Ed Falco

Ed Falco's latest book is the novel, Transcendent Gardening (C&R Press, 2022). His previous books include the poetry collection Wolf Moon Blood Moon (LSU, 2017), and the novels Toughs (Unbridled Books, 2014) and The Family Corleone (Grand Central, 2012). The Family Corleone was developed from a screenplay by Mario Puzo, spent several weeks on The New York Times Best Seller and Extended Best Seller lists, and so far there have been twenty-one foreign editions. His most recent short story collection is Burning Man (SMU, 2011). His previous short story collections are Sabbath Night in the Church of the Piranha: New and Selected Stories (Unbridled Books, 2005), Acid (University of Notre Dame Press, 1996), and Plato at Scratch Daniel's and Other Stories (University of Arkansas Press, 1990). He is also the author of four novels: Saint John of the Five Boroughs (Unbridled Books, 2009), Wolf Point (Unbridled Books, 2005), A Dream with Demons (Eastgate Systems, 1997), and Winter in Florida (Soho, 1990), as well as a collection of literary and experimental short fictions, In the Park of Culture (University of Notre Dame Press, 2005), and a collection of hypertext short fictions, Sea Island (Eastgate Systems, 1995). Ed's plays--The Center, Possum Dreams, Sabbath Night in the Church of the Piranha, and others--have mostly been produced and read in and around Blacksburg, Virginia, where he teaches in Virginia Tech's MFA program, and he edits The New River, an online journal of new media writing.

Transcendent Gardening


Transcendent Gardening

Transcendent Gardening is a master class in character and motive, and Ed Falco is an absolute poet of human frailty and calamity. He finds wonder even in the deepest pain. This novel is sometimes dark, often funny, and always wise. I couldn’t put it down."

–Alyson Hagy, author of Scribe

“In Transcendent Gardening, Ed Falco is processing the collective trauma of gun violence in America. This is urgent, compelling reading.”

–Julianna Baggot, author of Harriet Wolf’s Seventh Book of Wonders

“Ed Falco knows how we all hurt, how we all deceive ourselves, most of all how the mechanisms of the mind can tragically misfire. Transcendent Gardening is terrifying.”

–Kyle Minor, author of Praying Drunk

Wolf Moon Blood Moon


Wolf Moon Blood Moon

Audio Recording of "Wolf Moon," from The Southern Review

Audio Recording of "Quantum Theory," from The Southern Review

Audio Recording of "Morning Voices," from Poem-a-Day

“Ed Falco’s poetry debut Wolf Moon Blood Moon is achingly beautiful.  Primarily about loss, these poems embrace not only those we lose to death, but the parts of ourselves we lose with time—the loss of a child when that child becomes grown; the loss of lovers; the loss of memory; even the loss of memory imagined. Falco has a profound understanding of violence, and particularly poignant are the poems about mass shootings, domestic brutality, war, and natural disasters.  Fiction writer extraordinaire, Falco is a first-rate storyteller in this exquisite, intelligent, cadence-filled verse.  By embracing melancholy, Falco paradoxically shines light, affirming the human spirit. Wolf Moon Blood Moon reads as an ode to our very lives.”

— Denise Duhamel

Deeply grounded in the natural world, Wolf Moon Blood Moon reckons with history and memory, with violence and grace.  With a poet’s ear and a novelist’s instinct for the stories that matter, Falco had provided us a necessary tonic and a deeply satisfying book.

--Beth Ann Fennelly 



Virginia This Morning CBS 6 Toughs Interview

WVTF Robbie Harris NPR Interview

"Toughs is a deftly imagined novel that weaves together real life gangsters and the recorded violence on the streets of New York in 1931 with a cast of rich, compelling characters caught up in the ruthless criminal world. . . . Readers who discovered Falco through The Family Corleone will find Toughs to be a satisfying follow up. Long-time readers of the author will be glad he took his talents deeper into the world of crime . . ." --South85 Journal

"The action moves from the mean streets of the Bronx to basement speakeasies and the fabled Cotton Club, showing Falco's grip on environments from cold-water tenements to greasy spoons. . . . an intriguing read for crime-fiction fans." -- Kirkus Reviews

"This hard-hitting crime novel . . . adeptly captures the dichotomy of the times—from the ruthlessness of life in the Bronx to the glittering revues of the Cotton Club." --Publisher's Weekly

"A novel with this many bodies could get repetitive and lose its punch after a while. That never happens here, thanks to a blistering pace, well-rounded characters, and moral dilemmas that are never pat. Recommend to fans of historical fiction, and those who like their novels with a lot of action and a bit more substance." —Library Journal

"Toughs is a fascinating foray into a small segment of Depression-era New York. The atmosphere takes the reader into the speakeasies, homes and streets. The clothes, the music, the language, the smell of foods, it all comes alive and transports readers back.  Falco includes the violence but not the gore. He takes readers far enough visually to engage their own imaginations and lets them do the rest. This is a book that dims the lights around you and allows you to get lost in another time and place, if only for a little while. If you're a fan of gangster stories, great character-driven novels or period pieces, be sure to put Toughs on your reading list." -- Jen's Book Thoughts 

The Family Corleone

The Family Corleone

"In The Family Corleone, Ed Falco deftly pulls off a feat of literary necromancy, bringing back to life one of the most iconic figures in American popular culture: Don Vito Corleone." -- George De Stefano, author of An Offer We Can’t Refuse: The Mafia in the Mind of America (Faber & Faber/Farrar, Straus, Giroux), and member of the National Book Critics Circle. Link to full review here.

