Loss and rediscovery occupy the heart of this adventurous collection. The characters in Eternal Night at the Nature Museum find refuge in strange, repurposed spaces: a middle-aged addict emcees a demolition derby, which transforms into a hostel, then a cult; a church congregates in an abandoned Hardee's; octogenarians escape their nursing home; unsupervised children sell knives to the neighborhood. In a contemporary America blemished with loneliness and late-capitalism, there is no end to the fractured places in which these characters find ‘home.’ In twenty vivid, rowdy, buoyant stories—ranging from one-page flashes to thirty-page odysseys—Barton assembles a collection of unforgettable safe havens perfect for crashing, even if only for a night.
Buzzfeed, “18 Books From Small Presses You’ll Love”
Electric Lit, “Electric Lit’s Favorite Short Story Collections of 2021”
Independent Book Review, "The Best Books We Read This Year (2021)"
Debutiful, "THE DEBUTIFUL 6-PACK: GET TO KNOW 6 AUTHORS IN 6 QUESTIONS"
LEO Weekly, "Books With Kentucky Ties That You Should Buy For The Holidays"
Bookstore Plus, Official January Book Club Pick
"Eternal Night at the Nature Museum is a collection packed with stories that cut to the heart of living in contemporary America. In each story, Barton draws out empathy and imagination. A debut that is both gritty and hopeful."
—"18 Books from Small Presses You'll Love," Buzzfeed
"Barton impresses with his fresh voice and vibrant imagination."
"Funny, surprising, and disarmingly poignant stories that can appear laissez faire but are in fact, very finely crafted."
"Tyler Barton sticks the landing, in every story, every time. With each piece, we’re left in the great suspension of what might come next. What wild, bold possibility. Always, a new question. A trunk, opening."
—T Kira Māhealani Madden for Electric Lit, "Recommended Reading"
"[A] fragmented, strange, and vulnerable debut."
—“Electric Lit’s Favorite Short Story Collections of 2021,” Electric Lit
"[C]rackles with unbridled energy."
—"Awake to the World: Talking With Tyler Barton" by Katie Finnegan, The Rumpus
"Barton grounds surreal elements in settings that feel unequivocally real, which is perhaps what makes them so vibrant and believable. At the core of his ability to craft rich settings exists his distinctive style and command of detail—those seemingly small, specific inclusions that carry significant weight, impacting mood, atmosphere, and character. At the sentence level, Barton writes with precision and care. He possesses an eye for oddities, for the uncanny details that populate our lives."
—Craft Literary online, "Art of the Opening: Tyler Barton"
"A writhing portraiture of the losers, outcasts, and hourly workers across the ever-still landscape of small dusty towns in America."
—Independent Review, online
"Barton's stories are full of imagination."
—Adirondack Daily Enterprise, online and print
"As titles go, Eternal Night at the Nature Museum might be considered less-direct but akin to A Clockwork Orange in saying that modern actions and relationships seem to have gone haywire, with their organic bases recognizable but made peculiar by evolving social norms, cultural inertia and the like. But readers who open up to Barton’s stories will find they accrue quite an impact. But that doesn’t mean you have to be patient through a slow-burn: the collection opens with the equivalent of a rock ‘n’ roll anthem....As long as your gift-recipient reader can handle a sharp stylist who’ll show his absurdist (and sometimes just plain wise-ass) wit not only in plots but also in quick asides, this book’s a winner."
—LEO Weekly, online and print
“Startling, gritty, wistful, lonely, quick, sharp, hopeful, hopeful, hopeful. Yes, this is what you want to read.”
—Daniel Handler, author of Bottle Grove
“In these terrific stories, I hear echoes of Chekhov (clear-eyed humility), Barthelme (wackiness that breaks your heart), and Cheever (American bewilderment). Mostly, though, what I hear is the voice of a winning and graceful young writer with a gift for narrative and an instinctive feel for the American landscape in all its tilted, hopeless, hopeful splendor and misery.”
—David Leavitt, author of Shelter in Place
“Raucous, laugh out loud funny, explosively imaginative, every story in Eternal Night at the Nature Museum brims with heart. Barton's prose shines with earth quaking sonics, sentences with teeth, and characters to love, revere, and always remember. This collection is an instant favorite, a wild ride from which I never wanted to depart.”
—T. Kira Madden, author of Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls
"Eternal Night at the Nature Museum is a dizzying, brilliant collection, carried by Tyler Barton's hypnotic ability to pull narratives into the strangest places, grounded by his genuine love and empathy for his characters, no matter how broken they might seem. There is such a precision in his writing, to let the wildness bend and twist the narrative without ever losing the heart of what makes these stories so special. To borrow from Barton's own work, these are 'painfully beautiful' stories, and I could not love them more.”
—Kevin Wilson, author of Nothing to See Here
“A gem of a collection; fresh and special, full of heart. Fans of George Saunders and Gary Lutz will find a familiar.”
—Amelia Gray, author of Isadora
“The twenty-one stories in Tyler Barton’s extraordinary Eternal Night at the Nature Museum take the reader on a drift through in-between places populated by people in search of more permanent homes. In busted cars and hotel elevators, underground shelters and single-wide trailers, museums and assisted living facilities, churches and stages, these idiosyncratic and aggrieved weirdos, lovably disgruntled, seek sanctuary and try to succeed at impossible tasks. They want to help (or be helped) but don’t know how (or how to ask). The humor and humanity with which Barton depicts his characters’ plights is nothing short of a delight, and his cracked wit shines on every page.”
—Kathleen Rooney, author of Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey and Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk