Lewis Buzbee Books In Order


  1. Fliegelman’s Desire (1990)
  2. Steinbeck’s Ghost (2008)
  3. The Haunting of Charles Dickens (2010)
  4. Bridge of Time (2012)


  1. After the Gold Rush (2006)
  2. First to Leave / Before the Sun (2007)

Non fiction

  1. The Yellow-lighted Bookshop (2006)

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Lewis Buzbee Books Overview

Fliegelman’s Desire

Fliegelman’s Desire is a modern San Francisco version of the European urban wnderer. When Fliegelman’s Desire abandons him, he searches the city for her, only to discover that desire is everywhere, and as treacherous and lovely as ever. Calvino meets Kafka, translated by Elkin.

‘Simple, voluptuous language readers will eagerly await the next installment from this language lover.’ Booklist

‘A playful imagination and a charming way of animating the ordinary.’ Publishers Weekly

Steinbeck’s Ghost

It’s been two months since Travis s family moved to a development so new that it seems totally unreal. His parents are working harder now, to pay for it all, and Travis is left to fend for himself.

There s one place, though, where Travis can still connect with his old life: the Salinas library. Travis and his family used to go there together every Saturday, but now he bikes to it alone, re reading his favorite books.

It s only natural that Travis likes the work of author John Steinbeck after all, Salinas is Steinbeck s hometown. But that can t explain why Travis is suddenly seeing Steinbeck s characters spring to life. There s the homeless man in the alley behind the library, the line of figures at the top of a nearby ridge, the boy who writes by night in an attic bedroom. Travis has met them all before as a reader. But why are they here now? And how?

As Travis struggles to solve this mystery, budget cuts threaten his library. And so, he embarks on a journey through Steinbeck s beautiful California landscape, looking for a way to save his safe haven. It s only then that he begins to sort out fact from fiction, discovering the many ways a story can come alive and stumbling into a story Steinbeck might have started, and Travis needs to complete.

Here is a mystery that delves deeply into the ways that books take us, one at a time, out into the vast world.

The Haunting of Charles Dickens

Meg Pickel’s older brother, Orion, has disappeared. One night, she steals out to look for him, and makes two surprising discoveries: She stumbles upon a’s ance that she suspects involves Orion, and she meets the author Charles Dickens, also unable to sleep, and roaming the London streets. He is a customer of Meg’s father, who owns a print shop, and a family friend. Mr. Dickens fears that the children of London aren’t safe, and is trying to solve the mystery of so many disappearances. If he can, then perhaps he’ll be able to write once again. With stunning black and white illustrations by Greg Ruth, here is a literary mystery that celebrates the power of books, and brings to life one of the world’s best loved authors.

After the Gold Rush

Few writers can match Lewis Buzbee at capturing the American family disrupted by challenges from the outside world, or from within. These are powerful, moving stories of such families. Even when life conspires to tear them apart, Buzbee’s families cope, they figure out what comes next. Though not connected in any narrative sense, the stories share a common thread: how to live after the disaster, After the Gold Rush is over and the gold has run out. Still, Buzbee’s characters dream big and love deep, and each story in the collection is raw at the core, wholly memorable, and dedicated to the courage of loving.

Anchoring this collection is the novella An American Son, destined to become a classic. Here is a story filled with pathos and humor about a 17 year old high school junior who, to the amazement and utter consternation of his parents, defects for a time to the Soviet Union and becomes a writer, returning eventually to the Best Westerns of America. It is a vehicle that provides Buzbee with a new leverage on contemporary culture, and a hip take on the writer’s life.

Lewis Buzbee is a third generation Californian, and has been writing since age 12. After earning his MFA from the Warren Wilson Program for Writers, he published his first collection of short stories, Fliegelman’s Desire, from Ballentine Books. A former bookseller and rep for Chronicle, his book on reading and the publishing business, The Yellow Lighted Bookshop, is to be released simultaneously from Graywolf.

First to Leave / Before the Sun

Long-time friends Lewis Buzbee and Dave Tilton join together for a unique literary collaboration, two novellas set in the Central Valley of California. Novelist and essayist Lewis Buzbee YELLOW-LIGHTED BOOKSHOP, STEINBECK’S GHOST contributes FIRST TO LEAVE, a fictional account of his family’s move from Oklahoma to Modesto in the first years of the Dust Bowl. Dave Tilton, solo recording artist and member of SEVENTH TRIANGLE, adds BEFORE THE SUN, a tale of growing up in Manteca in the 1960s; bookended by the Kennedy assassinations, it’s about baseball, sugarbeets, and Catholicism. FIRST TO LEAVE BEFORE THE SUN explores the betrayal of emigration and the emigration of betrayal through the lens of The Golden State’s notorious promises. One character here describes a certain song as ‘tenacious, sticks in the mind and follows for days.’ These stories will do the same.

The Yellow-lighted Bookshop

I cannot remember when I read a book with such delight. Paul Yamazaki, City Lights Bookstore November, a dark, rainy Tuesday, late afternoon. This is my ideal time to be in a bookstore. The shortened light of the afternoon and the idleness and hush of the hour gather everything close, the shelves and the books and the few other customers who graze head bent in the narrow aisles. I ve come to find a book. In The Yellow Lighted Bookshop, Buzbee, a former bookseller and sales representative, celebrates the unique experience of the bookstore the smell and touch of books, getting lost in the deep canyons of shelves, and the silent community of readers. He shares his passion for books, which began with ordering through The Weekly Reader in grade school. Interwoven throughout is afascinating historical account of the bookseller’s trade from the great Alexandria library with an estimated one million papyrus scrolls to Sylvia Beach s famous Paris bookstore, Shakespeare and Company, which led to the extraordinary effort to publish and sell James Joyce s Ulysses during the 1920s. Rich with anecdotes, The Yellow Lighted Bookshop is the perfect choice for those who relish the enduring pleasures of spending an afternoon finding just the right book.

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