Good People

“Nothing is funnier than unhappiness,” claims Samuel Beckett. To this, we add: nothing is funnier than unhappiness with a heavy dose of amorality, as we learn from Robert Lopez’s unforgettable Good People. In these twenty stories, a motley cast of obsessive, self-deluded outsiders narrate their darker moments, which include kidnapping, voyeurism, and psychic masochism. As their struggles give way to the black humor of life’s unreason, the bleak merges with the oddly poetic, in a style as lean and resolute as Carver or Hemingway.

Treading the fine line between confession and self-justification, the absurd violence of threatened masculinity, and the perverse joy of neurosis, Lopez’s stories reveal the compulsive suffering at the precarious core of our universal humanity.

Praise and Reviews

“Robert Lopez is the master of deadpan dread, of the elliptical koan, of the sudden turn of language that reveals life to be so wonderfully absurd. Always with Lopez, the voice is all his—enchanting, surprising, at times devastating.” —JESS WALTER, author of Beautiful Ruins

“Robert Lopez’s strange, incantatory, visionary stories reveal the mysteries behind the ordinary world. You lift your head from this book and it’s as if a third eye has been opened.”—DAN CHAON, author of Await Your Reply and Stay Awake

“Robert Lopez is such a master of saddening hilarities that his virtuoso turns in this crazily heartbreaking, dizzyingly original new collection will restore even the most jaded reader’s faith in the fresh possibilities of American fiction.”—GARY LUTZ, author of Stories in the Worst Way

 “Lopez has the ability to give the reader whiplash with his unconventional and bewitching stories.” —Los Angeles Times

 “These [stories are] trance-like rants, full of strange dark bitter, bitter comedy. Nobody else does whatever the hell it is [Lopez]’s doing better than he does.” —BOMB magazine

“Whatever you believe about what separates good people from bad ones, forget it. Robert Lopez will challenge all of those assumptions in this arresting short story collection.” —Bookish

“Dark humor finds its way into these confessional stories and throughout the collection, the diverse voices ring true. Lopez has said music played a big part in his experience growing up, and it’s apparent in Good People that his writing has found its rhythm.” —Raleigh Review

“Remarkably intimate. . . . Deliciously clever.” —Best New Fiction

“Robert Lopez does amazing things with prose, tone, and sparsity.” —Vol. 1 Brooklyn

“Lopez uses a close point of view to maximum effect, drawing the reader into each character’s mindset; despite the sense of complicity this imparts, the dark humor and discomfort of these stories provides just as much enlightenment.” —Late Night Library

“One of Lopez's many gifts is being able to make accessible, through humor and wit, what might otherwise frighten us. Good People makes us question our own ideas about morality and the weight of our thoughts and actions, all the while entertaining us with the plights of others.” —

“Read [Good People] to stumble into the sunlight afterward. . . . Depressing, inventive, and marvelous—a thought-provoking path to feeling awful.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Tightly knit. . . . Recommended for lovers of darkly humorous, strangely illuminating fiction.” —Booklist

“Personalities ranging from the amusingly neurotic to the borderline psychotic shape the 20 quirky stories in this collection. . . . Lopez shows uncommon skill at evoking both laughs and shudders, sometimes in the same story.” —Publishers Weekly

“A dizzying, disturbing tour of what might be going on in the minds of ‘good people.’ . . . Those who enjoy dark humor with a dose of sado-masochistic sexual fantasy will take pleasure in [Lopez’s] spare prose and ability to spear a thought on first strike.” —Foreword Reviews