Poor Advice and Other Stories


Winner of the 2016 New York Book Festival Award for General Fiction

Winner of the 2015 New Apple Literary Award for Excellence in Independent Publishing.


Spring to Mountain Press   
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                  PRAISE for POOR ADVICE and OTHER STORIES

Lou Gaglia has a knack for taking mundane, everyday tasks—like pumping gas, selling pools, and getting your car repaired—and turning them into the funniest and most damn profound stories you’ve ever read. Don’t let the title fool you. Gaglia’s stories are full of good advice. Just don’t take any of them too seriously or you may find your life in shambles.

 ─ NATHANIEL TOWER, author of Jealous Wives, Foolish Husbands

In Poor Advice and Other Stories, Lou Gaglia puts the entertainment back in literary fiction. Many of his characters seem laughable and misguided in their fumbling ways, especially with regard to their attempts at approaching the opposite sex, but the reader will come to love them for their heart-warming innocence. You will laugh, you will cry, but mostly you will go away remembering his vivid characters, his spot on dialogue, and his varying modes of conveying the stories in this unique collection, all of which reflect the talents of an outstanding fiction writer.

      — MITCHELL WALDMAN—author of Petty Offenses and Crimes of the Heart 

“What I like best about the people and places that populate Lou Gaglia’s Poor Advice is that they’re all familiar to me. But this is no mean familiarity. Anything but, in fact. These are the people that you meet in your dreams and the places you’ve visited only in your imagination: people whose correspondence fail to see the big picture, obsess over one random-seeming detail of their daily routine, are occasionally an orca. It’s nice to get to know them better

                                            — MATT ROWAN, author of Big Venerable

The downtrodden characters that populate Poor Advice chisel away at their blue-collar circumstances and by stories end, without your consent, there’s a fissure splintering your heart.  Lou Gaglia is a spellbinding writer who gathers material from the underbelly gutter-stuff and conjures up a bit of hope for the hopeless, a place to call home from the homeless, and a fighter’s chance at love for the lonely strangers who are, after all, a lot like us.

— JASON OCKERT—author of Wasp Box

“Shake yourself free from the restraints of the ordinary—enter the clever and oh-so-quirky mind of Lou Gaglia and his oddly so, strangely so, poignant cast of characters.”

                           — KATHRYN MAGENDIE—author of SWEETIE

His readers will find in Lou Gaglia’s Poor Advice a new voice in contemporary short fiction, a voice mad memorable by its sensitivity to language as it is spoken today, yet expressing the old verities of the human heart.

—EARL INGERSOLL, Emeritus Distinguished Professor of English, State University of New York at Brockport.

Years ago at a reading, the poet Traci Brimhall signed this reviewer’s copy of her book with a line from one of her poems: “Loneliness is the worst sort of freedom.” It is an unwieldy concept, yet Gaglia’s collection elucidates the freedom that comes from loneliness. Many of Gaglia’s characters are desperately lonely, but their loneliness also grants them the ability to tell their stories unapologetically. They are at once painfully self-aware and reckless in their bravado, making for a nuanced conversation with the reader: these characters may not be the type we go to for good advice, but isn’t there something worth learning from characters who confront ugliness with blind, clumsy hope, relinquishing their pride in the search for grace? The characters of Poor Advice may fumble, but the collection itself triumphs as it deftly slides from the gritty to the surreal, as it holds a mirror to the complex and clumsy machinations of the heart.

Catherine Carberry  — NECESSARY FICTION

In this collection, Poor Advice and Other Stories, Lou Gaglia expertly mixes the absurd and the poignant so that you aren’t overwhelmed by either…Gaglia’s voice is confident and confidential, like a friend of a friend you meet at a party that tells you a couple of stories and you want to hear more.


At first glance Gaglia’s stories are quirky, humorous, and have a wickedly wry ear for human desires. But slipped in between are thoughtful passages about what happens to us, why we do things, and what they mean in the grand scheme of things. And it is not as though the humor detracts from these deep and important questions. Perhaps, like the mocking, good-­natured, bocce­-playing grandfathers featured in his story “Little Leagues,” Gaglia knows that the hard questions are all well and good during a lifetime, but you aren’t getting much of anywhere without a few good laughs.

                                                                  — AT THE INKWELL

Poor Advice is an imaginative collection of stories for purveyors of the short story form as well as for readers who enjoy a new twist to the postmodern take on existentialism, rich and creamy with nostalgia, wit and humor, and surprise much like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates. My advice, dear reader, is not to sample Lou Gaglia’s stories, but rather to read ’em all!



Although, many of these stories are satirical and/or humorous, such as “Orca (A Madcap Thriller)”, a satire of Jaws, and “Days of Wine and Pratfalls,” about a waitress who infects her boyfriend with her clumsiness as she learns to be graceful by practicing yoga, some stories such as “Little Leagues” and “This Is My Montauk” delve into serious subjects such as the long-term effects of bullying and drugs in their narrators’ neighbourhoods. Both of these stories, due to their realism and candor, are worth the sum of all the humour and entertainment in this book. Poor Advice is a fine, well-balanced, collection of short stories and comes with “A Reader’s Guide” that could facilitate discussion of this book in secondary and tertiary educational settings. It is certainly one that will not disappoint either recreational and/or academic readers.


Poor Advice and Other Stories is a fantastic book of short stories written by Lou Gaglia. I would call these stories “short shorts”, as most of them are only a few pages long, making them very easy to read. The stories run the gamut from funny to sweet to weird to complex, and the cast of characters is delightful. From the carpet cleaner with a grudge to a young man making a trek to Rome to forget a lost love, to a Russian spy and an American priest, these stories and their characters will keep readers entertained.