Introducing Myself andf My Work


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Introducing Myself andf My Work

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Ago 17, 2010, 9:51am

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A Novel
By John M. McNamara

A Life Without Grace, dissects a tense few days in the life of Grayson Eilers, a successful baby-boomer. Grayson, a freelance speechwriter, receives an urgent message from his sister that their mother has suffered a severe heart attack. She is alive, but her condition remains critical. For more than three decades, Grayson has compartmentalized his life, distancing himself physically and emotionally from the modest origins that his mother, his sister and his two brothers represent, while dedicating himself to his new family: his wife and two children. After a terse conversation with his sister, Grayson, feeling angry and helpless, accepts his inevitable moral imperative: returning to Omaha to confront family members with whom he has never shared any commonality. He arrives in Omaha on the eve of a spring snowstorm that delays the arrival of his wife and his two children, leaving Grayson isolated to cope with the cascade of both predictable and unexpected emotions inherent in his stressful reunion with his estranged family.

JOHN M. MCNAMARA graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha with a Bachelor of Science degree, where he studied journalism, political science and creative writing. He has worked as a radio reporter, an advertising copywriter, a technical writer, a speechwriter, a public information officer, an executive director of a non-profit organization and most recently as an assistant dean at an independent law school in Chicago. His short stories have been published in Crosscurrents, Old Hickory Review, the Piedmont Literary Review, the Minotaur, Snapdragon, Four Quarters, FlashFiction, Quick Fiction, Bear River Review and Inside Running. In the summer of 1999, he was awarded a professional artist residency at the OxBow Summer Arts Program for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Saugatuck, Michigan, during which portions of A Life Without Grace were written. He served as a Vietnamese linguist in the Air Force during the Vietnam War and now lives in Downers Grove, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, with his wife.


Ago 17, 2010, 10:52am


I'm curious based on the bio, is Grayson living in Chicago when he gets the call -- as you are based in the Chicago metro area? Just curious, always get an additional interest in stories set somewhere I know personally.

Ago 17, 2010, 2:20pm

Yes...Grayson gets the call while at home one morning. A fictional Chicago suburb.