A single sparkling piece of glass begins a mosaic like no other . . .
Tormented by a slow burn flirtation that began when they were in college in the 1990s, artist Joel Grayson and his best friend, James, are still circling each other more than a decade later. Painting, partnership, and parenting have done little over the years to diminish their chemistry. When circumstances conspire to bring them back into each other’s lives on a daily basis, they find themselves once again compelled by a force beyond their control. As a mosaic of glass takes shape in Joel’s studio, jealousy and heartbreak consume the men once more. Caught in a labyrinth of fear and desire, Joel and James must decide once and for all who they are, and whom they love.
A stunning masterpiece that spans decades and crosses continents, Smoke and Glass unveils a world of love, lies, damage, and tenderness.
From the first pages of Smoke and Glass, Hritz captivates, deftly weaving the story of Joel, James, and Adam through time and with dual perspectives. With writing as poetic as it is page-turning, Hritz captures the complexity of relationships and the demons that haunt her characters.
- Jennifer Bloom, author of Within My Illusions
Jennifer Hritz is the author of Smoke and Glass, The Crossing and I, too, Have Suffered in the Garden. Winner of the Chris O’Malley Fiction Prize, she holds an M.A. in Literature and Language, as well as a Ph.D. in American Literature. Her short stories have been published in the Los Angeles Review and The Madison Review. She lives in Austin, Texas.
When his mother commits suicide in the winter of 1992, University of Texas sophomore Joel Grayson represses the circumstances surrounding her death and his fear that he might be responsible. His best friend, James, becomes his life line, supporting Joel’s attempts to create a space for himself and his art. But Joel’s past writhes beneath the surface, ready to seep through the cracks at any moment, leaving him unable to work. As memories of his childhood rise to the forefront, Joel reaches out to Adam, a one-night stand laden with possibility. Will Joel find salvation in Adam? Or will he summon the courage to save himself? From the author of I, too, Have Suffered in the Garden comes a story about longing, loyalty, and what happens when we lose ourselves in love.
Like Jennifer Hritz’s I, too, Have Suffered in the Garden, this is an unforgettable and courageous novel about the search for love and acceptance. The Crossing is one of the best novels I’ve read in a very long time.
- Ann Weisgarber, author of The Promise
Adam Atwater and Joel Grayson are an Austin couple in danger. Adam is chased by rabid ghosts: his former partner’s death from AIDS, his father’s cancer, his brutal job, his own lies. Joel watches from his art studio, desperately strategizing salvation. The story unfurls, tripping between destruction and forgiveness, driven by the suspense of desire and memory. When Joel persuades Adam to accompany him on a weekend getaway to celebrate their anniversary, Adam begins to understand that confessing the truth—the whole truth—will leave him on the verge of losing everything he holds dear. With poignancy, grace, and infinitely readable prose, I, too, Have Suffered in the Garden illuminates the legacy of psychological trauma, the ways in which the past can malign the present, and the sustainability of even the most fleeting sense of hope.
If you read one book this year, let this be it! I was completely blown away by Jennifer Hritz’s debut. Hritz’s talent for bringing characters to life on the page is tremendous. I felt these characters’ pain, their fear, their anger, their love. She writes with authority and without fear. Beautiful!
- J. H. Trumble, author of Don't Let Me Go
Click to view media publications
Storyprint Media Interview
Video Interview June 15, 2016.
One Page Salon
Video interview June 2020 (begins at min 49)
Podcast January 22, 2017
Podcast August 7, 2016
Magazine review December 1, 2010.
Smoke and Glass
Virtual Book Launch Party
Friday, October 23
7:30 pm CST
for Zoom details