A Vintage Shorts "Short Story Month" SelectionVelibor Vasovic is not political. He is a soccer player; has played for Partizan Belgrade and his national team. Scored Partizan's only goal against Real Madrid in the European Cup. He is the rock supporting any defense. But in 1966, he starts playing for Ajax Amsterdam, firmly in the West. And politics catches up to him. Jim Shepard is the wildly inventive guru of the historical fiction short story; a finalist for the National Book Award, and "one of the United States' finest writers" (Joshua Ferris). "Ajax Is All About Attack" is classic Shepard, from the collection Love and Hydrogen. An eBook short.
By National Book Award finalist Jim Shepard, a deeply affecting novel that will join the shortlist of classics about the Holocaust and the children whose lives were caught up in it. For readers of Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl, Kenneally's Schindler's List; Szpilman's The Pianist; Anne Michaels' Fugitive Pieces; Markus Zusack's The Book Thief; the works of Pimo Levi and Elie Weisel and Michael Chabon. When we meet Aron, he is a beguiling and perceptive and not always happy young boy coming into awareness of himself and his family's struggles. When soon they are driven from the countryside into Warsaw, their lives are changed forever. Aron and a group of boys and girls risk their lives scuttling around the ghetto, smuggling and trading things through the "quarantine walls" to keep their people alive, while they are hunted by blackmailers and Jewish and Polish and German police, as gradually things catastrophically worsen, people begin to disappear, and survival is threatened on all sides. Eventually, Aron comes to know Janusz Korczak, a Jewish-Polish doctor famous for his advocacy of children's rights, whose orphanage was relocated to the ghetto once the Nazis swept in. In the end, he and the children he takes care of, Aron among them, are brought to the station to be put on a train to Treblinka. The Book of Aron is a breathtaking novel of extraordinary craft, humanity, and masterful storytelling. Fearless, and devoid of sentimentality, it looks squarely into the face of unspeakable suffering, evil and lawlessness, revealing the persistence and strength of the human spirit despite all odds and the redemptive power of love. It is nothing less than a masterpiece.
The acclaimed National Book Award finalist--"one of the United States' finest writers," according to Joshua Ferris, "full of wit, humanity, and fearless curiosity"--now gives us a novel that will join the short list of classics about children caught up in the Holocaust. Aron, the narrator, is an engaging if peculiar and unhappy young boy whose family is driven by the German onslaught from the Polish countryside into Warsaw and slowly battered by deprivation, disease, and persecution. He and a handful of boys and girls risk their lives by scuttling around the ghetto to smuggle and trade contraband through the quarantine walls in hopes of keeping their fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters alive, hunted all the while by blackmailers and by Jewish, Polish, and German police, not to mention the Gestapo. When his family is finally stripped away from him, Aron is rescued by Janusz Korczak, a doctor renowned throughout prewar Europe as an advocate of children's rights who, once the Nazis swept in, was put in charge of the Warsaw orphanage. Treblinka awaits them all, but does Aron manage to escape--as his mentor suspected he could--to spread word about the atrocities? Jim Shepard has masterfully made this child's-eye view of the darkest history mesmerizing, sometimes comic despite all odds, truly heartbreaking, and even inspiring. Anyone who hears Aron's voice will remember it forever.From the Hardcover edition.
A rediscovered masterpiece: an unblinking view of the Holocaust through a child's eyes Told from the perspective of a child slowly awakening to the atrocities surrounding him, Childhood is a searing story of the Holocaust that no reader will soon forget. As five-year-old Jona waits with his mother and father to emigrate from Nazi-occupied Amsterdam to Palestine, they are awakened at night, put on a train, and eventually interred in the camps at Bergen-Belsen. There, what at first seems to be a merely dreary existence soon reveals itself to be one of the worst horrors humanity has ever created. A triumph of heartrending clarity and dispassionate amazement, Childhood stands tall alongside such monuments of Holocaust literature as The Diary of Anne Frank, Elie Wiesel's Night, and Primo Levi's Survival in Auschwitz. For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
A thirteen-year-old hatches a plan of escape, solace, and utter independence through a dream of flight that's both literal and figurative in this engrossing novel by National Book Award finalist Jim Shepard As beset by the world as any thirteen-year-old--and maybe a little more so--Biddy Siebert does his best to negotiate both the intimacies and isolations of his world and his own maddening and slightly comical idiosyncrasies. His ferocious younger sister hates everyone, including him; his sprawling Italian family, when it comes to emotional matters, has the touch of a blacksmith; and his Catholic school education provides a ready framework against which he can measure himself as continually falling short of the ideal. As his grades slip and his family begins to come apart, Biddy searches for a focus and finds one during a trip in a family friend's private plane: To rise above his troubles, he's going to have to learn to fly. Biddy resolves to steal the plane, having taught himself as a pilot through manuals and observation, and as he moves through the progressions of his plan, he slowly develops the confidence and independence he's going to need later in life. In this compassionate and honest portrait of the challenges, missteps, and small successes of adolescence, Biddy is an unforgettable character whose problems might seem common but whose solutions are often extraordinary.
