Dahlia Cassandra

Dahlia Cassandra is finding its way to indie bookstores nationwide.

Dahlia Cassandra
By Nathaniel Kressen. Artwork and Photographs by Jessie T. Kressen.
Second Skin Books, 2016. 306 pp.

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Best of 2016 Fiction Books – Entropy

“The most wonderful thing about the way Kressen writes is that he’s direct–digestible to many while still remaining literary. He has the classic skill of Salinger in this way.” – PANK

“Recommended. A subtle thriller. A compelling, nuanced read.” – Luna Luna Magazine

“A philosophically deep, psychologically potent, and linguistically complex novel that reads at the pace of a thriller or romance novel.” – GAMBA Forest


A pair of teenage siblings are abandoned on an Idaho farm where nothing will grow. Junior struggles to look after his younger sister – waking before dawn each morning to sell papers in the nearest town – but finds hope in whistling elaborate songs he imagines hold deeper meaning. His sister Tike, meanwhile, feels their mother’s absence deeply but rarely lets her emotions cloud her judgment. She takes comfort inventing secret lives for the models in her beloved fashion catalogues, reciting their inner monologues aloud. Above all, the siblings draw strength from each other – until the arrival of two strangers in town awakens new thoughts and desires, leading to an unthinkable act of passion that sends the pair spiraling apart.

From the author of Concrete Fever comes a haunting, heartfelt story of a family in the throes of change, a novel about faith and fantasy that examines the emptiness that resides within all of us, and the things we do to fill it.

Read an excerpt

In the town’s lone diner

Read the whole thing

buy a signed copy


Dahlia Cassandra features a Rorschach-inspired gatefold cover, interior artwork, and color photographs by Jessie T. Kressen.

The husband-and-wife team spent a week living out of a campervan in Idaho’s Craters of the Moon & surrounding areas following the first draft’s completion. The experience significantly reshaped the novel.

A mythological character figures prominently in Dahlia Cassandra. While in Idaho, Nathaniel encountered the character’s name printed on the side of the RV in the adjacent campsite — a good omen for revisions.

This novel was workshopped as part of the Greenpoint Writers Group.

Book Trailer: Video by Nathaniel Kressen. Concept by Nathaniel & Jessie T. Kressen. Song “Shed Skin” by Paul Hull courtesy of Subtle Soup Records. All rights reserved. 

Dahlia Cassandra by Nathaniel Kressen