• By: Scott Butterfield
  • Fiction
  • Buy Now

Bremen Lyons--musician, brother, son--is dead. Capsized in a storm along the Atlantic Coast. His family and friends, still fresh from shock, soon get another disorienting blow: Bremen has left behind a strange Last Will and Testament, including detailed instructions for a very unusual funeral, more akin to a celebration than a lamentation.

He's asked his father, Blaze Lyons, a solitary craftsman by trade, and who now entertains the idea of leaving the family, to be the gregarious bartender serving drinks to all the guests. He's asked his sister, Vera Lyons, homeschooled, barely eleven, wanting to run away from home, to give his eulogy in front of a big crowd. And his mother, Donna Lyons, a hospital administrator now plagued with migraines and hallucinations, is tasked with being the legally bound executor of his weird little wake.

On this vast and intimate night, PRELUDE weaves in and out of dozens of people’s lives as they move through the rambunctious proceedings, struggling with the reality of Bremen’s death, and what he’s ultimately asked each and every one of them to do. Through nine deep and distinct movements, rich in characters and events, PRELUDE travels the path of human connection, crossing the bridge from cold isolation to communal warmth, with the shared understanding that our brief, prismatic lives are worth the journey. 

"At long last, those of us who have been eagerly awaiting Scott Butterfield's first novel have reason to rejoice. PRELUDE is a woozy wondrous literary synesthesia filtered through the mind of a superlatives stylist. Butterfield's work brims with that rarest form of artistry: genuine originality."

—Anthony Marra

  • Scott on green couch with blue shirt and blue pants smiling at camera
  • Scott Butterfield was born in Wisconsin. He's a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. He currently lives in California.