A New York Times Notable Book:A lethal accident turns life into a waking nightmare for a mother and her son in this gripping novel of secrecy and dread Abandoned by her husband, Joanie Mucherino and her eleven-year-old son, Todd, struggle to cope while dealing with their comically tactless and intrusive Italian family. Further complicating things, Joanie now seems available to Bruno Minea, an old family friend whose two-decade passion for her has been unwavering and faintly frightening. When Joanie and Todd kill an acquaintance in a hit-and-run accident, they soon discover--to their horror--that they're keeping it a secret. But as the weight of their lies becomes more than they can can bear, their crime connects them to something even more sinister, as the victim had powerful, dangerous friends who will go to great lengths to avenge his death. Part family drama, part thriller, Kiss of the Wolf exemplifies the talents of National Book Award finalist Jim Shepard, author of 2015 favorite The Book of Aron, who crafts hilarious, spot-on dialogue with the same mastery he lends to the ingenious, page-turning plot, in which a loving mother is forced to confront her role as the architect of her son's anguished guilt.
A shy and apolitical herpetologist-in-training finds the weight of history bearing down on him as the effects of repression ramp up in his country In an unspecified country that combines elements of Chile under its military regime, South Africa under apartheid, and Italy under fascism, fifteen-year-old Karel Roeder asks only to be left alone to learn from Albert, his mentor at the zoo's reptile house, and to devote himself to his girlfriend, Leda. But both Leda and Albert lead him into increasingly proscribed areas of thought and speech, and thus into conflict with a newly ascendant party that intends to prosecute a border war against an officially despised ethnic group and criminalize dissent. Citizens have been disappearing and surveillance in the name of safety has become all-pervasive. When Kehr, a special assistant of the civil guard, billets himself at Karel's house for unknown reasons, Karel finds his already tenuous hold on his own innocence crushed as Kehr--tribune, inquisitor, and metaphysician of terror--instructs his unwilling protégé in those moments when history is let off the leash. Lights Out in the Reptile House is at once a dystopian political parable, a meditation on totalitarianism, and a moving coming-of-age story, as its protagonist struggles to understand his own values and meaning even in the most extreme of crucibles.
Following his widely acclaimed Project X and Love and Hydrogen--"Here is the effect of these two books," wrote the Chicago Tribune: "A reader finishes them buzzing with awe". Jim Shepard now gives us his first entirely new collection in more than a decade. Like You'd Understand, Anyway reaches from Chernobyl to Bridgeport, with a host of narrators only Shepard could bring to pitch-perfect life. Among them: a middle-aged Aeschylus taking his place at Marathon, still vying for parental approval. A maddeningly indefatigable Victorian explorer hauling his expedition, whaleboat and all, through the Great Australian Desert in midsummer. The first woman in space and her cosmonaut lover, caught in the star-crossed orbits of their joint mission. Two Texas high school football players at the top of their food chain, soliciting their fathers' attention by leveling everything before them on the field. And the rational and compassionate chief executioner of Paris, whose occupation, during the height of the Terror, eats away at all he holds dear. Brimming with irony, compassion, and withering humor, these eleven stories are at once eerily pertinent and dazzlingly exotic, and they showcase the work of a protean, prodigiously gifted writer at the height of his form. Reading Jim Shepard, according to Michael Chabon, "is like encountering our national literature in microcosm. "
I've been a problem baby, a lousy son, a distant brother, an off-putting neighbor, a piss-poor student, a worrisome seatmate, an unreliable employee, a bewildering lover, a frustrating confidante and a crappy husband. Among the things I do pretty well at this point I'd have to list darts, re-closing Stay-Fresh boxes, and staying out of the way. This is the self-eulogy offered early on by the unwilling hero of the opening story in this collection, a dazzling array of work in short fiction from a master of the form. The stories in Love and Hydrogen--familiar to readers from publications ranging from McSweeney's to The New Yorker to Harper's to Tin House--encompass in theme and compassion what an ordinary writer would seem to need several lifetimes to imagine. A frustrated wife makes use of an enterprising illegal-gun salesman to hold her husband hostage; two hapless adult-education students botch their attempts at rudimentary piano but succeed in a halting, awkward romance; a fascinated and murderous Creature welcomes the first human visitors to his Black Lagoon; and in the title story, the stupefyingly huge airship Hindenburg flies to its doom, representing in 1937 mankind's greatest yearning as well as its titanic failure. Generous in scope and astonishing in ambition, Shepard's voice never falters; the virtuosity of Love and Hydrogen cements his reputation as, in the words of Rick Bass, "a passionate writer with a razor-sharp wit and an elephantine heart"--in short, one of the most powerful talents at work today.
