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Brendan Dowling Author Archive


Email: bdowling@ala.org  


Ned Bachus Author Photo

Ned Bachus On Chosen Family, Unlikely Friendships, And His Debut Novel’s Thirty-Six Year Journey To The Page

In Ned Bachus’ debut novel, Mortal Things, three disparate characters find themselves in an unexpected family unit, providing support through some of life’s darkest moments. Reeling from the recent deaths of his wife and infant son, Mike Flannagan returns to the small neighborhood in Philadelphia where he grew up. Eventually he finds himself in a promising relationship with the vibrant and intelligent Sarah, a professor at a local college. Yet even though he cares for her, Mike retreats whenever things get too serious. After a disastrous social outing with Sarah’s friends, Mike comes across Domenic, an elderly barber who has recently been mugged. The two men, both widowers, soon establish an unlikely friendship. When Sarah reaches out to Domenic for advice about her flailing relationship with Mike, she discovers a kinship with the old man as well. When a series of surprising events threaten the delicate social structure the three have created, each person is pushed to their edge as they confront the lengths they’ll go to protect the ones they love. Ned Bachus’ debut novel Mortal Things is a rich and tender examination of community, chosen family, and loyalty. He spoke with us about finding the layers of his characters, the struggle to fit in, and why writing the book took thirty-six years.