All the Tiny Beauties
A novel by
Set in Oakland, California, All the Tiny Beauties begins with a kitchen fire that sends the reclusive Webster Jackson to the home of his new neighbor, Colleen, who discovers him on her doorstep wearing a lacy peignoir, his house in flames. Unwilling to take responsibility for the lonely eccentric, Colleen reaches out to Webb’s estranged daughter, Debra, and also helps him find a live-in companion, a young adult reeling from the loss of her childhood friend.
As Webb’s past comes to light, we learn of the women whose lives shaped his own: his refined and coddling mother; his ex-wife Beverly, a frustrated former beauty queen who refashions herself, becoming a force of will and master manipulator; and Hila Firestone, a home economics teacher who opens Webb’s world, accepting and even encouraging his predilection for women’s clothing.
Moving among perspectives and generations, we see the longings and vulnerabilities that drive and
impede these characters as their stories intertwine—Webb’s first love clashing with his last, Colleen
embarking on a secret affair with Debra, the older Webb and his young housemate, Hannah, forming a
bond over tragedy, guilt, and his passion for baking. Confronting the many ways they’ve failed others as
well as themselves, Webb, Colleen, Hannah, and Debra slowly find ways forward, ways out. While
exploring the fragile nature of our connections to one another, All the Tiny Beauties asks larger
questions about the constraints society imposes that warp and wound, leading us to deny those things
that make us wholly ourselves.