"A fine entertainment, beautifully wrought." — New York Post


It's been four years since William "Belly" O'Leary left his beloved Saratoga Springs for the state penitentiary, but now that he's served his time on an illegal gambling charge, he's ready to reclaim his hometown. Trouble is, he's a stranger now: gone are the days when his swagger had all the girls swooning, when the bar he owned was a hot spot for hard-livers and hard drinkers, when his three surviving daughters bent over backward to please him or avoid his wrath. All his vices have been outlawed, all his haunts have been replaced with Wal-Marts and designer coffee shops, and all his daughters are defying him in one way or another. But Belly is undeterred-threats from his parole officer and neighbours don't scare him. Soon he's settling into his old habits and creating a mess wherever he goes. It's when he finally hits rock bottom that Belly is forced to re-evaluate his old life-and maybe it wasn't worth resurrecting after all. As he slowly acknowledges his past errors, he comes face to face with his biggest regret-the loss of his fourth daughter in a car accident years ago. The secret he's kept ever since conceals the shame of the worst mistake he's ever made.


Praise for BELLY:

"Davis has a lovely touch with homesickness and dark humor." — Publishers' Weekly

"Davis does a formidable job with most characterizations. In addition to the loutish Belly, supporting roles are uniquely drawn, and nearly every character's personal appearance and traits are smoothly and sufficiently unveiled so that each remains vivid, scene after scene." -- San Francisco Chronicle

"This debut effort by Lisa Selin Davis is the wonderfully crafted tale of a man who refuses to change with the times.... Highly recommended." --Bookloons

"A darkly funny book about reentry into the 'real' world." — Life Magazine

“What a triumph BELLY is – a novel as fetchingly told as it is deeply felt, a book as much about hope as it is about loss, and a reminder, wrought through with love, that ‘time and chance happeneth to all men.’ Lisa Selin Davis is a writer who knows our crooked kind, who understands what animates and beleaguers, and who has genius enough to make high art of the Bellys among us, those souls cut adrift in a world turned wonderless and strange. Belly, dear readers, is each of us who’ve ever awakened to discover the terror of self-deception and the horror of a past that can’t be outrun.”— Lee K. Abbott, author of WET PLACES AT NOON

"This novel starts to break our hearts from the get-go, while Belly stumbles forward looking somehow for his lost life. This crushing week is so closely wrought and so fully understood that it seems lived, occupied, real. Lisa Davis is an exciting new talent who knows men and women very well. Her stunning empathy for this family makes Belly a tour de force debut." — Ron Carlson, author of AT THE JIM BRIDGER

"Lisa Selin Davis has crafted a gritty, darkly comic, and sympathetic portrait of people left behind by changing economic times. Belly is more than a good first novel. It's a good novel, period." — Neal Pollack

"Lisa Selin Davis is an amazing writer. Sentence for sentence she's exactly the kind of writer I try to be, one who values the honesty and the life inherent in language itself, and through it creates a brand new world." — Daniel Wallace, author of BIG FISH

"Enter this marvelously rendered novel at your own risk. And be prepared: Booze, Broads, and the protolithic figure himself—Belly. Even his parole officer is a chick! This unblinkingly honest novel will have you laughing, well, from the belly. For in Belly there is a little bit of all of us, and Lisa Selin Davis positively delights in reminding us that though we may drink lattes, we are, nonetheless, the descendants of barbarians." — T.M. McNally, author of QUICK

"Read it when you've overdosed on tabloids and require something with actual substance." — Zink Magazine 

”If the way to a reader's heart is through his stomach, then BELLY, with its gut-jiggling humor and its sucker-punch sadness, will find a fast track to your ticker. A remarkably honest, and honestly remarkable, debut.” — Michael Lowenthal, author of AVOIDANCE

“Lisa Selin Davis’s character Belly O’Leary is a captivating train wreck. It’s impossible to look away from the glittering horror of a personality so twisted by alcohol, bad decisions and tough luck. Davis’s powerful prose and dark wit enthrall and entangle her readers in a world where men are men and life is like a sock in the jaw.” — Samantha Hunt

"In the character of Belly O'Leary, Lisa Selin Davis has performed that most mysterious of literary feats: she makes us care deeply about a man so flawed that he seems irredeemable. But no one is irredeemable in Davis's world--not the memory-haunted streets of her beloved Saratoga, or the man who seems to love the thrills of money and liquor more than his four daughters; not even the idea of redemption itself, which gleams in these pages like a jewel waiting at the farthest extent of an old man's grasp." — Rachel Pastan, author of THIS SIDE OF MARRIED

“BELLY is a stunner—at once tough and gorgeous, hip and deeply insightful. Davis' novel follows the self-propelled downfall and redemption of Belly, but it could very well describe our own worst moments and how we find our way out. BELLY is essential reading for anyone who looks around and sees not home but an alien landscape, which is to say most of us.” —Amy Benson, author of THE SPARKLING-EYED BOY

“Lisa Selin Davis writes with the verve and skill of a seasoned novelist. With wry, energetic prose and a range of insight both astonishing and entertaining, she creates, in the character of Belly O’Leary, a new addition to American literature’s panoply of unforgettable anti-heroes, whose contradictions, absurdities, tragedies and resiliencies make him a vibrant, roguish, quicksilver commentary on modern times.” — Melissa Pritchard, author of DISAPPEARING INGENUE and LATE BLOOMER