Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Patrick Somerville  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction

Born: 1979 in Wisconsin

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Illinois Connection

Somerville lives in Chicago and teaches in the master's in fine arts programs of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

Somerville grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin. He went to college at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and later earned his MFA from Cornell University. He has taught creative writing and English at Cornell, Northwestern University, Auburn State Correctional Facility, and The Graham School in Chicago. His writing has appeared in One Story, Epoch, GQ, Esquire, and Best American Nonrequired Reading.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

This Bright River: A Novel
ISBN: 0316129313

Reagan Arthur Books. 2012

Lauren Sheehan's career in medicine came to a halt after a sequence of violent events abroad. Now she's back in the safest place she knows--St. Helens, Wisconsin--cut off from career, friendship, and romance.

Ben Hanson's aimless life bottomed out when he went to prison. But after his release, a surprising offer from his father draws him home. In Wisconsin, he finds his family fractured, still unable to face the truth behind his troubled cousin's death a decade earlier.

As Lauren cautiously expands her world and Ben tries to unravel the mysteries of his family and himself, their paths intersect. Could each be exactly what the other needs?

A compelling family drama and a surprising love story, This Bright River confirms Patrick Somerville's status as one of the most exciting young writers at work today.

The Universe in Miniature in Miniature
ISBN: 0982580819

Featherproof Books. 2010


In this genre-busting book from award-winning novelist Patrick Somerville characters, stories, and stray thoughts revolve around the “The Machine of Understanding Other People,” the story of a Chicago man who is bequeathed a supernatural helmet that allows him to experience the inner worlds of those around him. Through his lonely lens we peer into the mind of an art student grappling with ennui, ethics and empathy as she comes to terms with her own beliefs in a godless world. We telescope out to the story of idiot extraterrestrials struggling to pilot a complicated spaceship. We follow a retired mercenary as he tries to save his marriage and questions his life abroad. Mind-bending and cracklingly new, Somerville’s broadly appealing and uniquely imaginative constructions probe the outer reaches of sympathy, death, and love in a world seen from the inside out.

The Cradle: A Novel
ISBN: 0316036129

Little, Brown and Company. 2009

Early one summer morning, Matthew Bishop kisses his still-sleeping wife Marissa, gets dressed and eases his truck through Milwaukee, bound for the highway. His wife, pregnant with their first child, has asked him to find the antique cradle taken years before by her mother Caroline when she abandoned Marissa, never to contact her daughter again. Soon to be a mother herself, Marissa now dreams of nothing else but bringing her baby home to the cradle she herself slept in. His wife does not know-does not want to know-where her mother lives, but Matt has an address for Caroline's sister near by and with any luck, he will be home in time for dinner.

Only as Matt tries to track down his wife's mother, he discovers that Caroline, upon leaving Marissa, has led a life increasingly plagued by impulse and irrationality, a mysterious life that grows more inexplicable with each new lead Matt gains, and door he enters. As hours turn into days and Caroline's trail takes Matt from Wisconsin to Minnesota, Illinois, and beyond in search of the cradle, Matt makes a discovery that will forever change Marissa's life, and faces a decision that will challenge everything he has ever known.

Elegant and astonishing, Patrick Somerville tells the story of one man's journey into the heart of marriage, parenthood, and what it means to be a family. Confirming the arrival of an exuberantly talented new writer, THE CRADLE is an uniquely imaginative debut novel that radiates with wisdom and wonder.

Trouble: Stories
ISBN: 0307275353

Vintage. 2006

A VINTAGE ORIGINAL

In this hilarious and wildly inventive debut, including a title story that was nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Patrick Somerville charts the dangerous territories of adolescence and adulthood for the American male.

In “Puberty,” Brandon takes the matter of his reticent hormones into his own hands. In “English Cousin,” Terry’s enigmatic relative arrives, looking to learn about love, stateside. And in “The Future, the Future, the Future,” Dan’s carefully planned life falters when he sees his wife kissing her boss. Trouble explodes with wicked humor, exuberant braininess, and unforgettable style.


Awards

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Received the 2009 21st Century Award from the Chicago Public Library

Trouble was named 2006's Best Book by a Chicago Author by Time Out Chicago