Only a Lower Paradise

My second short story collection. Published in 2000 by Boheme Press (ISBN 1-894498-15-1). This book is  officially out of print. Boheme Press is out of business. The only way to obtain a copy of this book is from the author.


  • Quill & Quire (11/00)
  • Front & Centre (Spring 2001)
  • Word (08/01)

“It’s not often a short story collection makes you want to reread William Blake, but Michael Bryson’s Only a Lower Paradise does just that. While Blake presides over the entire work, it is in the longer title story that Bryson’s imaginative use of the great poet’s work reaps high dividends. … Throughout, as in the title story, Bryson shows a knack for combining emotional complexity with quirky workaday detail.” – Quill & Quire

“The book’s prose is succinct, Bryson’s imagination is loosey-goosey, and his insights on human behaviour are varied, apt, intelligent but never sanctimonious. Bryson is a writer confidently finding his stride; a new voice with much poise and promise. … The back cover blurb compares the story [in the title novella] to Vonnegut and Pynchon but I was thinking more of the absurd humour of Richard Brautigan and Beckett’s bleak sense of despairing humanity after reading this one.” – Front & Centre Magazine

“Highly influenced by the works of William Blake, Kurt Vonnegut and Northrop Frye, Bryson makes literary and pop cultural references throughout the collection. Mixing them up like a well-educated bartender, the mythology of our origins is served up with Beatles’ songs.” – Word

Advance praise: “Bryson’s fiction explores the point of high voltage that exists between electrodes of positive and negative, good and evil, joy and sorrow. With a wicked imagination which draws references from every corner of our culture, he elevates the reader into that unique, energized state where laughter and tears are equally appropriate reactions.” – Brian Panhuyzen, author of The Death of the Moon

Table of contents

Only a Lower Paradise
Boarder Guard
Waiting for a Miracle
Something Strange
Once Upon a Time
American Beauty
Watching the Lions
Crow Teaches City Boy a Few Tricks

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