Close-Up–coming soon: March 2022

Available for pre-order now!

“In her captivating new novel, Close-Up,  Michelle Herman unfolds a complex family history in which abandonment has caused painful estrangements and unexpected alliances.  With subtle wit and unshakeable confidence,  Herman demonstrates the alternating forms a family can take: a refuge, a prison,  a solace, a vexation, one at a time or all at once, and right before your eyes.  Close-Up  is a magic act of a novel….”   -Valerie Martin, author of Property and I Give It To You

“You can’t believe how difficult it is to make the inked-upped artifice of the written word disappear before your eyes as you read.  And yet Michelle Herman does this effortlessly in her vexed-less Windex-esque novel, Close-Up. You enter into this intricate, eye-poppingly lucid dream of a book, REMing along the pages that are rigged for running the clearest of clear window written styles. Herman is a master of artful artlessness, and that is no mean feat. She constructs this substantially potent, packed with the power of this ever-present very present narrative with an invisible scaffolding of a nonchalant native conjurer.  How did she do it?  It doesn’t matter. It is so deftly done.”   -Michael Martone, author of The Moon Over Wapakoneta and The Complete Writings of Art Smith, The Bird Boy of Fort Wayne, Edited by Michael Martone

“Michelle Herman’s novel is one of those books that I read in the full belief that its characters are real. No way could Caroline and Jacob not exist; their buoyant conversation, their predicaments, their struggles to grow up whole (and sane) in the company of their infuriating parents were too alive on the page to be merely-merely?!-constructed by this canny and sophisticated, tough and tender author. Her novel, both wise and smart, is wholly deserving of its place as the first winner of the Donald L. Jordan Literary Prize for Excellence.”   -Rosellen Brown, author of Tender Mercies and Before and After



The protagonist of Herman’s 2005 novel Dog, J.T. Rosen, returns in a new novel that casts her as the mentor of a young poet and sends her hurtling back into a difficult relationship of her youth in this story of loneliness, misdirection, misunderstanding, longing, and redemption that traces five characters as they come together and apart in a series of interlocking portraits.

Jacob Lieb is a young magician with a specialty in close-up magic who reconnects—begrudgingly—with his estranged father at the urging of the young poet with whom he falls in love. The poet, Caroline Forester, and her mother, Jeanie, struggle with their own relationship as Caroline grows close to Jacob’s father, Martin Lieberman—and an improbable friendship develops between Lieberman and Jeanie Forester, even as Rosen and Lieberman, Jill Rosen’s old flame, circle each other warily.

Herman’s abiding interest, in all of her work, has been in what makes and drives—and complicates, and undermines—relationships: marriages, parents and children and grandchildren, siblings, cousins, romances, friendships. The missed connections and misunderstandings between people who yearn for connectedness and understanding are at the center of Close-Up—as is poetry . . . and magic.

Close-Up is available for pre-order now.