at their heart.”

—Jason Austin, Readings Monthly (Best Fiction of 2010)


“Following the tradition of Carver, Andrew Porter writes with an intensity and uncommon sense of observation. A stunning book, whose every phrase, every situation, touches the reader.”

—Librarie de Paris (France)


“In this collection, every story is a winner, each one remains with you and takes a piece of your heart after you close the book . . . I found myself completely immersed whether I was in Texas, Connecticut, or traveling on a plane. I was inside the stories, inside the characters themselves—of them. I loved this book.”

—Mostly Fiction Book Reviews


“A moving collection of debut short stories, Andrew Porter’s The Theory of Light and Matter is a sparse and astute look at modern suburban America, maintaining the tradition of Raymond Carver by shining a light on the frailties and heartbreak of everyday life.”

—The Big Issue (UK)


“Wonderfully precise, elegant and ultimately heartbreaking stories . . . Porter’s fiction is emotionally acute, resonant and alive . . . His voice is delicate and elegant, and he sees things that other authors would miss. Reading him reminded me about why we read at all: to feel that there are stories out there that can make sense of our lives.”

—author Stuart Evers, Dirty/Realistic (UK)


“Porter’s stories become representative of fine craft: subtly understated and nuanced.”

—The Merciad


“Porter weaves a web of beautiful, quiet stories.”

—The Observant


“The truth and beauty of Porter’s words reverberates . . . so vividly detailed and achingly honest that it’s hard to believe they’re fiction.”

—The Beacon


“Porter is an accomplished storyteller and his ability to pierce right at the heart of ordinary people’s fears and desires leaves the reader wanting more.”

—Emily Laidlaw, Readings (Australia)


“Porter’s spare, unadorned use of language moves each page and story effortlessly, one after the other . . . Without realizing it, you’ve finished the book and immediately as though you’ve read a collection of secrets: complex yet relatable stories fraught with themes of loss, guilt [and] human longing.”

—San Antonio Current


“An impressive collection . . . Porter casts doubt on his narrators, so you’re never sure whether their accounts can be trusted—this adds an imaginative dimension to the tales, as you fill in the gaps and things left unsaid yourself as you read.”

—Ruth Hunter, BookTime Editor, Bertrams (U.K.)


“Comparisons have been made to Cheever and Carver before him, but it is clear that Porter has developed his own very distinctive prose style, poetic yet curiously spare and restrained at the same time, which perfectly suits the dichotomy he creates between the placid veneer of his characters lives and the emotional complexity . . . lurking beneath.”

—The London Review Bookshop (U.K.)


“What is striking is the delicacy, the sensitivity of Porter’s writing . . . It’s soft and serious at once. A quiet meditation on our society.”

—Radio France (France)


“In shining prose [Porter] investigates memory, how we look at mistakes, missed connections and opportunities, and seek to make clear stories out of the things we couldn’t see as they were happening. Each story is more beautiful, complex, and well-crafted than the one preceding it. I can’t wait for his next book.”

—Skylight Books


“Classically written tales . . . a mature and stirring collection.”

—The Sunday Star-Times (New Zealand)


“A jewel . . . Ten unforgettable stories, both common and frightening.”

—La Cause Litteraire (France)


“Controlled craftsmanship of a great talent.”

—VPRO Guide (The Netherlands)


“10 beautiful stories . . . Porter writes in the tradition of the masters, but with the speed and intensity of a new generation.”

—Yunomi (The Netherlands)


“The Theory of Light and Matter goes beyond storytelling. It shares stories, giving readers the impression that they are not merely reading, but also experiencing and learning.”

—The Briar Cliff Review


“Porter follows the Gothic writer Flannery O’Connor’s usage of raw and plainspoken language . . . [and] like Carver, Porter focuses on people’s internal weaknesses and how past memories of disappointment and regret become a burden.”

—The Poly Post


“[Porter’s] voice is pitch-perfect . . . earnest but focused, honest, and deeply profound.”

—Water Street Books


“Porter’s approach to the short story is surgical: brief and incisive.”

—Critic (Australia)


“Theses short stories are expertly crafted, slow-burning heartstring tuggers of American domestic life.”

—Dazed and Confused (UK)


“An impressive debut from a writer to watch.”

—North & South (New Zealand)


“Porter’s quiet, mesmerizing skill ensures that his protagonists are powerfully inhabitable,

the susurrus of history bridling under their skins.”

—Estelle Lang, Kill Your Darlings (Australia)


“These are, in every sense, well-made stories—beautifully paced, full of lovely sentences that you’ll want to read aloud just for the pleasure of it. But Porter’s technique is not a substitute for emotional depth or story . . . Their surface beauty leads us deeper, toward hidden and surprising truths.”

—Fiction Writers Review


“Quite extraordinary writing . . . While easy to read, these are deceptively penetrating descriptions of the human condition.”

—The Newcastle Herald  (Australia)


”Porter takes us into the complexity of his characters’ emotions with consummate skill. A collection where every story is a gem.”

—Mots et Cie (France)


“Andrew Porter shines in his debut The Theory of Light and Matter . . . All ten stories are compelling and distinctive . . . written in a clear and beautiful style.”

—Cultuur Bewust (The Netherlands)


“A worthy successor to Raymond Carver and Richard Ford.  Like his glorious predecessors, Porter has an ability to grasp with infinite grace and talent the ordinary moments of our lives and draw “literary Polaroids full of poetry and sensitivity. The ten stories gathered here are all jewels.”

—Les Buveurs D’Encre (France)


“These stories [have] a very special power and strength.”

—Bruna (The Netherlands)


“Mature and compelling . . . a talented writer.”

—Leeuwarder Courant (The Netherlands)


“Porter knows how to let a story breathe.”

—Het Parool (The Netherlands)


“Delicate [and] serenely depicted stories.”

—Ti Story (Korea)


“Porter’s writing is perfect: simple, straightforward, elegant. A real treat for the mind.”

—Les Livres d’Agathe (France)


“[Porter’s] works ascends to a refreshing illumination of our secret thoughts and desires . . . there is a great deal of nourishment to be found in [this] moving collection.”

—Islet (Australia)


“A great pleasure to read . . . Andrew Porter reveals those vulnerabilities that are found in all of us.”

—La Merle Moqueur (France)


“These stories are told with stunning accuracy.”

—L’Avenir (France)


“Porter’s writing is controlled, direct, gentle and empathetic . . . a very endearing book.”

—Courrier International (France)


“A collection of beauty . . . Andrew Porter is undoubtedly a writer to watch.”

—Les Lectures de Ness (France)


“A singular voice at the forefront of the new American style.”

—Boox Magazine (France)


“The stories in Andrew Porter’s The Theory of Light and Matter demonstrate a complexity and emotional honesty that resonates”

—Vincent Ruvalcaba, Suite 101


“Flawless writing . . . a beautiful collection.”

—Moi, Clara et les Mots (France)


“Reading this collection is an endless cycle of diving headfirst interesting and intricately complex world . . . the character and settings are so vivd.”

—Rookie Magazine


“Porter’s stories compel the reader to examine the importance of reflection. We are given stories in which the lens is slightly obscured, the angel unnatural; stories in which the distance between event and the recounting of that event allows for the slowing of heartbeats, the return of breath, the calm surrender of grappling with an unchangeable past.”

—The Black Warrior Review


“Moving, original, and unforgettable, this is a must-own collection.”

—The Strand


MORE REVIEWS »