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Closer All the Time (paperback)

Paperback, 208 pages, 5.5 x 8.5, Fiction

ISBN: 978-1-934031-67-4



Available as an e-book in these formats:

Amazon Kindle

Barnes and Noble Nook

Apple iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch

About this Book:

Winner of the 2016 Maine Literary Award for Fiction

The inhabitants of Baxter, Maine, are going nowhere fast—but not for lack of trying. In this deftly written jewel of a novel, veteran author Jim Nichols strings together the bittersweet stories of several different characters bound together by shared geography and the insular nature of small-town life. There’s Johnny Lunden, a well-meaning war veteran with a penchant for the local bar and a deep but doomed love for his family. There’s eight-year-old Ted Soule, who shares a first kiss with the Ophelia-like Nadia, the daughter of his Russian neighbors, and Tomi Lambert who observes the confusion of the adults around her as they struggle with accepting their fates. In a wonderfully authentic New England setting, Nichols explores the nature of connection––hoped for, missed, lost, and found.

Closer All the Time

"Closer All the Time offers a look at life in the fictitious small town of Baxter, Maine, through stories linked by common places and characters. The characters are powerful, and their struggles keep the reader flying along from chapter to chapter, even without a traditional narrative."
—Heidi Sistare, Maine Sunday Telegram 
For the full review, visit here.  

"These intertwined narratives create a memorable novel that vividly renders a town and its denizens. Jim Nichols never condescends to his characters. Though readers might question their choices in life, we never doubt their humanity."
—Ron Rash, author of Serena and Something Rich and Strange

"Jim Nichols is one of my favorite writers, not just because he writes with such—dare I say—feminine insight about men’s men. But I also love the oddball worlds he opens up: behind the scenes of a cheesy roadside attraction in Maine, the daily work of skycaps at an airport, the conversations between amateur boxers, the mechanics of flying a small plane. His men and boys become so real, I feel as if I know what it might have been like to grow up surrounded by brothers."
—Monica Wood, author of When We Were the Kennedys

“Jim Nichols makes me happy. These characters are parents, kids, aunts and uncles, lovers, neighbors, workers, deep and yet accessible selves.  They keep secrets then they share them, spy kisses, shoot high and fail, fall low and yet win. I felt like I was among friends, friends who worried me, challenged me, rejected me, loved me, paid back my attention, revealed their truest selves, moments so intimate I'd sneak off to read, moments so joyful I'd laugh through my tears.  Closer All the Time is a novel built of stories, and a story built of sentences so beautiful I want to keep them like wild honey in a jar.”
—Bill Roorbach, author of The Remedy for Love and Life Among Giants

Closer All the Time is perhaps best described as a succession of vignettes that accumulate to form a kind of community portrait, for it is Nichols’s mythical village of Baxter that tenderly cradles his character’s lives and their stories—and at a moment in our culture when there appears to be no surplus of authenticity, Jim Nichols tells those stories without ego.”
Josh Bodwell, Fiction Writer’s Review 
Read the full review and an interview with Nichols here.

“These beautiful stories follow a chronological progression, focusing first upon the youth of the town, then the tender infatuations of adolescence and the heartbreak and tribulations of adult life. The soul of the book is Baxter, a place where the locals scrape and struggle and try to understand why. Nichols makes it clear that despite the travails and confusion, there is always a tendril of hope that connects back to the community.”
Bill Lundgren, The Bollard
Find the full review here

"Jim Nichols' Closer All the Time shows his deep affection for the struggles and the heart of working class lives. In a style reminiscent of Hemingway, Nichols spare, plainspoken prose buzzes with emotional grit and tenderness, bringing dignity and vulnerability to alcoholics, poachers, and bullies. Damn Beautiful!"
Susan Henderson, author of Up from the Blue

“... the threads all intertwine to some extent creating a loose fabric of insightful, credible, and heart-warming tales from start to finish.”
James Fisher, The Miramichi Reader
Read the full review here

“[Jim Nichols] infuses his characters with that real, down home flavor, which easily resonates with the reader.”
––RJ Heller, BDN Blog “Life Downeast”
Read the rest of the review here


A Conversation with "Closer All the Time" Author Jim Nichols

A Conversation with

"Closer All the Time," a new novel by award-winning author Jim Nichols, is the first title to be selected for our annual fiction program. Writer and guest blogger, Jennifer Van Allen, sat down with Jim to ask him about his curious road to writing and the inspiration behind the book. 


Jim Nichols

About this Author

Jim Nichols grew interested in fiction writing while working as a ticket agent for a commuter airline in Rockland. Born in Brunswick and raised in Freeport, Maine, Nichols has worked variou



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