"When you see this book, buy it. It is written with love for the characters and respect for Puzo. It is also a story that won’t quit and I couldn’t stop reading. Falco brought me back to a world I love and did it perfectly. As far as I’m concerned this is THE BOOK to buy in 2012." --Jon Jordan in Crimespree Magazine.

"Falco has captured Puzo’s rich prose style and eye for detail ... if you want to read another installment of the Corleone story, The Family Corleone is a solid piece of work." --Patrick Anderson in The Washington Post Book World. Link to full review here.

"This is an excellent adult book from start to finish and seems to kindle once again how the five families in New York evolved into the Mafia. This is a five star book, which is highly recommended." --Clark Isaacs, Clark's Eye on Book, The Desert Independent.

NPR With Good Reason radio interview on writing The Family Corleone.

CNN Profiles: Ed Falco's The Family Corleone

"The Book Job" The Family Corleone trailer, premieres on Entertainment Weekly.

The Washington Post Picks The Family Corleone as one of five "Best Audiobooks of 2012"

Movies Never Made, podcast interview by Nathan De Leon

Burning Man

Burning Man


Falco remains one of the most powerful short fiction writers of his generation.––The Notre Dame Review

At once gritty and visionary, Falco’s stories combine the nerve and edge of classic noir fiction with a transcendent lyricism. This synthesis––of the sinister and immanent, evil and sublime––gives his work its indelible emotional depth and uncanny resonance. The sensibility is somewhat akin to that of Chandler or Carver, yet Falco’s fiction is as distinctive as it is mesmerizing. No one has written anything quite like these deeply engrossing, lovely-harrowing stories. --Alice Fulton, author of The Nightingales of Troy

A splendid book of stories that ravish and ennoble and hearten, even as the news remains bad. Falco has more talent than ought to be legal or mortal. I can't imagine a better book of stories will be published this year. —Lee K. Abbott, author of All Things, All at Once: New and Selected Stories

Ed Falco is an enchanter who casts his spell with what Ford Madox Ford called the ‘fresh usual word,’ with impeccable sentences, and with unerring and exquisite details. These unsettling explorations of men at a dangerous age, whose quiet lives are often haunted and shaped by loss, are savvy, fearless, and achingly beautiful. Burning Man represents Ed Falco at the height of his considerable narrative powers. What talent, what nerve, what a wondrous and spellbinding collection. —John Dufresne, author of Requiem, Mass.


Saint John Cover


Saint John of the Five Boroughs

In times of ordinary violence, Falco’s superbly engaging novel is a primer in the art of picking up the pieces. —American Book Review

A saga of a family ruptured and an artist discovering herself, in which far-flung elements knit together skillfully, movingly—and not a little frighteningly.  As always in Falco, the drama is dominated by its women, seen frankly yet with empathy.  Early missteps all but hobble the women here, younger and older.  But this winning accomplishment, a new benchmark for its author, reminds us that few things can be so beautiful as a scar.—John Domini on Emerging Writers’ Network

An enjoyable read, a rich and redolent work that recaptures an evocative experience of simply settling down and getting lost in a good book.— Blogcritics.org


Saint John Cover


Wolf Point

Think of Edward Falco as William Blake with cinematic potential. As with Blake's famed paeans to the lamb and the "tyger tyger, burning bright," Falco's novel seeks to "shew the two contrary states of the human soul," to dissect innocence and experience down to the rumbling guts. . . . Falco goes deep to explore themes of purity and corruption, beauty and decay, stupidity and wisdom . . . ––Tiffany Lee Youngren, The San Diego Union-Tribune

. . . Readers fond of stripped-down thrill rides through a dark, Gothic world will settle happily into their reading chairs. But as lean as it is, "Wolf Point" is up to something more complicated. On a deeper level, it is about the knowability of the self. Whether we can ever know ourselves or -- perhaps more troubling -- ever really know others. --. . . a cunning exercise that playfully thwarts its readers' expectations. ––Doug Childers, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Front Page Review)

Falco's prose is cold and brisk, with occasional flashes of hard-boiled eloquence, and the story hurtles like a brakeless truck toward its bloody denouement. ––Sunday New York Times Book Review


Saint John Cover


Sabbath Night in the Church of the Piranha

What is truly imaginative in these characters is the sense of vulnerability, like a fine patina, over the coarseness of their exteriors. These are real men and women who grapple with a stark reality that often reveals the complexity of existing in a world fraught with danger—frequently a danger welling from within. . . . Perhaps this is Falco’s greatest strength as a writer, his ability to refract the edgy depths of doubt, fear, and rage so that the reader finds herself saying, “Yes, that’s how it is. That could be me.” —Jen Henderson in New Pages.Com

As one might surmise from Falco's titles, he is an original and vivid writer. In this outstanding collection, Falco excels at depicting the darkness that lurks within, yet he addresses this gritty reality with a soaring lyricism. --Joanne Wilkinson in Booklist

Edward Falco, in his collection of short stories, Sabbath Night in the Church of the Piranha: New and Selected Stories, stylistically recalls the grotesque of Flannery O'Connor, the economy of diction of Ernest Hemingway, and the 'Dirty Realism' of Raymond Carver, with stories that hauntingly expose the grit and challenge of the everyman and everywoman -- characters who are us at the most primal of levels, but who are, too, the freakish darker parts of we who would only imagine doing or enduring what his characters endure and do. ––Magill Book Reviews



Falco remains one of the most powerful short fiction writers of his generation.
––The Notre Dame Review


Falco's stories convey an intensity of feeling that all too many contemporary stories are missing. A Falco story can be depended on to be interesting––keenly observed and deeply explored––compelling in a way that makes one want to read every word.
––Stuart Dybek