Squirrels in the Wall

Squirrels in the Wall—a novel told in stories by a collection of interspecies voices—presents a unique and darkly hilarious blend of human and animal perspectives in a single setting on a Wisconsin lake. The stories provide a kaleidoscope of heartbreak among both human and animal characters as they confront abuse and death. “They call me Herziger, but my real name is Woof,” the first story opens. “They call me a dachshund, but in reality, I am just a dog. I live with my mother among a pack of wild humans in a big house on a lake.” In the second story, “Squirrels in the Wall,” Herzie’s “human,” Barney Blatz, experiences a fire in that house when he is just four. The stories follow Barney from infancy to death, tracing the epic, ongoing conflict between him and Father—a bumbling tyrant guilty of shocking abuse but also capable of poignant redemption. On this rollicking journey, we meet a suicidal toad, a cat, two mice, a bee, Grandfather’s ghost, and a turtle who possesses Barney in a climactic tale of environmental activism gone awry. Other stories reflect the points of view of Barney’s mother, sister, and older brother; together, they construct a collage of spectacular family dysfunction—and of healing love.

Author: Henry Hitz

Publication Date: October 29, 2019


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“My mind is BLOWN. Hitz has exposed and bared his soul, poured his guts out, expounded on every profound question surrounding the mysteries of life, time, space, eternity, death . . . and offered meaningful solutions.”
—Will Wright, author of The Poetry of Living

Squirrels in the Wall is a unique collection of interwoven stories that explore the interactions between humans and animals in a single habitat. The stories range from hilarious to poignant. Henry Hitz’s sensitive portrayal of both humans and animals reminds us of the interconnectivity of nature. The narrative arc of the stories follow a human protagonist and his family, from infancy to old age, from heartbreak to reconciliation. Hitz displays a unique creativity with point of view to compose both a symphony and a cacophony of voices. A rollicking good read.”
—Alon Shalev, author of 2013 Eric Hoffer YA Book Award winner At the Walls of Galbrieth

“Henry Hitz laces this riveting, thought-provoking journey, Squirrels in the Wall, with dollops of juicy humor. Dogs, bees, a fox, humans, turtles, and other assorted critters—both dead and alive—all ponder, question, and wonder about that line blurring life and death. ‘Life is death’s dream?’ Under the masterful hand of Mr. Hitz, we are in for a thoroughly enjoyable and informative read.”
—Francine Thomas Howard, author of two Amazon bestsellers: Page from a Tennessee Journal and The Duke of Union County

About the Author

Henry Hitz taught preschool for thirty years. He divides his time between Oakland, California–where he lives with his wife, son, two sisters, two dogs, and a cat–and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where he first observed how the boat-tailed grackles and local teenagers all gather at the central jardín at sunset for precisely the same reason. He has published stories in Cube Literary Magazine, Magnolia Review, Scarlet Leaf Review, and Moonfish. His first novel, Tales of Monkeyman, won the Walter Van Tilburg Clark Prize. His novel White Knight was published in January 2016 by Wordrunner Press and reissued last year for the fortieth anniversary of Jonestown. He blogs at HenryHitz.com.