A New York Times Notable Book:The richly imagined fictional life of one of cinema's founding fathers from National Book Award finalist Jim Shepard In 1907, while waiting for a train that would take him from his quiet rural hometown to university in cosmopolitan Berlin, Friedrich Wilhelm Plumpe met Hans Ehrenbaum-Degele, the great passion of his life. Hans was the catalyst for Plumpe's transformation into F. W. Murnau, the filmmaker best known for directing Nosferatu--the iconic silent film adaption of Bram Stoker's Dracula--as well as The Last Laugh, Sunrise, and Tabu. As we follow Murnau from the airfields of the Great War to the cafés and clubs of Weimar Berlin to the virtual invention of filmmaking, and from there to the South Seas, we chart the progress of a man desperate to open himself to others but nonetheless continually "at home in no house and in no country." While devoted to those he loved, Murnau remained hamstrung by self-loathing and, like his vampiric creation, afraid of his own "terrible inhumanness." In his fascinating fictionalized biography of Murnau, Jim Shepard, author of the critically acclaimed The Book of Aron, brings both Weimar-era Germany and the early days of film to life in roaring, irresistible detail, delving into the heart and mind of a troubled genius and uncovering the inner turmoil of a reclusive and enigmatic cinema pioneer.
During the air war over Germany, the crew of a B-17 Flying Fortress tries to achieve some competence as a unit before their most catastrophic mission yet They call their plane "Paper Doll," the joke being its suggestion of flimsiness, inconsequence, and perishability, and none of them, from the veterans to the newcomers, feel the bravery they'd like to project. But now, despite their myriad limitations, they've been tasked with living through the tension and boredom of base life, saving one another's lives, and rejoicing at those missions they've survived--until they're confronted by the shock of a mission directed against the ball-bearing factories in Schweinfurt, a mission that will outfly the capacities of their fighter escorts and take them hundreds of miles through the most heavily defended sectors of the German Air Defense. National Book Award finalist and author of The Book of Aron Jim Shepard brilliantly illustrates both the lunacy and intimacy of these young men's lives on the ground as well as their growing disillusionment and terror at what lies ahead. Unsentimental and unsparing in its honesty, Paper Doll portrays with stirring clarity the realities of war and the bonds forged in the face of death.
n the wilderness of junior high, Edwin Hanratty is at the bottom of the food chain. His teachers find him a nuisance. His fellow students consider him prey. And although his parents are not oblivious to his troubles, they can't quite bring themselves to fathom the ruthless forces that demoralize him daily. Sharing in these schoolyard indignities is his only friend, Flake. Branded together as misfits, their fury simmers quietly in the hallways, classrooms, and at home, until an unthinkable idea offers them a spectacular and terrifying release.From Jim Shepard, one of the most enduring and influential novelists writing today, comes an unflinching look into the heart and soul of adolescence. Tender and horrifying, prescient and moving, Project X will not easily be forgotten.From the Trade Paperback edition.dicament is not their hatred of the world but their agonized and enduring love of it. Never before has Jim Shepard's compassionate virtuosity been on such conspicuous, unsettling, and haunting display.From the Hardcover edition.
