“Standing between world-class harpist Matt Grzbc and his dream, a permanent position in a top orchestra, is just about everybody in his life. This brilliant debut novel zigzags across Chicago’s neighborhoods exploring the obsession a striving artist must have for his craft, as he also makes a living and nourishes those near him, especially his eccentric and precocious six-year-old daughter. Contrary Motion is a wonderful story—beautifully written, hilarious, tortured, and filled with heavenly music.”
–Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of Once Upon a River and National Book Award Finalist American Salvage
“No portrait of an artist brings alive vulnerability, hilarity, desperation, hipness, absurdity, and painful steadfastness as splendidly as Andy Mozina’s Contrary Motion. A dazzling, unforgettable novel.”
–Mark Wisniewski, author of Watch Me Go
“Mozina’s finely detailed, painfully funny novel is a rollicking performance that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.”
–Dan Kaplan, Booklist (starred review)
“Mozina (author of the story collection Quality Snacks) stays faithful to the notion that art rings truest at its most tense and least resolved. Readers will appreciate this wry take on a richly dysfunctional life.”
“Mozina has created a likeable, believable main character, the sort of guy alongside whom you could easily spend hours dissecting life over a couple of beers. It’s the first novel for Mozina, . . . and it’s sure to leave readers asking for more. Mozina’s storytelling is easy and humorous, taking the stuff of everyday life and presenting it in a way that both entertains and draws out emotion.”
“Mozina is both a literary writer and a funny one…. This book is as unassuming as its Midwestern setting. It is a simple story about a musician who wants to win a principal chair. But it’s a pleasure to read an author who cares enough to pay attention to the simple things. Mozina’s competence is as quiet as Matt’s.
“And in its unassuming way, this book performs social work. The fact that Matt’s chief concerns are romantic relationships, raising children, and helping the dying—issues traditionally believed to be “female”— puts pressure on social norms, while the two main female characters in the novel take on traditional “male” roles.
“Matt is not exempt from the privilege of being a white male…. Nonetheless, Contrary Motion makes an important contribution to the conversation about gender equity. It’s a rare book with a male protagonist that values child-rearing and intimacy as much as careers and adventures.”
–Mika Yamamoto, The Rumpus
“All of the pathos in Contrary Motion is punctuated with oodles of humor. Mozina accomplishes the rare feat of allowing his character to dabble in self-deprecation without tumbling down the rabbit hole into clownish deflection.
“The question of how Matt is going to conquer all of his myriad neuroses, failures and frustrations is a captivating one. Mozina delves deep into Matt’s psyche in order to transcend these limitations…. It was fun to come along for the ride.”
–Kelly Fordon, author of Garden for the Blind, Michigan Public Radio
“Charming . . . The painfully self-aware Matt has a great sense of humor, but his comic insights don’t help him much as he faces a confounding array of personal problems. . . . The pleasures of [Andy Mozina’s] writing never flag.”
Available from Amazon