Frottage & Even As We Speak—Cover.jpg
Frottage & Even As We Speak—Cover.jpg



~65,000 WORDS
What Books Press

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This remarkable debut work brings together two powerful novellas that take a hard look at twenty-first century Southern California life and come up on the wry side of compassion. In a twist on the epistolary form, FROTTAGE collects letters from a patient to her analyst that plainly, sometimes shockingly, hide in writing what should be said out loud, piecing together a narrative of sibling secrets and their troubled aftermath. EVEN AS WE SPEAK takes place a few years after 9/11 and follows six disparate characters whose lives crash at the story's start. From the eco-terrorist whose disaffected wife has threatened to expose him, to the college student whose life is tragically complicated by her parents' love triangle, to the middle-aged accountant escaping an alcoholic lover—all of them are, in one sense or another, on the lam. By sheer circumstance, they all end up in the same roadside gas station on the same afternoon, at which juncture their lives get entangled.

"These novellas--two powerful, two very different stories--are beautifully crafted, sometimes erotic, and always lyrical. What a wonderful surprise to discover a new voice, a teller of contemporary American stories that are assured and eloquent, witty, yet truthful to the point of heartbreak." — Francois von Hurter, Bitter Lemon Press, London

"Compelling, beautifully written, surprising--Houghton's characters are ingeniously complex." — Robin Amos Kahn, playwright, Scrambled Eggs

"Two literary bullets, packed with quiet desperation, and aimed precisely at the reader's heart." — Jane Dobija, editor of Corridors Magazine

"Frottage, a story told in letters from an attitudinal lady to her shrink, is wickedly funny, yet simultaneously wise and moving. A great read, and you could end up saving yourself a lot of $200 sessions. Even As We Speak is one of those works where the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. What glistening little gems the various parts are, written in a sparse almost zen style. They add us." — David Seidler, author of The King's Speech

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