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"Insightful and bittersweet... a terrific novel." San Francisco Chronicle

"Graceful, wise, and tender." — Foreword Reviews (starred)

"Devastating and life-affirming" "Burned by Books"



Outer Sunset

(University of Iowa Press,

May 15, 2023

ISBN-13 : ‎ 978-1609388836)


The Man Who Owns Little

(Kindle Single)



"Outer Sunset is an altogether impressive debut, a wise, elegantly written book about a transformational moment for a family and their city."

 — Kevin Canfield, San Francisco Chronicle



"It is rare for a novel to probe the psyches of its characters as deeply as Mark Ernest Pothier does in Outer Sunset. Many writers don't even suspect such depths exist. They do, though, and here's the proof."

Richard Russo, author, Empire Falls and Somebody's Fool


"Outer Sunset traces one solitary man’s late reawakening and rediscovery of what was and still is best in his life. Mark Ernest Pothier’s debut is a wise and gentle meditation on last chances and the power of hope.”

Stewart O’Nan, author, Emily, Alone and Ocean State

Beautiful and touching, Outer Sunset tells a stirring father-daughter tale about facing impending loss with faith, hope, forgiveness, and healing.”

Foreword (starred review)

"The father and daughter at the heart of this beautiful novel entirely captured mine. Mark Ernest Pothier has written an affecting story, both serious and funny, about a self-sufficient middle-aged man who finds himself suddenly confronted with the messy work of love and forgiveness in the face of looming mortality. I read it with a sense of quiet urgency and finished it with great satisfaction.”

Julia Glass, author, Three Junes and Vigil Harbor

“[A]n original, compelling, memorable read by... an exceptionally gifted novelist with a genuine flair for the kind of narrative driven storytelling and impressively crafted characters that keeps his readers raptly engaged and fully involved.”

Midwest Book Review


"Outer Sunset is elegant but not showy, straightforward but not simple, serious but not humorless. Its subjects—money, disease, divorce, death, belief—are laid out in a pattern as complex as the layers of San Francisco life that every page of this novel reveals. The characters are complex too, rich and full of mystery and revelations and surprises. This is a deeply pleasurable and satisfying read.”

Valerie Sayers, author, The Age of Infidelity and Other Stories


News and Events

Invited participant in the Sacramento Literacy Foundation's annual gala

In this warm interview, host Chris Holmes finds Outer Sunset "devastating and life-affirming."

"I often get told: 'You have an old soul.'"

About persistence, dreams, and growing through art.

"New Arrivals" microreading on KALW 91.7 FM.

Reading and Q&A with the author in San Franisco.

"[A]n exceptionally gifted novelist... that keeps readers raptly engaged."

Outer Sunset's launch, in conversation with Rebecca Handler (Edie Richter Is Not Alone).

"...a wise, elegantly written book about a transformational moment for a family and their city."

To get on the same page as my 34-year-old wannabe-writer self, I interview him.

"Beautiful and touching ...a stirring father-daughter tale about facing impending loss with faith, hope, forgiveness, and healing."

Chosen with nine other fiction writers to participate in inaugural cohort of debut authors.

Mark Ernest Pothier

Mark’s debut novel, Outer Sunset (U. of Iowa Press), called "insightful and bittersweet — a terrific novel" by the San Francisco Chronicle and “beautiful and touching” by Foreword, was listed by Alta Journal in May 2023 as a "book to watch."


His work has won a Nelson Algren Short Story Award, been long-listed for the Pirates Alley/Faulkner — William Wisdom prize, and been published in the Chicago Tribune, LitHub, Santa Clara Review, Connotation Press, Kindle Singles, and elsewhere.


Mark grew up in Western Massachusetts and New York's "North Country," earned a BA from St. John’s College in Annapolis, and moved to San Francisco in 1987, where he earned an MFA from SF State. He worked nearly 30 years in nonprofit communications, including a wonderful spell with the California Council for the Humanities. He lives with his wife and kids in San Francisco.

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