Sinking Bell


Author Bojan Louis

Potent stories that offer a forceful vision of contemporary Navajo life, by an American Book Award winner

An ex-con hired to fix up a school bus for a couple living off the grid in the desert finds himself in the middle of their tattered relationship. An electrician’s plan to take his young nephew on a hike in the mountains, as a break from the motel room where they live, goes awry thanks to an untrustworthy new coworker. A night custodian makes the mistake of revealing too much about his work at a medical research facility to a girl who shares his passion for death metal. A relapsing addict struggles to square his desire for a white woman he meets in a writing class with family expectations and traditions.

Set in and around Flagstaff, the stories in "Sinking Bell" depict violent collisions of love, cultures, and racism. In his gritty and searching fiction debut, Bojan Louis draws empathetic portraits of day laborers, metalheads, motel managers, aspiring writers and musicians, construction workers, people passing through with the hope of something better somewhere else. His characters strain to temper predatory or self-destructive impulses; they raise families, choose families, and abandon families; they endeavor to end cycles of abuse and remake themselves anew.


Bojan Louis is a graduate of Arizona State University, having earned a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing in 2009.

Praise for this book

Louis’s prose carries his poetic sensibility with a decided rhythm and resonant detail, and the narrators achingly convey their outsider status. The result is immersive and powerful.

Publishers Weekly

In the pages of 'Sinking Bell' you’ll find stories about departures taken or anticipated, stories about unease and unknowability, stories about the labor and substance of life, stories about stories themselves, all told vividly and viscerally, with a loamy, textured lyricism. Bojan Louis’s debut in fiction never flinches or relents, so it makes for an indelible reading experience.

Jamel Brinkley
Sinking bell book cover
Date published
Graywolf Press

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