(c) Bob Thurber

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Release Date is May 31st

Next Tuesday, May 31st, I'll celebrate my 61st birthday, along with the release of a new edition of Paperboy: A Dysfunctional Novel (2016) published by Shanti Arts (Orignially published by Casperian Books in 2011)

Here's the press release:


Saturday, December 5, 2015

New Edition of Paperboy

The novel has a new publisher.

I'm thrilled to announce that NEW Print and Digital versions of "Paperboy: A Dysfunctional Novel" will be available in 2016.

I'll post the press release when I receive it, and the scheduled release date as soon I'm informed.

Meanwhile, I work the route. I don't quit, I don't complain. Each day I learn more than I earn. Things are going to get better. — Jack Fisher

Friday, May 8, 2015

Pulp Literature's Humming Bird Flash Fiction Contest

I'll be the final judge of this years Humming Bird Flash Fiction Prize, and while the contest is open to submissions the price of Paperboy has been cut in half.

Read more about it here.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

My Cheap and Gaudy Heart: A Reflection On Writing

(This  essay originally appeared in Stone Voices.)

“There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside of you.” — Maya Angelou

It’s too easy to blame one’s childhood. We’re hardwired early on, certain brain faculties and genetic traits locked before we’re born. We arrive tremendously fragile, too feeble to put up a fight. It’s unfortunate when we end up in the wrong hands.

I was dropped, cracked, bruised and broken, permanently damaged before I could walk, years before my mind could make adequate maps or record true memories. Then physically and emotionally tortured from that point forward. Poverty. Improper nutrition. Regular beatings. Psychological abuse. This is not a list of grievances, merely an inventory of causes and effects.

I won’t blame my mother. I won’t pose as the poor, innocent victim, yet another casualty of childhood abuse and egregious parental neglect. She was no less a victim, cornered by social mores, damaged by destitution, confounded by ignorance, manipulated by men who found her beautiful. Brutal men and cruel women took full advantage of her limited intelligence, her naiveté, until she, still a teenager, was left with few options, and within those narrow constraints she made numerous bad choices. One severe miscalculation after another. I do not forgive her actions, but I won’t demonize her for them. In fact, I feel sympathy for her suffering, sorrow for the painful, ugly life she was forced to live while growing up. And I can’t imagine what it was like to be poor and uneducated and unmarried, fully responsible for two illegitimate children by the age of sixteen in the 1950s. A tremendous and shameful burden, no doubt. A hardship not many could have coped with. So I judge her neither innocent nor guilty. If I were to point the finger at anyone or anything, I might blame the world, then and now.

Oddly, rather mysteriously, some of us are more malleable then others. Implanted with some essential and ancient aptitude that we can take no credit for. I was fortunate, almost clever, not quite bright, but able to adjust. Like Siddhartha, I was able to fast, and think, and wait. I survived by my wits, gritting my teeth, taking my beatings, clutching my belly against hunger, determined to outlast one suffering event after another, constantly observing, studying every sting, every soreness. I learned as I burned. And I grew, and I adjusted (or maladjusted) but I endured. In retrospect, the cost was enormous, quite outrageous. I am speaking now not merely in social or human terms, but in high-minded mystical, sacred terms. I’m blathering and stuttering in the forgotten language hidden in myths and fairy tales. Make no mistake: I am undeniably the Tin Man, hollow within, never given an actual heart, just a cheap and gaudy watch to wind so I can pretend to hear a pulse.

Beyond that, I am merely an adult version of a fatherless, godless, spindly limbed bastard, the kind of creature the Greeks used to discard, wrapped in rags, bundled with its own afterbirth. Food for the wolves.

That’s the stink you smell, the odor that attacks your nostrils, what triggers your instinct to turn away. You should obey it. Go. Stop reading.

It doesn’t matter either way.

