Paperback / softback
January 1, 2021
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
.8 Pounds (US)
$19.95 USD, £15.99 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Bosses of Light and Sound

"The stories in Bosses of Light and Sound are varied, daring, and full of surprise. Nickalus Rupert is a serious talent and this is a memorable, winning debut."—Justin Taylor, author of Flings, The Gospel of Anarchy, Everything Here is the Best Thing Ever, and Riding with the Ghost

Two movie-theater projectionists become addicted to "fixing" blockbuster films. An aged woman claims squatter's rights at a Congo-themed mini-golf park. An eleven-toed breakfast food designer tries to save a doomed relationship by attempting a foolish stunt. Nickalus Rupert's stories unearth humor and tenderness within the most trying aspects of being human. Bosses of Light and Sound will make you uncomfortable in the best way, as characters struggle to negotiate circumstances that range from ridiculous, to excruciating, to improbably sublime.

About the Author

Nickalus Rupert is a Pushcart Prize–winning fiction writer who spent most of his life near the Gulf Coast. His stories have appeared in or forthcoming in The Idaho Review, Harpur Palate, Witness, The Literary Review, Pleiades, Tin House Online, and many other journals. Find him at


"From a lethargic suicide-preventer to an aspiring firewalker, the characters in Nickalus Rupert's first collection, Bosses of Light and Sound, crackle with energy and wit. In the titular story, a down-and-out movie projectionist spends his summer pining for a woman he'll never have and, in so doing, strikes a chord that's both moving and profound. Rarely has a first collection of stories evinced so much maturity and perspective, so much diversity of form, and so much emotional tenor. Rupert's collection will last."—J. A. Bernstein, author of Rachel's Tomb

"Nickalus Rupert's fantastic first collection of short stories is populated with characters whose longings—for the lives they've previously led or the ones they've failed to lead—are as acute as Rupert's wit, instincts, and crisp prose.  Like his character, Walt, ejected from a homemade Bond car by his bandmate and romantic rival, or Luke, who inexpertly guards a ravine for jumpers, Rupert's stories transfix the reader at the apex of joy and doom.  Whatever you do, don't pass this one up."—Jonathan Fink, author of The Crossing and Barbarossa

"With stories that astonish and liberate as they counter expectations and engage taboos, Nickalus Rupert's Bosses of Light and Sound destroys any notion that things must be one thing or the other, that actions or events can be seen whole. As explored in these messy, perfectly crafted fictions, identity is chimeric. The reader wakes from them discomfited, fascinated, refreshed. I am proud to count them as my friends."—Angela Bal, author of Talking Pillow

"In this stunning collection, dreams of bossing the magical and illusive turn to disillusion. Yet once under the book's spell, you find the surreal and implausible familiar and comforting as each glorious sentence draws you farther into the lives of all the quirky inhabitants, human and animal, of this American landscape. There are so many funny moments in this exquisite jewel of a book even with all its aching and hard honesty. An unforgettable and delightful debut by a mesmerizingly unique and incredibly endearing new voice in fiction."—Darlin' Neal, author of Rattlesnakes & The Moon and Elegant Punk

"Nickalus Rupert has his finger on the pulse of American absurdity, and the characters in these stories are both hilarious and heartbreaking proof.  Whether remorseful for past misdeeds, pursuing off-kilter quests, or just hoping to be able to stand themselves long enough to get through another day, this is fiction that insists on beauty in all this mess too—and how very ordinary and grand that can be."—Anne Sanow, author of Triple Time

"Keep your eye on Nickalus Rupert and his fiery talent. His writing is iconoclastic, dark, witty, hilarious. As you read these stories, prepare to laugh and mutter, "Oh no he didn't." But, dear reader, he most certainly did. The characters in Bosses of Light and Sound bump up against each other in the darkness of their melancholy, loneliness, and regrets—their yearning for connection only slightly outpacing their desire for oblivion. But these stories also have tremendous heart—you'll care deeply what happens to their inhabitants."—Mary Pauline Lowry, author of The Roxy Letters

"The stories in Bosses of Light and Sound are varied, daring, and full of surpise. Nickalus Rupert is a serious talent and this is a memorable, winning debut."—Justin Taylor, author of Flings, The Gospel of Anarchy, Everything Here is the Best Thing Ever, and Riding with the Ghost

"There should be a sign on the cover of this book warning: Welcome to New Weird America, aka RupertLand, where the mundane is fantastic and the fantastic is mundane. Because to enter Bosses of Light and Sound is to enter a different world, one that is both familiar and strange but above all fascinating. Nick Rupert's debut story collection will knock you on your butt and keep you there till you've turned the last page. I was sad to finish it, not wanting to come back to my own less-compelling world just yet, but I was grateful for the journey it sent me on, and I'm thrilled at the arrival of this terrific new writer."—Andrew Malan Milward, author of I Was a Revolutionary

"Nickalus Rupert is out of his mind. And for that, we should be grateful. Here are stories born of no inhibitions and no holds barred. Stories that howl. Stories that glow in the dark. You'll laugh, you'll cry, and, yes, dear reader, you'll laugh again."—David James Poissant, author of Lake Life

Willow Springs Press


9780999005095 : bosses-of-light-and-sound-rupert
Paperback / softback
192 Pages
$19.95 USD

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