Jenn Scott’s debut collection, Her Adult Life, was long-listed for the PEN America/Bingham Award in 2018. Her work has appeared in journals including Fiction, Gettysburg Review, Cincinnati Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Santa Monica Review, and Gulf Coast. A native of Pennsylvania, she now lives and writes in Oakland, California.
All the Tiny Beauties: A Novel
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.
300 pages | 6 x 9
ISBN: 9781946724533 (pbk)
PRAISE FOR ALL THE TINY BEAUTIES
“The best books are the ones that fill holes—in our lives, in our hearts, in our bookshelves—we didn’t even know we had until the books showed up to fill them. Jenn Scott’s All the Tiny Beauties is one of those books. It is a time-traveling, mind-bending wonder, a novel about Oakland now and then, about the fluidity of gender, of family, of place. It reminds me of Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad in its wicked sense of humor; its intelligence; its patience; its careful, fond study of how love can drift into hate and then, if we’re lucky, back into love again. A wonderful first novel by one of our most talented up-and-coming writers.” —Brock Clarke, author of Who Are You, Calvin Bledsoe?
“Scott’s fires not only singe and scar but, significantly, they burn on in memory. In doing so, they dramatize how cruelty—one of Scott’s major themes—also persists in memory.” —Mary Lannon, Necessary Fiction
“I think the book from its earliest days was invested in this balancing act of regret and acceptance of one’s choices, this trying to honor the fact that as we grow older, we accumulate memories both special and damning, and that both inextricably compose our lives.” —Conversation between Jenn Scott & Catherine Gammon, Littsburgh