The World’s Smallest Bible

The World’s Smallest Bible chronicles the seriocomic boyhood of Ethan and Jeremiah Mueller in mill town Pennsylvania during the height of World War II. As they lose friends and neighbors to the front lines, the boys try to make sense of the mounting darkness with their imaginations except in their world, no one ever dies. In a private, laconic language, they invent stories that mirror the irrational world around them: a chaplain with bad news becomes the Angel of Death, skeletal Nazis lurk around the corner, and the ghost of a dead playmate taps at their bedroom window in the night. With startling lyricism and narrative grace, Dennis Must has fashioned an indelible vision of the Mueller boys blighted youth.


“Told in startling, poetic language, The Worlds Smallest Bible is an ode to the power of the imagination, as two boys in a Pennsylvania town during WWII sustain each other with stories and fabulist visions. Their struggle with the real world the war, teachers, their parents runs through The Worlds Smallest Bible like an obbligato. Dennis Must skillfully combines narrative momentum with lyricism resulting in a novel of extraordinary grace and originality.”—Thaisa Frank, author of Heidegger’s Glasses

“In this darkly comic Bildungsroman, Ethan Daugherty, initially plagued by several manifestations of moral evil both imagined and real comes to understand one indisputable existential truth: The restrictive confines of place in this case, Hebron, Pennsylvania, toxic in practically every respect can maim the soul, kill the human spirit. Reminiscent of Zola, The World’s Smallest Bible brilliantly demonstrates that for all one’s attempts, whether ignoble or noble, to escape one’s seemingly appointed lot, the only way out may be the grave.”—Jack Smith, author of Hog to Hog

Dennis Must ( Author Website )

Publication Date: March 15, 2014

Genre/Imprint: Fiction, Red Hen Press

$15.95 Tradepaper

Shop: Red Hen, Bookshop, Barnes & Noble

ISBN: 978-1-59709-972-1


Dennis Must is Beyond Ordinary

Dactyl Review examines The World's Smallest Bible, the new novel by Dennis Must, calling him a "searching writer, able to transcribe madness and instability, the wrack of obsession and the […]