Zachary Doss was a writer and editor whose work appeared in Sonora Review, Fourteen Hills, Fairy Tale Review, Caketrain, DIAGRAM, Paper Darts, and other journals. His short story “Bespoke” was the winner of the 2016 Puerto del Sol Short Fiction Contest. He held an MFA in creative writing from the University of Alabama, where he taught composition and rhetoric, literature, and creative writing. He was also pursuing a PhD in creative writing and literature at the University of Southern California at the time of his death.
Boy Oh Boy is a collection of queer fabulist stories and flash fictions told via second person, asking readers to share Doss’s explorations of joy and longing. Your boyfriend is many boyfriends, possibly all the boyfriends you’ve ever had or will have. But you must ask yourself whether you have them or they have you. Your boyfriend plays jokes on you—plays jokes on the world. He is forever unattainable, and still you love your boyfriend, even when it hurts you. Doss explores how relationships can be all-consuming, how we transform ourselves to fit within their contour. Eventually, you might change so much that you don’t even fit inside your own body. This book is so much about space—the physical, emotional, and mental spheres that everyone inhabits. Doss uses humor to deal with the isolation that each of us experiences—not because we’re alone, but because we’ve become detached from ourselves, our needs, and our desires. Boy Oh Boy is our chance to understand Zachary Doss, as well as our strangest selves.
“Playful, wistful, lustful, and liminal, Zachary Doss’s Boy Oh Boy proves much larger than the sum of its parts. Doss explores the queerness of love, and how that love permeates—even in its absence—all parts of our lives. The boys (and boyfriends) of the collection may be mechanically replaceable, or miniature and multiple, or complicated in a dozen other ways, but they come to full life in Doss’s stories. The shortest of these stories have a kind of effervescent charm that only increases the deeper you get into the collection. It’s boys all the way down.”—Kelly Link, the 2018 judge for the Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction
“These stories brim with invention and play, but they are serious underneath, the work of a serious writer and thinker and reader and feeler. They are savvy and world-wise while also full of vulnerability and beauty. I will treasure this book.”—Aimee Bender, author of The Color Master
“There’s a sly and unprepossessing humor to these stories, the feeling of someone waiting for you to notice the joke, though there’s never just one. It’s right there in the title—Boy Oh Boy—and it is something you might say as you read these stories of the way we are all abandoned to this world, to make of it what we can. Zach Doss is a writer to celebrate. He didn’t live long enough to give us more than this, but here is a book that sings like a troubadour under the balcony at midnight, songs of love and trouble, again and again, seemingly effortless and full of charm. Pick it up.”—Alexander Chee, author of How to Write an Autobiographical Novel
The stories in Boy Oh Boy by Zachary Doss are playful, surreal, sometimes dark, and always magical. This wonderful collection of inventive queer fabulist stories and flash fictions won the 2018 Grace […]