Wasp Box

Jason Ockert

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Distributed by University Press of Florida on behalf of Panhandler Books, an imprint of the Department of English and World Languages at the University of West Florida.
"Wasp Box is full of wonders, by which I mean it’s full of drunken fathers and the Finger Lakes of New York and middling wineries and too-smart-and-nosy-for-their-own-good kids and bomb shelters and young love and lost love and lost diaries and killer wasps. In this, his unbelievably smart, tense, breakneck first novel, Ockert has made something strange, and great, a book that is absolutely impossible to put down once you’ve started it."--Brock Clarke, author of Exley

"With sentences as darting and sharp as the wasps that haunt this remarkable debut novel, Jason Ockert has crafted an unforgettable vision of an America--and a family--in peril."--Laura Van Den Berg, author of The Isle of Youth

"Wasp Box may cause swelling, itching, anaphylactic shock, renal failure, barbed terror, stinging empathy, and profound joy."--Benjamin Percy, author of Red Moon

When a soldier returning home to a small New York town inadvertently transports an invasive species of deadly parasitic wasps, he sets off a frightening chain of events that throws an entire community into an unpredictable crisis. Escalating in its psychological, emotional, and narrative intensity, Ockert’s gripping first novel examines the choices individuals make in the face of danger, the limits of personal strength, and the value of family loyalty when the familiar world unravels.

Jason Ockert is the author of two story collections, Neighbors of Nothing and Rabbit Punches, and his short fiction has appeared in Best American Mystery Stories, Oxford American, and McSweeney’s, among other publications. He teaches creative writing at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina.

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"Wasp Box is a thrilling debut that will no doubt soon garner lots of positive attention from readers and critics alike. It is that rare novel that manages to be profound while also being profoundly entertaining."
--Wraparound South

"What develops in Wasp Box is horrific, beautiful, bizarre, poignant and mesmerizing. The sensory and visceral detail will cause readers to claw at their legs and necks, jam fingers into their ears, or hop on one foot to shake from the head what may lurk inside. Wasp Box portrays families at their best and worst, strongest and weakest, closest and most distant. Above all, it offers a portrait of the resilience and reliance necessary to survive."
--The Rumpus

"Jason Ockert's first novel is strangely magnificent. Deep down, Wasp Box is a love story: A soldier searches for a way to come home to his sweetheart, a man attempts to be a better father to his son, a quiet boy and an odd girl find companionship in each other and an old man struggles to cope without his deceased wife. But it's also a story filled with a quiet, lurking dread. It touches on the fear that lives inside all of us, a fear that literally surfaces when a soldier returned from war births a swarm of parasitic wasps that have been nesting in his brain, feeding on his insides. Are you cringing yet? Good. Those are just the first two pages."

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