The stories in Transitory consist of familiar locations turned bizarre and longstanding relationships sacrificed to singular obsessions. Unearthly figures appear on a city street, the crew of a vessel in the North Atlantic see disquieting visions in the sky, and students become fixated on a film with mysterious origins. Tobias Carroll introduces us to a perspective of the world as uncanny as it is erudite, as revealing as it is hidden, where the absurd is often the most preferable of outcomes.

Selected by Dennis Cooper as one of his favorite fiction books of 2016.

“Ingenious and mysterious, the stories of Tobias Carroll are spun with quiet loneliness and wild surprise. Transitory is that rare kind of collection where each story stands shining alone and, in the end, forms a beautifully melancholic whole. Tobias Carroll is an original and deeply exciting talent.”
– Laura van den Berg, author of Find Me

“The stories in Tobias Carroll’s Transitory sneak up on you. They wear their inventions lightly, casually exploring an impressive range of styles and effects. Filled with haunting mysteries, sly humor, and tender melancholy, these companionable tales promise to lodge themselves in your memory. You’ll want to revisit them again and again, right down to the liner notes.”
– Jeff Jackson, author of Mira Corpora

Civil Coping Mechanisms, August 2016
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A teaching guide is available here.


“…art is the dark star around which its satellites of broken artists orbit. The men and women who make the weird films and stark soundtracks that populate Transitory are permitted some degree of detachment. Not so their audience of obsessives.”
Jim Ruland, San Diego City Beat

“These stories are mostly set in hipster New York, but they have a very interesting feel to them, almost like you’re back in the old New York of the Henry James era. Carroll kind of combines the old and the new in his own way, and there’s a unified aesthetic here.”
Veroncia Esposito, Conversational Reading

“This enthusiasm for language is in keeping with the other preoccupation of the collection, which is the lingering nature of art. The stories are full of remembered songs and VHS tapes, indie films and student paintings. People may be transitory, but through the years a work of art retains its emotional weight. Even art we no longer like.”
Michael Deagler, The Rumpus

“Carroll’s stories are contemporary but have a Victorian feel to them, making many of his characters feel unmoored from time.”
Leland Cheuk, The Coil

Book Notes playlist at Largehearted Boy

Images from the launch party at English Kills Review