Cover Me

A novel by Lon Otto

April 1, 1988 • 5.5 x 8.5 • 144 pages • 978-0-91827-340-6

A collection of adult bedtime stories.

Cover Me is driven by a strangeness underlying the world we are used to seeing. Its comedies explode out of situations as ordinary as they are dangerous, and even the darkest stories carry a comic edge, an electric commotion of surprise and recognition.

Two characters, Laurel and Burney Nichols, move in and out of Cover Me, carrying us through their nightmares and happiness the way certain friends do, their visits always unsettlingly vivid. In the pivotal “Water Bodies,” Laurel and Burney journey through the contradictions of responsibility, love, sex, and their own wonderful doomed bodies, arriving finally where courage flows from memory into hope.

In the counterpoint narratives that alternate with the Nichols stories, we experience what it is to be that mousey man in the basement apartment, the richly romantic and philosophical piano tuner, the boy hurling innocence and deception against an impervious adult world. These stories, too, are marked by the compelling particularity of life, the detail that convinces us, awake or dreaming. This is the narrative music Otto has mastered, sensuous and alarming, “a balance of imperfections more beautiful than any celestial absolute.”


“Lon Otto’s talents are formidable and the best stories in Cover Me demonstrate them impressively. Playful, contemplative, outrageous and comforting, this is a writer whose gifts continue to develop. At his best, he is an adventurous stylist whose wise vision shines through the fires of language he can set burning, quite beautifully, on the page.” —New York Times Book Review