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Celebrity Chekhov

by Ben Greenman

Q: What do Tiger, Paris, Lindsay, Alec, and Oprah have in common with the enduring characters of Anton Chekhov? A: Love, loss, pride, yearning, heartbreak, renewal, transcendence: the very stuff of life. The immortal stories of Anton Chekhov have long entranced readers with their insights into the universal truths of human behavior . . . but you've never read them quite like this. Former friends Nicole and Paris exchange prickly pleasantries in "Tall and Short." Talk-show host Dave narrowly averts another potential domestic crisis in "A Transgression." Reality star Kim shares her newfound notoriety with Khloe and Kourtney in "Joy." In a witty, graceful, and revelatory feat of literary reinvention, acclaimed novelist and humorist Ben Greenman takes nineteen of Chekhov's greatest stories and recasts them with some of the best-known luminaries of our time-with eye-opening, and oddly ennobling, results.

A Circle is a Balloon and Compass Both: Stories About Human Love

by Ben Greenman

A Circle is a Balloon and Compass Both is a collection of stories about love, the most elusive and problematic of all phenomena. With a mix of traditional, literary prose and bold-some might even say irresponsible-experimentation, Ben Greenman explores the ins and outs of modern romance. Expect tears, nudity, and recrimination. From the half-hearted summer affair between a part-time bartender and a married doctor in a Miami hotel to the cryptic pseudo-erotic love letters to a friend who is "more than a friend," we experience the love of pop songs, the love of cohabitation in Chicago, and love that is so transporting it takes us to the moon-literally. "Like Green Day did for punk rock, and The Matrix for kung-fu flicks, this new collection from New Yorker editor Greenman could well become an advocate for the short story with those who haven't been interested in the form. Amusing, palatable . . . it's precisely the sort of thing that can gain a new audience for a genre. " Time Out Chicago "A smart, tightly structured collection . . . playful, wryly comical. " The Brooklyn Rail "Seriously funny. " San Francisco Chronicle "Wildly inventive, sometimes surreal, but tenderly told, these stories give a glimpse of what Phillip K. Dick might have written if he'd allowed himself a sincere broken heart. " Paste Magazine

Mo' Meta Blues

by Ben Greenman Ahmir Questlove" Thompson

"You have to bear in mind that [Questlove] is one of the smartest motherfuckers on the planet. His musical knowledge, for all practical purposes, is limitless." --Robert ChristgauMO' META BLUESThe World According to QuestloveMo' Meta Blues is a punch-drunk memoir in which Everyone's Favorite Questlove tells his own story while tackling some of the lates, the greats, the fakes, the philosophers, the heavyweights, and the true originals of the music world. He digs deep into the album cuts of his life and unearths some pivotal moments in black art, hip hop, and pop culture. Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson is many things: virtuoso drummer, producer, arranger, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon bandleader, DJ, composer, and tireless Tweeter. He is one of our most ubiquitous cultural tastemakers, and in this, his first book, he reveals his own formative experiences--from growing up in 1970s West Philly as the son of a 1950s doo-wop singer, to finding his own way through the music world and ultimately co-founding and rising up with the Roots, a.k.a., the last hip hop band on Earth. Mo' Meta Blues also has some (many) random (or not) musings about the state of hip hop, the state of music criticism, the state of statements, as well as a plethora of run-ins with celebrities, idols, and fellow artists, from Stevie Wonder to KISS to D'Angelo to Jay-Z to Dave Chappelle to...you ever seen Prince roller-skate?!? But Mo' Meta Blues isn't just a memoir. It's a dialogue about the nature of memory and the idea of a post-modern black man saddled with some post-modern blues. It's a book that questions what a book like Mo' Meta Blues really is. It's the side wind of a one-of-a-kind mind. It's a rare gift that gives as well as takes. It's a record that keeps going around and around.

The Slippage

by Ben Greenman

William and Louisa Day are a suburban husband and wife, with no children, confronting the question of what their relationship means to them and if and how it will survive. One day, after weeks of bizarre behavior--disappearing in the middle of parties, hoarding mail--Louisa approaches William with a stark request: "I want you to build us a house. " Caught off guard, William is suddenly forced to reckon with his own hopes and desires, his growing discomfort at home and work, and, in the end, his wife's fight-or-flight ultimatum. The result is an emotionally powerful novel, marked by Ben Greenman's trademark blend of yearning and mordant wit.

What He's Poised to Do

by Ben Greenman

Ben Greenman is a writer of virtuosic range and uncanny emotional insight. As Darin Strauss has noted, "Like Bruno Schulz, George Saunders, Donald Barthelme, and no one else I can think of, Greenman has the power to be whimsical without resorting to whimsy." The stories in this new collection, What He's Poised to Do, showcase his wide range, yet are united by a shared sense of yearning, a concern with connections missed and lost, and a poignant attention to how we try to preserve and maintain those connections through the written word. From a portrait of an unfaithful man contemplating his own free will to the saga of a young Cuban man's quixotic devotion to a woman he may never have met; and from a nineteenth-century weapons inventor's letter to his young daughter to an aging man's wistful memory of a summer love affair in a law office-each of these stories demonstrates Greenman's maturity as a chronicler of romantic angst both contemporary and timeless, and as an explorer of the ways our yearning for connection informs our selves and our souls.

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