New Release

Where All Things Flatten back

Where All Things Flatten centers on Lead Belly’s—a bar in Toledo—and the workers who party, fight, love, escape, and hide out there. The stories focus on people who lead lives of raucous desperation. The collection is anchored in this one place and the people who pass through it. Their decisions impact everyone who comes along after them.



An act

of soul-shaking storytelling and stunning prose. John Mauk's Where All Things Flatten is a remarkable rendering of regular people in a place flooded with yearning and Guinness.

Patricia Ann McNair

Patricia Ann McNair

If you want

short stories packed with unexpected, true-hearted, raunchy wonder, read John Mauk. Bats on the bar walls, a body in the dumpster, Camaros racing down a Midwestern freeway with all the ill intent you could imagine. Then there's the cast of working-class characters that will charm you, lie to your face, leave you laughing and walletless. Mauk's writing, vital and energetic, is like running into the cold under a full moon on a winter night—that clear, that sharp. Count on these very smart stories to take you into page-turning predicaments that you will never forget.

Anne-Marie Oomen

Anne-Marie Oomen

A tapestry

of all things human, touchable as grass or skin, Where All Things Flatten commands readers to lean in close, as if Mauk is whispering the world's inmost secrets, making you an accomplice to all the transgressions, missteps, and mercies that befall the denizens of the damnable, magnificent watering hole, Lead Belly's. Through breathless intricacy, John Mauk unites us all—marrow, sinew, and spirit—in his latest collection of stories, shrewdly folding each piece into the next with tangled moments of ruckus and despair, unfettered glee, and words unspoken, all of them depicting lives once lived, lives to come, and the here and now. At Lead Belly's, teetering on the precipice of suburban Ohio and wide open spaces, all walks of life converge, prospering, backsliding, healing, coalescing, disappearing, or simply being. And each character's life journey is designed with utmost deliberation and unrivaled poise, steadily crashing against the unexpected. And yes, John Mauk offers the gamut of alehouse antics, all the sludge and charm of a "Where everybody knows your name" barroom, but then hacks it all down to the bone. I am haunted by these stories, forever altered by their truths, their complexities and, most of all, their uncomfortable nearness.

Chad Broughman

Chad V. Broughman



Sleepy Dog Books Reading
May 9, 2024

Sleepy Dog Books Reading/Signing

Where All Things Flatten
May 18, 2024

Horizon Books Signing

Where All Things Flatten
June 9, 2024

Interlochen Writers Retreat Reading/Signing

Where All Things Flatten

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