Midnight Bowling

Midnight Bowling


A Novel

Quinn Dalton

Midnight Bowling is a brimming, brilliant, deeply American novel rooted in family secrets, young love, and the dark legacy of war. Dalton unlocks long-held, closely guarded family secrets in multi-layered love stories that play out over generations while revealing the beauty of lifelong devotion set against the backdrop of small-town American life. Dalton's writing is genius, and, with this novel, she's proven to be a true literary force of nature. —Julianna Baggott

Quinn Dalton gives us fascinating insights about bowling in this excellent novel, but she knows just as much about love’s complexities, particularly between fathers and their children. MIDNIGHT BOWLING rings true as a perfect strike. —Ron Rash

Midnight Bowling is a terrific novel, not only a page turner, but a substantial piece of love-work. The characters are persons, not characters. The place is place, not setting. The story is convincing, sometimes scary, and often heartwarming. But it is bowling that holds the narrative together. When I felt the power of the sport take hold of me, I knew the book was a solid triumph.—Fred Chappell

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Tess Wycheski is a standout bowler, just like her father before her. And just like her father, she is haunted and driven by the famous, career-ending humiliation he suffered at his first pro match. Joe teaches Tess that bowling is an art form and tries to coach her toward the success that eluded him. Then there’s Leo Florida, the ex-hustler bowling coach who figured in Joe’s youthful tournament disaster. No one knows why Leo abandoned his star student and his coaching job, where he went or what he has been doing all these years. But now he’s back in Sandusky, Ohio, and offering to coach Tess with his hard-nosed, streetwise philosophy. “Everything that happens between people is a deal struck,” Leo tells Tess. “Maybe for money, maybe for something else. Myself, I watch the money. Better odds.” Can Tess trust Leo after what he did to her father? Tess wonders if Leo, for all of his tough-guy posturing, still harbors some secret pain from his past and maybe an unseen agenda for the future. As she uncovers the complicated lives of the adults around her, Tess has her own complications to confront as she finds herself falling for Leo’s nephew, Donny. Can she trust this new love? And what about her own legacy? As she hones her skills and her determination, will she be willing to trust herself, even if that means leaving everyone she knows and loves in order to follow her dreams? Set against the backdrop of the Galaxy Bowling Lanes in Sandusky, Ohio, in the 1970s and ‘80s—a time when working-class America, and its favorite sport, was rolling into decline—Midnight Bowling is a story of guts, gutter balls, and the imperfect power of love.

Quinn Dalton is the author of the novel High Strung and two story collections, Bulletproof Girl and Stories from the Afterlife. She has published stories, essays, and articles on publishing and writing in literary and commercial publications such as Glimmer Train, One Story, Poets & Writers, Mediabistro.com, StoryQuarterly, the Indiana Review, and New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best. She won the Pearl magazine 2002 Fiction Prize for her short story, “Back on Earth.”  She received her MFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and lives in Greensboro, NC.