Our Brains and the Brains of Miniature Sharks


Pablo Piñero Stillmann
2019 Moon City Short Fiction Award
162 pages
978-0-913785-95-9 (paper)
May 2020


Add to Cart


Desperate to find a cure for his depression, a young man forges an odd relationship with a disgraced scientist. The descendant of a refugee tells her family story using symbols instead of names. A lonely boy from a broken family finds solace in a television show hosted by a mysterious man. In these stories, equal parts sad and funny, Pablo Piñero Stillmann’s characters lose themselves as they search for meaningful human connection. These are stories of chaos—internal and external—of chasing and escaping, of intense longing, but most of all, the nine stories in this book are portraits of people wrestling with their deepest flaws.

A graduate of Indiana University’s MFA in creative writing program, Pablo Piñero Stillmann has been the recipient of Mexico’s two top grants for young writers: The Foundation for Mexican Literature (f,l,m) and The National Fund for Culture and Arts (FONCA). His fiction, nonfiction and poetry have appeared in, among other journals, Ninth Letter, Bennington Review, The Normal School, Notre Dame Review, The Rumpus, and Moon City Review. His debut novel, Temblador, was published in 2014 by Conaculta.

“Pablo Piñero Stillmann is a master at rendering the unreliable narrator. Like a sleight-of-hand artist working the land of the short story, his characters shift and shape right before your very eyes before you understand how he’s done it. You’ll so enjoy getting taken. Step up to the main attraction, take a spin, see this marvelous show. It’s worth it. Trust me.”
—Sherrie Flick, author of Thank Your Lucky Stars and Whiskey, Etc

“Like the best of Antunes or Cortazar or Keret, these stories are beautifully weird and alive like magical alleyways that twist and turn, threads that ravel and unravel. They feel all at once intimate and familiar and fun and big and surprising and vital.”
—Matt Fogarty, author of Maybe Mermaids & Robots Are Lonely

“In Stillmann’s Mexico City, you’d probably have to keep changing your clocks. It’s a place of complex contingency, of brief and lovely collision. These are new stories, and Stillmann has wonderfully new ways to tell them. But for me the best of the pleasures are probably old school: rich immersion and the thrill of a line of clean sense. He’s such an instinctively purposeful writer. Nothing goes slack in these stories. No sentence. No phrase. I loved this book.”
—Scott Garson, author of Is That You, John Wayne?

“Pablo Piñero Stillmann’s astonishing stories stun with their punchy sharpness and style, with their deeply layered humor and humanity. Each piece is disarmingly matter-of-fact in its patient excavation of emotional density: mental anguish, generational grief, existential resignation. I burned through Our Brains and the Brains of Miniature Sharks in a day, and you will, too:a genuinely immersive collection from a dazzling writer.”
—Joseph Scapellato, author of The Made-Up Man

“Like the title itself, the stories in Pablo Piñero Stillmann’s Our Brains and the Brains of Miniature Sharks are strange, vivid, and utterly original, rendered in a language that is straightforward and lyrical at once. Whether dealing with behind-the-scenes dramas of morning TV shows, a child coping with divorce, or an untethered man in outer space, these stories are about human connection, however inevitable or impossible. Inventive, hilarious and unexpectedly moving, Stillmann’s collection is a book you won’t forget.”
—Lysley Tenorio, author of The Son of Good Fortune

Distributed for Moon City Press.