About the Book
M. Randal O’Wain’s debut short story collection, Hallelujah Station and Other Stories, introduces readers to a wide and diverse cast of characters struggling with and responding to changes and loss. These gritty and poignant stories follow the tragic parts of life, the pieces that may neither start nor end in comfortable resolution and the pieces that make up complex realities. In the first story, a former drug dealer reflects on a life-changing decision he made years ago that ended up hurting the person he most wanted to protect. Later in the collection, we meet a would-be robber who turns out, in strange ways, to be the hero. O’Wain’s characters are often deeply flawed or totally lost, but in each instance, these traits serve to reveal the characters as real, compassionate, and, ultimately, human. Sprinkled with humor and heartache, O’Wain’s stories bring us into contact with the curious, the tragic, and the authentic.
Praise for Hallelujah Station
The fine line between sinners and saints is an evergreen theme of Southern fiction, but O’Wain strikes me as a writer on the move, increasingly assured of his talent and slant mode of storytelling, firing off gorgeous sentence after gorgeous sentence. The South is quickening with fresh literary blood, shifting toward an emerging generation. M. Randal O’Wain leads the charge, invigorating our tradition and carrying it forward.
From start to finish, the characters of Hallelujah Station and Other Stories grapple with overwhelming circumstances, refusing to let go. […]some emerge from their struggles victorious, some wandering, and, all of them, changed.
—Southern Review of Books
Hallelujah Station introduces us to a world populated by indelible misfits, rendered through M. Randal O’Wain’s piercing talent. Every story in this collection is frenetic, big-hearted, and ferocious.
— Juliet Escoria, author of Juliet the Maniac
What I admire about the stories in this collection is the way O’Wain writes about love—all kinds of love, between all kinds of people. He knows so much about the wear and tear the heart endures. These tales are riveting, and some of them are dark and sad, but in the end, there’s always a light to follow. O’Wain is an honest writer. He tells the truth.
—Daniel Wallace, author of Big Fish