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Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (2003-10-17)
ISBN-10/ISBN-13: 0393324796 / 9780393324792
Amazon.com Sales Rank: 908823
A 2004 Vacation Reading (selected by The New York Times)
“Each of these 33 stories can take the reader off guard between Carlson's skills and his imagination; ‘Plan B for the Middle Class,’ for instance, on the surface a story about a married couple's first vacation without their children, grows to become the recollection of the narrator's romantic coming-of-age.”
"These stories are full of surprises, jolts, and lightning strikes of recognition. Do yourself a favor and read Ron Carlson." ―Stephen King
Ron Carlson's stories, sometimes wicked or bittersweet, often zany, are rich with a hard-earned hopefulness frequently absent in contemporary fiction. In this generous gathering from collections no longer available, longtime fans and new readers alike can savor the development of a master of idiosyncrasy.
Properly celebrated for his range, Carlson offers us a rural sheriff who's wary of UFOs ("Phenomena"), a lawyer on a mission in remote Alaska ("Blazo"), a baseball player turned killer-by-accident ("Zanduce at Second"), and a nineteen-year-old who experiences an unsettling sexual awakening during an Arizona summer ("Oxygen"). Here also is a man accusing Bigfoot of stealing his wife, followed by Bigfoot's incomparable response. Not least of the treasures is "The H Street Sledding Record," a story perfect for family holiday reading, in which a young father creates the magic of Santa by throwing manure on his roof on Christmas Eve.
This book proves Carlson's axiom that "a short story is not a single thing done a single way," and it offers us―finally―a full view of his remarkable talents.
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