Eddie had fought hard. At least for a little while, at least as long as he thought it was just some of the other guys messing with his tent, trying to poke and punch him through the thin nylon shell. He was the new boy; he could have expected this, especially because he had a hoard of candy that he wasn’t sharing. But now the hoard was gone. The bear had eaten some, scattered the rest, and wandered off, as if bored by all the blood, which fascinated me. I know that’s a strange word to use, fascinated, but I was, I am, at how empty and motionless that boy was. I don’t mean Eddie. I mean the kid next to him. I mean me.
— excerpt from the opening story, “The Bear Hunter”

Listen & Other Stories collects short stories I wrote and published in a variety of literary journals. In the words of the publisher, the book "crosses decades, oceans and continents in pursuit of stories that, like its title suggests, are more than worthy of a listen."

To hear (and see) me discuss and briefly read from the book, and to read some of the nice things others had to say about the book, see below.


"Over and over Callanan finds that moment when a character's past, their deepest longings, their most intimate fears, emerge from the flood-waters of daily life and stand exposed. These richly imagined and beautifully written stories transport the reader from TV studios to lonely woods, from an old convent to a new gym, from war-time Alaska to the beach at Santa Monica. The result is a wonderfully readable and hugely pleasurable collection." —Margot Livesey, Mercury

"What a wide-ranging, inventive collection Liam Callanan has given us. In page after page, he conjures striking characters and places—recent and historical, domestic and foreign—that quickly grow visceral and real. Listen to these lovely stories, indeed; each one is memorable, and each one different from the last." —Alix Ohlin, Inside and Signs and Wonders

(This very sunny book trailer -- I apologize for squinting; too much time at the computer -- was made by my talented brother. We put the water back after filming. Location credit: Camano Island, Washington.) 

"Here is what makes these stories necessary and timeless: Liam Callanan's incisive ability to render not just our desires and the choices we make to fulfill or thwart those desires, but the mystery behind those choices. These stories glow, backlit by the author's generous and discriminating vision, his ability to contrast doubt and faith in our actions and interactions, all in the service of an abiding grace. And lest all of the above sound unduly serious, let me assure you: there is humor here of the most vital stripe, wherein halfway through your laughter you realize you're laughing not only at the characters, but at your own foolish, if well-intentioned, ways." —Michael Parker, All That I Have in This World

"When I finished Listen, I felt I knew something about the richness in quiet moments of decision—the layers of desire and memory behind a person’s apparently simple actions…. Listen encourages empathy more than other work I’ve read lately. It is an occasion for readers to transform…." –Gulf Coast Journal

"A scout who hoarded candy faces the wrath of a bear. A sister's jealousy has fatal consequences. A TV station's arts critic refuses to join a tradition of going pantsless on an anchor's last day. A lot of the folks in Liam Callanan's fine new collection of stories are on the cusp of making important decisions. And perhaps those decisions are a bit constricting, and just to amplify that point , a number of characters are physically trapped, whether in a locked mausoleum, a tent with a ferocious bear outside, a dilapidated convent on fire, or in a home being flooded by dam. Past decisions are equally debilitating, and that sometimes leads to an attempt to preserve the lost, perhaps through their voices, or their breath. Whatever their foibles, it's hard not to connect with the life-infused characters of Listen and Other Stories, blessed as they are with the author's grace and good humor." —Daniel Goldin, Boswell Book Company (Milwaukee)

"I picked up this book to get a feel for the type of short stories Liam was writing. I was about to host his event, but I didn't have time to read the whole thing. So, I read "Listen," the title story, and immediately knew that this was an amazing book. I started at the beginning and could not put it down. These stories are beautiful, shocking, concise, and compelling. Each story has its own reasons to read and love, but the collection as a whole gives such a breadth of human existence and style. I found it irresistible. For something not being on my to-read list to being one that I feel urged to recommend is surprising to me. Read Listen & Other Stories." —Shane Mullen, Left Bank Books (St. Louis)

"My father spent a good portion of his career with a tape deck slung over his shoulder," says the narrator in the title tale of this diverse and satisfying collection of stories. The book revolves around the narrator's father, a sound engineer, and a recording made of the narrator's mother before she died, in which she releases an 'eerie, penetrating tear' of a scream. Within this haunting sound, one could find, writes Callanan, 'the DNA of that world's entire moment.' It's an apt description of Callanan's own skill, which he displays in stories about death, love, loneliness, and, ultimately, the human condition."—Yale Alumni Magazine

Liam Callanan's "stories have a great way of getting under the skin and lingering beyond the final page. With great compassion for his characters, Callanan meets them at a series of critical points, getting into their heads with precision and finding warmth, humor, sorrow, grief, and fear."—Timothy Day, Washington Independent Review of Books