Chicago novelist and playwright Joe Meno has published his most ambitious work to date. The Nelson Algren Literary Award and Pushcart Prize winner and author of books such as Hairstyles of the Damned and Office Girl now offers up Marvel and a Wonder, which he describes as “a contemporary epic set in the midwest.” The story centers on Jim Falls, a man struggling to sustain his Indiana farm and to raise his 16-year-old grandson, Quentin, in the mid-90s. Jim is baffled by the arrival of a majestic white quarter horse, sent to him with a legal deed of transfer but no explanation. When the steed—a stocky breed known for speed—is stolen from them a short time later, Jim and Quentin set out to recover the one thing of beauty in their lives. The book’s launch party will also feature readings from Chicago writers Jan Bottiglieri, Julia Fine, Amy Giacalone, and Jan-Henry Gray.

Launch party and reading Thu 9/10, 7 PM, the Book Cellar, 4736 N. Lincoln, 773-293-265,, free.