Front cover of The Registry of Forgotten Objects: Stories, by Miles Harvey, featuring a photo of a beach shoreline that is mostly sky, with an indeterminate metal object like a gateway or opening standing upright in the sand.

The Registry of Forgotten Objects


Miles Harvey

202 pp. 5.5 x 8.5

Pub Date: EXPECTED August, 2024

Subjects: Fiction

Series: The Journal Non/Fiction Prize

Imprint: Mad Creek

Preorder Paperback $22.95   ISBN: 978-0-8142-5914-6

The Registry of Forgotten Objects sated an appetite I hadn’t realized I had. Harvey’s fable-like stories conjure a world full of doors and subtle connections, a place both familiar and endlessly surprising. In our uncertain times, this book offers a powerful and necessary reminder that not only fear but also beauty resides in what is strange and unknown. This linked collection is masterful—one I’ll return to again and again.” —V.V. Ganeshananthan

“Like a magician pulling a rabbit from a hat, Miles Harvey plucks mysterious coins from cobblestones, a sphere from the sea, a dusty postcard from a not-quite-empty house. In this beautiful collection, both lives and objects glow, with the light and weight of choices and longings that echo across stories, relationships, years.” —Caitlin Horrocks

“By turns wry, heartbreaking, funny, and grief-haunted, these deceptively clear stories interlock to reveal wonderful depths, objects embodying the characters’ loves and losses diving below the waters only to resurface transformed. A beguiling read.” —Andrea Barrett

“This astonishingly beautiful book of interlocking stories has at its center things and people that are about to disappear. Sometimes what has been lost, however, can be recovered. It is as if all these stories compose one large story, an emotional journey of the lost and found. It should be read from beginning to end—people and things, such as a barber pole, migrate from one story to another. A wonderful book.” —Charles Baxter

The Registry of Forgotten Objects is impressive for the unique and inventive vision of the author. These stories consider the permanence that abides beneath the surface of all that leaves this world and the desire to believe that ‘everything is part of a pattern, everything rises.’ No truer words could be said about this collection. Miles Harvey is a masterful storyteller.” —Lee Martin

In this haunting debut collection, best-selling author Miles Harvey probes the mysterious relationship between human longings and the secret lives of inanimate objects. In one story, an artist discovers an uncanny ability to transform modern sculptures into priceless ancient treasures. In another, a teenager experiences visions of other people’s pasts while vandalizing their abandoned houses. In a third, a grieving couple returns again and again to the beach where their son disappeared, pulling plastic bottles, fishing nets, buoys, and other bits of beach trash from the surf “as if those random bits of wreckage were the untranslated hieroglyphs of some secret language that might help them understand their loss.”

Harvey—whose work Dave Eggers called “ludicrously unputdownable”—delivers a constellation of stories that explore the gravitational pull of material things: how they drift into and out of our hands, how they assume new meanings, and the ways they serve as conduits between the present and past, the everyday and incomprehensible. Most of all, he explores how these objects have the power to reveal strange and moving facets of the human condition.

Author photo

Miles Harvey is the author of The King of Confidence (a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice selection), Painter in a Savage Land, and The Island of Lost Maps. He teaches creative writing at DePaul University in Chicago, where he chairs the Department of English and is a founding editor of Big Shoulders Books, a nonprofit, social-justice publisher. The Registry of Forgotten Objects is his first work of fiction.


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The Registry of Forgotten Objects