I have always felt privileged to be alive, but always disconnected. Cut off. Even when I’ve made a genuine, serious, sustained effort to engage I end up feeling thoroughly disengaged, foolish, and rather embarrassed for having gone against my nature. I spend an enormous amount of time alone. I record my thoughts, my fears, my inadequacies, my defectiveness, my deepest pain. I reexamine trauma, suffering, misunderstanding, idiocy, cruelty, both mine and others. I go to dark places, daring the shadows to reach out and devour me. When they try, I flee. I escape time and again with pocketfuls of hurt, not solely mine, but the shattered remnants of collective pain. On my best days I bring back no more than a fragment of timeless suffering. Then I try to turn that fragment into something solid, something valid, confident that the result may one day have some intrinsic value for others, or at least one person somewhere. That is the true source and the total extent of my optimism and my self-delusion, that I actually suffer for a cause.

Long ago I made it my job. I assigned myself this task. No one appointed me. I alone made it my duty to write, to keep writing.

But I know I’m merely wasting time. Every day readers are more and more an endangered species. Few care about what I do. Writing is a futile pursuit. Though I’ve understood that from the beginning, I have nevertheless, like a fool, made it my life’s work, positioning it at the very top, making it the number one priority, everyone and everything else be damned. The endeavor has required ruthless determination, not to publish or impress, or win prizes, but simply to write. And to write honestly, with this paramount, peculiar purpose: to warn, to spark a brief flame in the darkness. See my hand-print on the wall. See that I was already here. There are still moments when I believe it is a righteous act, and a noble purpose. This self-appointed martyrdom. This madness. Yet, I know the work, my work, is a failure, and the hours I put into making it rank no higher than the pointless things prisoners do to pass the time while they wait in their cells, serving out their sentences, awaiting their executions. Any day I expect another prisoner, one more fucked up than me, to shove an ice pick into my chest. The assault won’t kill me, not all of me (the making of art has made parts of me unkillable) but I’ll need to assess the damage, dig inside and examine the cheap, gaudy watch that an old charlatan pretending to be a wizard hung from my neck. Once again I’ll have to bring out all my tools, lay them out, then inspect my counterfeit heart for damage, then try to tinker with the mechanism to restore its mock pulse. And frankly, what worries me, what disturbs is that these days the steadiness of my hands like the reliability of my eyes are not what they used to be, not at all what they should be.


Monday, February 24, 2014

"Paperboy: A Dysfunctional Novel" is scheduled to go out of print at the end of April.

The publisher recently informed me that they won't be exercising their option to continue publication.

A final note:

Child maltreatment (physical, psychologically and emotional abuse, and neglect) is a pervasive problem that leads to long-term physical and emotional consequences. It remains an issue that few wish to focus on. I wrote a novel about it. An honest book. A disturbing book. And over the last three years I received dozens of emails from readers thanking me for doing so. I consider that a success. 

* Update: I've contracted with a different publisher. A new print edition along with new digital versions  of the novel will be available in 2016. I'll post the scheduled release date as soon as I'm informed. - bt

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

There's an interview/conversation about my work at The Indiscriminate Critic
Here's the link:  Thurber Interview

In coordination with that, now through Wednesday, July 10th, the Kindle version of "Nickel Fictions: Volume One" can be downloaded for free.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Two Year Anniversary

May 1st marks the Two Year anniversary of the novel's release.
I want to again thank Casperian Press for having the guts to publish this book.
My agent, Jack Scovil, who passed away last year, had tremendous faith in the manuscript. I'm sure he'd be pleased with the book's reception. I wish I could share with him the many personal notes I've received from social workers and therapists who work with lost children, and from those people who were for a time lost themselves.  I'm grateful to everyone who has experienced this dysfunctional novel. Thank you all.

- Bob


The story in Paperboy takes place in 1969, the year man first walked on the moon. All these years later, the subject of consensual sex between siblings (sometimes referred to as “harmful behavior” rather than abuse) is rarely mentioned, seldom discussed even among survivors themselves, and remains one of the last taboos to be addressed by society.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Discussion of 21st Century Literature

Paperboy was the February 2013 selection at
Goodread's forum for 21st Century Literature
"For people interested in keeping up with the modern literary classics."

Here's a direct link to the discussion: 
February 2013 Paperboy Discussion

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Indiscrimiate Review

The Indiscriminate Critic's review of Paperboy


Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Mourning Goats: #15 : "20 Questions With Bob Thurber ..."

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sunday, July 3, 2011

My advice: Ignore the Excerpts, Read the book

A couple of quick thoughts.

