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Demons in the Spring


New paperback edition; twenty artists illustrate twenty stories from the best-selling author of Hairstyles of the Damned.

$17.95 $13.46

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Available as an audio book: Audible

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What people are saying…

Finalist for the 2009 Story Prize
Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2008
Time Out Chicago Best Books of 2008

“An inspired collection of twenty stories, brilliant in its command of tone and narrative perspective . . . Creativity and empathy mark the collection . . . Illustrations enhance the already vivid storytelling.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Spanning worlds, generations, cultures and environments, each of Meno’s short stories in this stellar collection explores depression, loneliness and insanity in the world, while never quite offering a clear solution or glimmer of hope. Misery loves company, and Meno’s assortment of off-center, morose characters fit seamlessly together . . . Catering to all the odd men out in the world, this short story collection succeeds word to word, sentence to sentence, and cover to cover.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“The author of Hairstyles of the Damned and The Boy Detective Fails is back with a handsome new collection, pairing twenty short stories with original artwork from illustrators like Charles Burns and Nick Butcher. Meno is at his best when he mixes raw emotional realism with tender insight.”
New York Times Book Review

“Meno knows just how to press a variety of emotional buttons ranging from giddy delight to not-quite-hopeless despair. Highly recommended.”
Library Journal

“Mr. Meno’s fiction pops with the energy of youth, its purity and heart . . . Mr. Meno has a finely tuned grasp of the fumblings—romantic, existential and otherwise, that make up the first twenty-five years of our lives.”
New York Observer

“These playful, postmodern stories find the Chicago author’s artistry reinforced by illustrators who provide divergent perspectives on his prose . . . The range of illustrations adds to the volume’s appeal, but Meno’s writing is strong enough to stand on its own . . . There’s a profound empathy in Meno’s work that makes it more than just a stylistic exercise.”
Time Out New York

“Meno shows his mastery of the short form with his twenty latest tales of whimsy and loss. Meno’s best stories fuse together postmodern ideas with subjects that have concerned literature through the ages, such as love, heartbreak, death, and malaise . . . Intriguing and eccentric, Meno’s stories never distract with their surreal flights of fancy but instead draw the reader in deeper to their magical reconfiguration of the modern world. Twenty different graphic artists provide idiosyncratic illustrations that perfectly complement this daring collection.”

Demons is a beautifully crafted collection and benefits greatly from the illustrations of twenty diverse and well-matched artists from around the world. Consider also that a portion of the book’s proceeds are being donated to 826CHICAGO, a nonprofit tutoring center in the Windy City, and you’ve got a great book that’s giving to a good cause.”
Philadelphia City Paper

“Nothing like getting inventive. Local author Joe Meno continues to push the limits of traditional lit with each of his releases . . . Meno’s tales are funny, heartbreaking and insightful, most of the time all at once—he’s getting better with age.”
NewCity Chicago

“In Joe Meno’s newest collection, even the table of contents reads like a story, each title an evocative verbal starburst [and] the stories don’t disappoint. They pop and bristle with the tender, with the weird and with great appreciation for the limitless resources of storytelling.”
Time Out Chicago

“The twenty clever and sometimes surreal stories in Joe Meno’s new collection, Demons in the Spring, reveal the workings of a curious and inventive mind. The pieces are diverse in style and setting, but for the most part their characters are all trying to navigate a world that’s at best indifferent and more often bewildering or downright cruel.”
Chicago Reader

“These tales have the feel of whole novels distilled into tone poems and lyric fragments of natural dialogue, lucid dream states, and pure, all-too-human existential ludicrousness.”
Elle Magazine

“The first enticing element about Demons in the Spring is the sheer beauty of the book itself . . . The volume itself has the irresistible charm of a bygone charm. The stories are thoroughly modern—at once quirky and accessible.”
Chicago Sun-Times

“Prolific South Sider Meno is the closest thing we’ve got to a literary ambassador . . . No one has captured the odd blend of grit and fantasy, community and danger, that comes with an urban upbringing quite like Meno.

“Eclectic, funny, constantly surprising—these are the things a short story collection should be allowed to be, and Joe Meno’s Demons in the Spring absolutely is. Add to his rock solid prose and big heart a wonderful idea—how each story is illustrated by a modern master—then you have a rich, unforgettable stew of a book.”
—Dave Eggers


Read “Get Well, Seymour!” from Demons in the Spring, featured on Akashic’s website as part of Short Story Month 2013.

The limited edition hardcover of Demons in the Spring was a finalist for the 2009 Story Prize, a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2008, a Time Out Chicago Best Book of 2008, and drew starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Kirkus. It is a collection of twenty short stories, with illustrations by twenty artists from the fine art, graphic art, and comic book worlds—including Todd Baxter, Kelsey Brookes, Ivan Brunetti, Charles Burns, Nick Butcher, Steph Davidson, Evan Hecox, Paul Hornschemeier, Cody Hudson, Caroline Hwang, kozyndan, The Little Friends of Printmaking, Geoff McFetridge, Lauren Nassef, Anders Nilsen, Archer Prewitt, Jon Resh, Jay Ryan, Souther Salazar, Rachell Sumpter, and Chris Uphues.

Within Demons in the Spring, oddly modern moments which occur in the most familiar of public places, from offices to airports to schools to zoos to emergency rooms: a young girl who refuses to go anywhere unless she’s dressed as a ghost; a bank robbery in Stockholm gone terribly wrong; a teacher who’s become enamored with the students in his school’s Model United Nations club; a couple affected by a strange malady—a miniature city which has begun to develop in the young woman’s chest, these inventive stories are hilarious, heartbreaking, and unusual. While many of them have never been previously published, others have been featured in the likes of LIT, Other Voices, Swink, TriQuarterly, and McSweeney’s.

Some of the author’s and contributors’ proceeds from the book will go directly to benefit 826 Chicago, a non-profit tutoring center, part of the national organization of tutoring centers with branches in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, and Seattle.

Watch Mark Katz’s live-action short film of Joe Meno’s “People Are Becoming Clouds” at the New Yorker‘s Screening Room.


Book Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Published: 8/1/10
  • IBSN: 9781936070091
  • e-IBSN: 9781936070879
  • Hardcover: 300 pages
  • IBSN: 9781933354477


JOE MENO is a fiction writer and journalist who lives in Chicago. Winner of the Nelson Algren Literary Award, a Pushcart Prize, and a finalist for the Story Prize, Meno is the best-selling author of several novels and short story collections including Marvel and a Wonder, The Great Perhaps, The Boy Detective Fails, and Hairstyles of the Damned. He is a professor in the English and Creative Writing Department at Columbia College Chicago. Book of Extraordinary Tragedies is his latest work.

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