This collection of thirty-eight terrifying tales of serial killers at large, written by the great masters of the genre, plumbs the horrifying depths of a deranged mind and the forces of evil that compel a human being to murder, gruesomely and methodically, over and over again.From Hannibal Lecter (The Silence of the Lambs) to Patrick Bateman (American Psycho), stories of serial killers and psychos loom large and menacing in our collective psyche. Tales of their grisly conquests have kept us cowering under the covers, but still turning the pages.Psychos is the first book to collect in a single volume the scariest and most well-crafted fictional works about these deranged killers. Some of the stories are classics, the best that the genre has to offer, by renowned writers such as Neil Gaiman, Amelia Beamer, Robert Bloch, and Thomas Harris. Other selections are from the latest and most promising crop of new authors.John Skipp, who is also the editor of Zombies, Demons and Werewolves and Shapeshifters, provides fascinating insight, through two nonfiction essays, into our insatiable obsession with serial killers and how these madmen are portrayed in popular culture. Resources at the end of the book includes lists of the genre's best long-form fiction, movies, websites, and writers.
An irresistible gift for dog lovers: poems from the dogs' point of view, written by the well-known writers & poets who love them. Filled with canine inspiration, 64 of our most respected literary lights have looked at the world from their dogs' points of view & discovered a remarkable range of thought & feeling. In styles as diverse as Arthur Miller's "Lola's Lament," Cynthia Heimel's "Sally," & Stephen Dunn's "Buster's Visitation," the results are by turns hilarious, silly, & deeply moving-as individual as the dogs themselves. The dogs hold forth formally (sonnets! villanelles! haiku!) & in free verse about the things that most concern them: food, play, food, & their masters. Photographs & drawings of the pooch poets accompany the verses.
In Watchlist, some of today's most prominent and promising fiction writers from around the globe respond to, meditate on, and mine for inspiration the surveillance culture in which we live. With contributions from Etgar Keret, T.C. Boyle, Robert Coover, Aimee Bender, Jim Shepard, Alissa Nutting, Charles Yu, Cory Doctorow, and many more, WATCHLIST unforgettably confronts the question: What does it mean to be watched?In Doctorow's eerily plausible "Scroogled," the US has outsourced border control to Google, on the basis that they Do Search Right. In Lincoln Michel's "Our New Neighborhood," a planned suburban community's 'Neighborhood Watch' program becomes an obsessive nightmare. Jim Shepard's haunting "Safety Tips for Living Alone" imagines the lives of the men involved in the US government's fatal attempt to build the three Texas Tower radar facilities in the Atlantic Ocean during the Cold War. Randa Jarrar's "Testimony of Malik, Israeli agent #287690" is "a sweet and deftly handled story of xenophobia and paranoia, reminding us that such things aren't limited to the West" (Sabotage Reviews) and Alissa Nutting's "The Transparency Project" is a creative, speculative exploration of the future of long-term medical observation.By turns political, apolitical, cautionary, and surreal, these stories reflect on what it's like to live in the surveillance state.
Following Like You'd Understand, Anyway--awarded the Story Prize and a finalist for the National Book Award--Jim Shepard returns with an even more wildly diverse collection of astonishingly observant stories. Like an expert curator, he populates the vastness of human experience--from its bizarre fringes and lonely, breathtaking pinnacles to the hopelessly mediocre and desperately below average--with brilliant scientists, reluctant soldiers, workaholic artists, female explorers, depraved murderers, and deluded losers, all wholly convincing and utterly fascinating.A "black world" operative at Los Alamos isn't allowed to tell his wife anything about his daily activities, but he can't resist sharing her intimate confidences with his work buddy. A young Alpine researcher falls in love with the girlfriend of his brother, who was killed in an avalanche he believes he caused. An unlucky farm boy becomes the manservant of a French nobleman who's as proud of his military service with Joan of Arc as he's aroused by the slaughter of children. A free-spirited autodidact, grieving her lost sister, traces the ancient steps of a ruthless Middle Eastern sect and becomes the first Western woman to travel the Arabian deserts. From the inventor of the Godzilla epics to a miserable G.I. in New Guinea, each comes to realize that knowing better is never enough.Enthralling and unfailingly compassionate, You Think That's Bad traverses centuries, continents, and social strata, but the joy and struggle that Shepard depicts with such devastating sensitivity--all the heartbreak, alienation, intimacy, and accomplishment--has a universal resonance.From the Hardcover edition.
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