1) The Excerpts

My first agent believed the book, because of its subject matter, would be a hard sell and virtually impossible to market. And I think he was right on both counts. I know the excepts I've released are all "soft" and don't hint at the emotional experience of the whole. Frankly, I don't know what to do about that. (I refuse to release any sections with "spoilers," and I wouldn't dare release the harsher sections as excerpts, which would also give perspective readers the wrong sense.) Lately I feel like I'm showing a few fragments of a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle in the hope that people will be enticed by the picture they can't yet see.

2) Reader comments:

Meanwhile, a steady stream of notes continue to pour in.
Here are a couple more:

"I just finished reading your book.  Devastating!  Of course, I recognized Jack in the wounded part of myself, which is what made the story so painful, but also so necessary.  Finding the right words to capture the truth of a terrible childhood is the greatest challenge a writer faces, and many back down or flinch before they get to the end.  Not you.  Bravo!
I admire you for staying with your subject for an entire book."

* * *

"Poor Jack. I wept my eyes out."

* * *

all best wishes,


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sold out of signed copies

Many thanks to everyone who purchased a signed copy. I have no more available. - bt


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

More Links, more Excerpts, more personal notes

There's an excerpt in the June issue of The Collagist

An excerpt at Word Riot

Liquid Imagination has an Excerpt / and part 2 of our Conversation / Interview

* * *
Notes from readers continue. Some are touching, heartwarming, some disturbingly candid. Most I can't share. But here is one I have permission to post.

From a therapist who worked for a good number of years with "lost children" and "emotionally disturbed" adolescents:

I finished Paperboy....I know that it is a compliment to say that it was so good that I couldn't put it down...I have to say it was so real I had to put it down, but could never leave it. So many faces of kids from over the years flashed before me. It was as like a 3d version of their histories in the med records. What we read about them brought to visual. Painfully well done!

Good wishes to all,


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Kindle Version of PAPERBOY now available

You can read the Kindle edition of "Paperboy: A Dysfunctional Novel" on your Kindle, iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, PC or Mac.

Here's the link:

Kindle Edition:
Paperboy: A Dysfunctional Novel

Monday, May 16, 2011

Excerpt = Chapter 27

Chapter 27 in its entirety ( about 700 words ) is in this month's issue of Word Riot.

Here's a link to Word Riot and here's a direct link to the excerpt.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Dancing into May!

Today is May Day, as well as the release date of Paperboy: A Dysfunctional Novel.

In rural regions of Germany, "May Day" or Walpurgisnacht celebrations are traditionally held the night before. The festivities include bonfires and the wrapping of maypoles; young people party all night, while the day itself is used by many to simply get some fresh air.

The German motto is : "Tanz in den Mai!"

Translation: "Dance into May!"

Honestly, for reasons that I won't go into here, I don't feel much like dancing today, though I think I could definitely use some fresh air. I'm thrilled to have my novel published. It's an event worth celebrating, but the last few months have been so ungodly rough that right now I feel caught somewhere between Boohoo and Whoop-dee-do!

But I'd be remiss, and an irresponsible author, if I didn't take the time to post on the release of my debut novel.

• There's an interview online at: Mourning Goats
• An excerpt at: EL's blog The Outlet
• A local press feature article at The Pawtucket Times
• Another article at The Sun Chronicle.
• And, though unrelated to the book, a new story at Cafe Irreal
A few other things forthcoming.

Please spread the word. And by all means buy the book. Odds are you've never read a novel quite like it. That's a criticism as well as an endorsement. And when you've finished reading it, let's talk.

Thank you all, sincerely, and have a great day.



Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Choroidal Neovascularization strikes again

  Sudden and rather severe deterioration in my vision has advanced into my last good remaining eye. As some of you know, the central vision in my left eye has been gone for years, and so I've been dependent on my right eye, which now, I'm sad and distressed to report, is rapidly failing. This is not good. This is not good at all. At present, I can still read, though barely, and at a snail's pace. But it's a strain, requiring off-set focus, repeated adjustments, increased magnification. And it is tiring as all hell. Though I'm receiving treatment from a fine doctor at the eye institute, there are few options, and the prognosis is not good....

all best wishes,