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“Camera Lake is such a powerful read. Pickett writes relevant, risk-tinged fiction that’s deft with humor and heart. These stories are fresh in form and content—and they will grip you with their fully imagined characters, these flawed Americans who have made the beds they lie in with open eyes.”
—Alyson Hagy, author of Scribe


Fleeing her family, a woman finds unexpected solace in an empty hotel. A therapist struggling to make sense of a shattering professional failure becomes convinced someone is watching his every move. A coach’s disciplinary tactic doesn’t so much backfire as it implodes his players’ lives.

Inhabiting a (mostly) midwestern landscape, Alex Pickett’s characters specialize in breaking rules. Believing themselves to be good people, they try to bend their situations to fit their needs or fulfill their desires. The results are rarely completely disastrous or successful, but are tinged with a humor that rides comfortably alongside embarrassment, regret, and longing.

Pickett’s tensely modulated world hums with the vitality of its characters, balancing restraint and impulse. With wry wisdom and rich prose, he leads us to imagine what an individual should do versus what they want to do—and in the process reminds us that it is achingly hard to live up to expectations.

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