Children who anesthetize - and dress up - small wild animals in an ill-fated attempt to cheer their grieving mother; childhood friends who ritually return every year to the site of their near-kidnapping; an awkward teen trying to find his place among the cultural ruins of Greek Mythology Camp; brothers brought together, if not by mutual understanding, by a strange need to steal airport baggage: these are some of the characters who inhabit - and invariably tell - the stories in Joe Meno's ""Bluebirds Used to Croon in the Choir"". Oddballs and charmers and would-be lovers, they are souls not so much lost as wandering, looking for something better, almost getting laid, trying to explain or, if all else fails, to entertain - and this they unfailingly do. Rarely has fiction so understated produced such hilarity and heartbreak. Novelist, music journalist, and playwright Meno writes squarely in the American tradition of wringing large effects from small change, revealing the subtlety in the broad stroke, and conveying complexity with seeming simplicity. Celebrated for its ""unflinching honesty"" (Entertainment Weekly) and for its ""poetic and visceral style"" (Booklist), his work resonates with the unmistakable magic and curious mystery of modern life.
Joe Meno is the author of the novels Hairstyles of the Damned (Akashic/Punk Planet, 2004), which was a Barnes & Noble ""Discover Great New Writers"" selection for 2004, How the Hula Girl Sings (HarperCollins, 2001), and Tender as Hellfire (St. Martin's, 1999) and of an online serial, The Secret Hand. Winner of the 2003 Nelson Algren Award for Fiction, Meno lives in Chicago, teaches at Columbia College, and is a columnist for Punk Planet.