Book Cover featuring a painting of a man on a bike, his wheels off the ground

No Use Pretending

Stories by Thomas Dodson

Published by University of Iowa Press

Winner of the Iowa Short Fiction Award 2022


Praise for No Use Pretending

“A story can contain multitudes, and an author too, as Thomas Dodson shows us over and over in this astonishingly varied collection. As at home in a bee yard as a Greek epic, he cannot but dazzle us with the enormity of his range, and yet he does not paint with broad strokes. Quite the contrary, he fills his stories with loving detail and quiet wisdom. No Use Pretending is a joy.”
—Gish Jen, judge, Iowa Short Fiction Award

No Use Pretending is a remarkable debut. I marveled at the range of emotions and voices—from beekeepers to drone pilots, an ancient Greek sailor to a hungry ghost—that Thomas Dodson is able to conjure in this terrific, capacious collection of short stories.”
—Jess Walter, author, The Angel of Rome and Other Stories

“Thomas Dodson is a writer wonderfully aware of the resources of fiction and the necessities of the world. His vividly imagined characters seldom act in their own best interests. They keep bees, fly drones, lose loved ones, and in general suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. But Dodson never loses sight of their complicated humanity—he is too canny a writer for that—and of their desire for something larger. In the midst of darkness there are moments of light, grace, and accidental wisdom. No Use Pretending is an arresting and exhilarating debut.”
—Margot Livesey, author, The Flight of Gemma Hardy

“Thomas Dodson’s inventive and beautifully crafted stories take us deep into the heart of the human dilemma: We dream—of an ideal world, an ideal way of living—we fall short, and then what? Dynamic, deeply visual, and with an extraordinary array of characters and settings, No Use Pretending immerses the reader in a captivating vision of hope, regret, and resilience. It leaves me meditating on some of its central questions: What principles should we use to organize society? What is the right way to live?”
—Tom Drury, author, Pacific

“Wonderfully unfussy—elegant, smart, compact. Many, many writers have been defeated by the challenge of writing an addiction story that feels fresh and vivid, but Dodson, through subtle psychology and clever use of ghost-story tropes, here accomplishes it beautifully.”
—Michael Griffith, Fiction Editor, Cincinnati Review