Closer All the Time
The inhabitants of Baxter, Maine, are going nowhere fast—but not for lack of trying. In this deftly written jewel of a novel, veteran author Jim Nichols strings together the bittersweet stories of several different characters bound together by shared geography and the insular nature of small-town life. There's Johnny Lunden, a well-meaning war veteran with a penchant for the local bar and a deep but doomed love for his family. There's eight-year-old Ted Soule, who shares a first kiss with the Ophelia-like Nadia, the daughter of his Russian neighbors, and Tomi Lambert who observes the confusion of the adults around her as they struggle with accepting their fates. With the coastal waters of Maine as a backdrop, Nichols artfully explores the nature of connection—hoped for, missed, lost, and found—in Closer All the Time, that very special novel that delivers quick-moving, compelling storytelling with a lasting emotional wallop. You'll devour it in one sitting, but its characters will linger at the edges of your day like memories of old friends and lovers. Author Monica Wood has given it advance praise, saying: "His men and boys become so real, I feel as if I know what it might have been like to grow up surrounded by brothers. Nichols is one of my favorite writers."
Jim Nichols became interested in writing fiction while working as a ticket agent for a commuter airline in Rockland. Born in Brunswick and raised in Freeport, Maine, Nichols has worked as a bartender, pilot, skycap, taxi driver, fence builder, orange picker, ramp and ticket agent for a commuter airline, travel agent, and dispatcher for an air taxi service. His work has appeared in Esquire, Narrative, Zoetrope ASE, December, Paris Transcontinental (FR), From The Ashes (BR), Elimae, Germ, The Clackamas Review, American Fiction, Downeast, River City, Conversely, and Night Train. He has been nominated several times for Pushcart prizes, and his novel, Hull Creek, was the runner-up for the 2012 Maine Book Award for Fiction. In addition to his prolific short story work, he is the author of two previously published works of fiction: Slow Monkeys and Hull Creek.