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Moonflower, Nightshade, All the Hours of the Day Book Cover

Moonflower, Nightshade, All the Hours of the Day
Winner of the 2018 Madeleine P. Plonsker Prize, selected by Lidia Yuknavitch

The debut short story collection of JD Scott
Publication Date: April 14, 2020
Publisher: &NOW Books (a Lake Forest College Press imprint)
Distributor: Northwestern University Press
Pages: 236 pages
ISBN13: 978-1-941423-05-9
ISBN10: 1-941423-05-1
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Book Description

The sly fabulism of JD Scott’s fiction casts its own peculiar spell upon the reader as it outlines a world unsettlingly similar to our own. Scott troubles the line between what is literary and genre, fairy tale and parable. In one story, a perfumer keeps his boyfriend close-at-hand by dosing him with precise measures of poison. In another, a comical domestic drama hinges upon the life and death of an ancient chinchilla. Scott pushes liminality with magical scrolls, a drowned twin returning from the sea, and a witty retelling of the Crucifixion where a gym bunny chops down a tree in the Garden of Eden—only to transform the wood into a cross for himself. This debut collection ends with an epic novella where a heroic teenager comes of age inside an otherworldly shopping mall that spans the entire globe. Visceral, dreamlike, and full of dazzling prose: Moonflower, Nightshade, All the Hours of the Day announces the arrival of a distinctive talent who challenges us to see our own endless possibilities—to find luminescence inside and beyond the shadows.

Advanced Praise for Moonflower, Nightshade, All the Hours of the Day

I was immediately smitten with the idea of the queer body as an epistemological site, as well as a real place where narrative meanings are generated and negated endlessly. The prose is breathtaking as it weaves its way through what appears to be real and then beyond, challenging what we mean by plot in the best ways. I am thrilled to imagine what innovations this writer can conjure.

—Lidia Yuknavitch, Plonsker Prize Judge

The stories contained in Moonflower, Nightshade, All the Hours of the Day are true bursts of light. JD Scott has curated a collection that takes all the wild magic of youth and love and transformed it into tender aches, beautiful little pains. The stories sit lodged in your chest and refuse to leave. Compulsively readable and immaculately written, Scott has honed their incredible craft into a book that readers will return to again and again. 

—Kristen Arnett, author of Mostly Dead Things

I didn’t read JD Scott’s vivid and visceral collection Moonflower, Nightshade, All the Hours of the Day as much as I absorbed it. Scales sloughed from my eyes. These richly saturated fictions flood the senses endlessly and everywhere. Look, there are new blues! See, there is a spectrum of ultra and infra delights! Not since Edmund White’s Nocturnes for the King of Naples have I felt so steeped, immersed, swaddled in liquid syntactical fictive maps, scaled to disorientated worlds of words more detailed than the things they represent. This light is all osmotic. These fictions, I see, make me see to see.

—Michael Martone, author of Brooding and The Moon Over Wapakoneta

This strikingly original collection is at once magical and achingly real, distinctive in its formal invention and its sly, inviting wit. Scott’s characters grapple with loss and desolation, but this is also a book about possibility and transformation. Moonflower, Nightshade, All the Hours of the Day marks the arrival of a major new talent.

—Dawn Raffel, author of The Strange Case of Dr. Couney

Review Pullquotes

“…Moonflower, Nightshade, All the Hours of the Day is a surreal and poetically-written foray into the familiar and the weird. It’s the kind of book that can make the quotidian seem fantastical and can evoke the banality of living in a world that might look wondrous on paper. This is a book that abounds with unlikely miracles and strange damnations; even so, Scott’s fiction is also about such resonant themes as ritual, grief, and the unknown. … Trying to pin [one story in the collection] down to one genre or style is impossible; instead, much of its power comes from its ability to move through liminal spaces between genres (and between expectations of genres). The same could be said for Scott’s collection as a whole. Neatly summarizing it isn’t easy, but experiencing it is rewarding indeed.”

“…JD Scott’s Moonflower, Nightshade, All the Hours of the Day might be called fabulist, literary, millennial, parable-ish, or bildungsroman, but, as soon as the collection seems pin-able, another enchanting element surfaces. Scott’s range and rhythms delight. In one story, an insomniac narrator ruminates on the nature of reality via Wile E. Coyote. In another, a chinchilla’s death precedes the death of a relationship. A mother disrupts time and space to rescue her son. A twin returns from a watery grave to help his sister make another kind of passing. In a post-apocalyptic world, all land is mall, and all mall is living, changing, organic matter. The collection sings with bicycles, flowers, the vastness of existence, and good old-fashioned obsessive relationships, all in the name of a deep and pleasing exploration of love, power, and commerce, and how to map a life within and without their bounds.”

Necessary Fiction

“. . . a dazzling collection of stories—part dystopian, part fabulist, and wholly immersive . . . Like stepping through a looking glass, the stories of Moonflower, Nightshade, All the Hours of the Day  skirt the edges of reality and shimmer with enchanting, otherworldly light.”

Foreword Reviews (starred review)

“When the mixture works. . ., [the genre-bending in the collection] seems effortless and magical. For instance, in one of these collection’s stand-outs, “Chinchilla,” a creature “hard to even see…as real” becomes a metaphor not only for the fragility of gay relationships but also for love in general. Similarly, in “Night Things,” a writer at a retreat in the Everglades, initially fearful of a strange neighbor he suspects of being a witch, discovers hidden sympathies that ultimately reveal his previous failings as a writer. The subtlety with which both of these themes emerge is surprising and exhilarating. Scott’s prose is both adept and poetic. . .

Gay & Lesbian Review (G&LR), Nov/Dec 2020 Issue

Book Awards


Teaching Guide

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[Online Teaching Guide]


  1. “The Teenager” — originally published in Tampa Review
  2. “Chinchilla” — originally published in Barely South Review
  3. “The Hand That Sews” — originally published in Mississippi Review
  4. “Cross” — originally published in Ninth Letter
  5. “Moonflower, Nightshade, All the Hours of the Day” — originally published in Sonora Review
  6. “Where Parallel Lines Come to Touch” — originally published in Cicada (Cricket Media)
  7. “Night Things” — originally published in Wyvern Lit
  8. “Their Sons Return Home to Die” — originally published in The Account
  9. “After the End Came the Mall, and the Mall was Everything” — brand new, never-before-published novella
  10. “Fordite Pendant” — originally published in Hotel Amerika