From the best-selling coauthor of The Disaster Artist and “one of America's best and most interesting writers" (Stephen King), a new collection of stories that range from laugh-out-loud funny to disturbingly dark—unflinching portraits of women and men struggling to bridge the gap between art and life

A young and ingratiating assistant to a movie star makes a blunder that puts his boss and a major studio at grave risk. A long-married couple hires an escort for a threesome in order to rejuvenate their relationship. An assistant at a prestigious literary journal reconnects with a middle school frenemy and finds that his carefully constructed world of refinement cannot protect him from his past. A Bush administration lawyer wakes up on an abandoned airplane, trapped in a nightmare of his own making.
In these and other stories, Tom Bissell vividly renders the complex worlds of characters on the brink of artistic and personal crises—writers, video-game developers, actors, and other creative types who see things slightly differently from the rest of us. With its surreal, poignant, and sometimes squirm-inducing stories, Creative Types is a brilliant new offering from one the most versatile and talented writers working in America today.

A New York Times December Book to Read • A Los Angeles Times December Book to Read • An Inside Hook Best Book of December

“On every page of this book Bissell sees life with mordant clarity and finds words not only to describe it but to reanimate it...To tell you the 'subjects' of these stories is to tell you almost nothing about the experience of reading them, their stylistic flair, the unpredictability of their movement. They reminded me of how fiction can be not just a form of escape but a way to get lost in the actual strangeness of this world, those crooked roads that lead us through flashes of horror, delight and sudden recognition.”
—Zachary Lazar, New York Times

"Seven delightfully observed stories about artistic people in the midst of personal crisis... These stories would make an ideal gift for the beloved creative type in your life — maybe with no note."
—Sloane Crosley, Departures

“Tom Bissell is one of America's best and most interesting writers."
—Stephen King, from the introduction to
Flight or Fright: 17 Turbulent Tales

"Bissell’s skill as a journalist and memoirist transfers to complex situational fiction."
Los Angeles Times

"All of the stories in Creative Types are engaging and thought-provoking, delivered with deft prose and wicked humor... Slyly subversive... Beautifully crafted and narratively compelling... Creative Types is precisely what you hope to get when you dive into a collection of short fiction – a vast and varied spectrum of stories, all connected by intelligence, wit and a distinctive voice. Tom Bissell is one of the best in the business; this book is a reflection of that excellence."
The Maine Edge

"A compelling, tightly written anthology to showcase the contemporary tormented artistic soul... Bissell is a marvelous storyteller with a command of language and a mastery of dialogue... These beautifully written, painful stories remind us of the creative and practical challenges of pouring artistic passion into a durable vessel."
—Leonora Cravotta, The American Spectator

"Award-winning stories that are clear-eyed, unrelenting, slightly acidulous, and sometimes bleakly funny in their exploration of contemporary life... Well-crafted and expansive stories."
Library Journal

"This buzzing collection brings together seven stories that showcase [Bissell's] gift for energetic storytelling, each tale imbued with humor and relevant cultural references... Bissell's affinity for fast pacing and quick wit will reward readers looking for an antidote to the doldrums of life under quarantine."

“The seven stories in Bissell’s droll, thoughtful collection… portray artistic people in the midst of unfortunate circumstances, often due to their own actions… Each story demonstrates Bissell’s talent for smooth, sparkling prose, arresting descriptions… and vivid characterization. Desperate, downtrodden, and self-absorbed, the protagonists are thoroughly human, and Bissell consistently transforms the reader’s voyeuristic pleasure into unexpected sympathy.”
Publishers Weekly

"Bissell is a deeply precise writer, and his sense of the emotional disorientation his characters face is literally gut-level... A witty, wide-ranging exploration of complex emotions."

"It’s like Deborah Eisenberg and Bruce Chatwin had a secret love child and instead of raising him, they gave him away to Ubisoft in an experiment to see if gamers can be turned back into readers. Bissell pulls off the what should be impossible — illuminating all the modern silences and somehow rendering them laugh-out-loud funny. You won’t find more memorable 'lovers' or better dialogue anywhere. Buy this book and learn how to write."
—Stephen Gaghan, writer and director of Syriana

“The creative types in Tom Bissell’s brilliant stories travel, try not to be tourists, take cocaine, have threesomes, have babies, find themselves doing hack work for SNL, interview super heroes—all trapped inside acute, bone-cutting sentences. The stories in Creative Types are witty, sharp, and fun as hell to read but also highly serious, fearlessly exposing the foibles of creative people as they try to build lives that feed the muse—or sell themselves out. Bissell is one of our best writers and this is one of his best books.
—David Means, author of Instructions for a Funeral

“Tom Bissell writes like some kind of wicked angel. Here are transgressively funny stories about writers and actors, cocaine and art, escorts and threesomes, religion and apostasy, all rendered in sentences so exquisite they make me blush with holy envy. I’ve read and admired Bissell's work for years, but Creative Types might be his best book yet.”
— Jamie Quatro, author of Fire Sermon