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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.
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.
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.
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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