Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  John M. McNamara  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction

Audience: Adult;


-- Website --
-- John M. McNamara on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

John lives in Downers Grove, Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

John M. McNamara's short fiction has been published in Crosscurrents, Old Hickory Review, the Piedmont Literary Review, the Minotaur, Snapdragon, Four Quarters, FlashFiction, Quick Fiction, Bear River Review and Inside Running.In the summer of 1999, he was awarded a professional artist residency at the OxBow Summer Arts Program for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Saugatuck, Michigan. He lives in Downers Grove, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, with his wife.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

A Life Without Grace: A Novel
ISBN: 1452839867

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 2012

A Life Without Grace dissects a tense few days in the life of Grayson Eilers, a successful baby-boomer. Grayson, a freelance speechwriter, receives an urgent message from his sister that their mother has suffered a severe heart attack. She is alive, but her condition remains critical. For more than three decades, Grayson has compartmentalized his life, distancing himself physically and emotionally from the modest origins that his mother, his sister and his two brothers represent, while dedicating himself to his new family: his wife and two children. After a terse conversation with his sister, Grayson, feeling angry and helpless, accepts his inevitable moral imperative: returning to Omaha to confront family members with whom he has never shared any commonality. He arrives in Omaha on the eve of a spring snowstorm that delays the arrival of his wife and his two children, leaving Grayson isolated to cope with the cascade of both predictable and unexpected emotions inherent in his stressful reunion with his estranged family.

Hunter’s War A Novella and Selected Short Stories
ISBN: 1475086946

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 2012

Vietnam veteran Joseph Hunter recalls events from his service as a linguist in the Air Force during the war, as well as his friendship with Badger, a rebel and jester. He reflects on how his life, including his marriage to Lindsay, have been impacted by his experience, and he learns that no one is ever too old to change direction

A Final Reflection
ISBN: 1475079001

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 2012

When a Chicago attorney receives a terminal diagnosis, he ignores his wife's pleas and embarks on a solitary odyssey, visiting people who have influenced his life, to thank them and to say goodbye. For 30 days and 6,000 miles he drives through the Western U.S., each night making entries in a journal about the day's events, chronicling the trip and revealing to us how it morphs from the purpose he had intended into something else entirely.

He encounters qualities in his friends he had not seen before, and through these revelations, aspects of his own character are revealed to him. He discovers goodbyes are rarely surgical and the precise amputation of his relationships eludes him. No one seems willing to accept his visit as a final farewell.

A FINAL REFLECTION affords glimpses into the perceptions and intuitions of a middle-aged man laboring under a death sentence. He has yet to suffer any symptoms of the disease, so his grip on the reality of its progression remains tenuous. One friend tells him to accept the time allowed for his trip as a gift to be used wisely. Another counsels him to kill off his past and revel in the moment, seizing as many moments as he can eke out of his aborted future. Throughout each day of the journey, his love for his wife remains an unassailable constant...he confides in her nearly every night. At a crucial juncture in the trip, he realizes he no longer moves away from home, but toward it. Toward his wife.

Harmony House
ISBN: 1482366215

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 2013

In Harmony House, Dan Boyle attempts to adapt to his new life as a recent widower. His serial infidelities and alienation from his wife preceding her death haunt him, and as much as he wants to insulate himself from family, friends and neighbors, “untethering” from relationships proves difficult. Shedding obligations is easier wished than done. As he examines his behavior during his marriage and following his wife’s diagnosis and death, Dan accepts that he has failed to live up to his own standards, much less the standards of others. He is torn between admitting his shortcomings and ignoring them. Will he change and live his life as a decent man? Or will he persist in placing his own hedonistic impulses before the needs of others? Is redemption what he needs? Is it what he seeks? Or is it superfluous? A chain that tethers him to a life he wants to forget.

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (No)