In these eight darkly comic stories, Tom Howard explores the instincts for violence and tenderness that mark his character's lives. A brother and sister wander the pier after a deadly plague destroys most of humanity. A high school bully struggles to overcome his demons. A man in the grips of dementia is visited by his children's ghosts. The people in these blistering tales grapple with past mistakes, trying to navigate their way toward redemption and resurrection and failing often-but always with a ferocious heart. Their unforgettable voices guide us through schoolyards, cemeteries, drive-in theaters, and the rich landscapes of their own imaginations. Equal parts funny, tragic, and wise, Fierce Pretty Things is a striking debut that teaches us how to live in a world as cruel as it is beautiful.