IN THE ELECTRIC EDEN
"The book is a showcase for Arvin's skills; the stories span a wide time period, are delivered through narrators young and old, male and female, and move from traditional to experimental styles... The beauty of the stories is in the humanity."
"Nick Arvin's stories would soar if they were about chicken feed."
"...in the end we find that Arvin's most important recurring theme is simply solid narration and honesty."
"A welcome antidote to those too-frequent, airy, 'po-mo' sketches that pass for 'important' fiction these days. "
"Nick Arvin comes from a background most people probably wouldn't expect. A student of engineering and ex-employee of The Ford Motor Company, Arvin stands defiantly against the idea that engineers know nothing about human emotion. In The Electric Eden is full of just that, and is a vibrant read that will grab your attention over and over again."
"There isn't a bad story in this collection; not one I wanted to skim or skip altogether. But I do have my favorites. 'What They Teach You in Engineering School,' about a dull son striving to better himself, desperate for the approval of an aging father who can't help but find fault in him, surprises and startles as exquisitely as the best of Flannery O'Connor's tales of human frailty. 'Commemorating,' about a man who loses his wife and then finds her again in his imagination, is a testament to the power of wonder. 'Take Your Child to Work' is a touching portrait of a man who drones through his life, perceiving the possibility of greatness only through the creativity of his young daughter. But these are, to me, simply the larger nuggets in a pan full of gold."
"Nick Arvin's debut collection of stories is an alluring exploration of the ethical ambiguity of technological advances... Throughout the collection, Arvin examines how individuals position themselves within a world of changing technologies -- and as an engineer himself, he recognizes that it is at the level of the individual that technology makes its impact."
"Arvin comes to fiction via engineering, and his understanding of technology and those who create it infuses his first book with a unique and mesmerizing power... Arvin's complexly structured and psychologically dynamic stories are as discerning as they are incandescent...."
"Accomplished and promising."
"The stories in In The Electric Eden have as wide and tantalizing a range of styles and voices as I've seen since T.C. Boyle's early collections. Nick Arvin is dauntless as a craftsman and fearless in his pursuit of a good tale. The title track alone, bringing to life a weird bit of Americana, is worth the price of admission."
—Stewart O'Nan, author of Wish You Were Here and A Prayer for the Dying
"Nick Arvin is a terrific writer! In the Electric Eden shows a variety of people interacting with each other while struggling with technology--both current and historical. The prose is direct, the wisdom is earned, and the stories very fine indeed."
—Chris Offutt, author of Out of the Woods and Country Dark
"These stories read like twisted classics: if Raymond Carver and Ethan Canin had a love-child who was adopted by Ward and June Cleaver and raised in a depressed industrial Midwestern city but then ran away from home with a transsexual trapeze artist and rode boxcars across the country until he was rescued by George Saunders who convinced him to go to graduate school, he would take on the pen name of Nick Arvin and write a book called In the Electric Eden."
—Thisbe Nissen, author of The Good People of New York and Our Lady of the Prairie
"In these intrepid, clear-eyed stories, Nick Arvin skillfully maps the limbo between who we are and who, with the aid of newly bright lights and a machine or two, we think we wish to be. The result is a wonderful, surprising, and -- yes -- illuminating debut."
—John Burnham Schwartz, author of Reservation Road