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One of the most influential works of modern American fiction is available for the first time as an eBook, featuring exclusive content not found in the print editions, including an additional short story and original commentary from George Saunders and Joshua Ferris. Since its publication in 1996, George Saunders's debut collection has grown in estimation from a cherished cult classic to a masterpiece of the form and inspired an entire generation of writers. In six stories ("CivilWarLand in Bad Decline," "Isabelle," "The Wavemaker Falters," "The 400-Pound CEO," "Offloading for Mrs. Schwartz," "Downtrodden Mary's Failed Campaign of Terror") and a novella ("Bounty"), Saunders introduces readers to an unforgettable cast of characters struggling to survive in an increasingly haywire world. This eBook edition is the perfect occasion to discover or revisit a virtuosic, uniquely American voice. Now available are a bonus short story, "A Lack of Order in the Floating Object Room," originally published in 1986 but no longer in print; a new Afterword by George Saunders discussing his life and career at the time he wrote these stories; a new Introduction by National Book Award finalist and PEN/Hemingway Award winner Joshua Ferris; and an excerpt from Saunders's upcoming collection, Tenth of December. Praise for George Saunders and CivilWarLand in Bad Decline "There is no author I recommend to people more often--for ten years I've urged George Saunders onto everyone and everyone. You want funny? Saunders is your man. You want emotional heft? Saunders again. You want stories that are actually about something--stories that again and again get to the meat of matters of life and death and justice and country? Saunders. There is no one better, no one more essential to our national sense of self and sanity."--Dave Eggers "The debut of an exciting new voice in fiction . . . Saunders's satiric vision of America is dark and demented; it's also ferocious and very funny."--Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times "Not since Twain has America produced a satirist this funny."--Zadie Smith "George Saunders makes the all-but-impossible look effortless. We're lucky to have him."--Jonathan Franzen "An astoundingly tuned voice--graceful, dark, authentic, and funny--telling just the kinds of stories we need to get us through these times."--Thomas Pynchon "In CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, George Saunders is improvising around a single scary note. Few writers have sounded it with such clarity, boldness, and wit."--The Philadelphia Inquirer "Subversive, hilarious, and emotionally piercing. Few writers can encompass that range of adjectives, but Saunders is a true original--restlessly inventive, yet deeply humane."--Jennifer Egan "This book is a rare event: a brilliant new satirist bursting out of the gate in full stride, wildly funny, pure, generous--all that a great humorist should be."--Garrison Keillor "[Saunders has] shades of both Denis Johnson and Raymond Chandler. . . . By turns he's ferocious, witty, and uproarious, but what makes his fiction memorable is the gravitas of its dark portraiture of America."--The Boston Globe
This "landmark of the American literary century" (Boston Globe) is finally published as one volume, appearing with a brilliant new introduction. Sixty years after the publication of his great modernist masterpiece, Call It Sleep, Henry Roth, a retired waterfowl farmer already in his late eighties, shocked the literary world with the announcement that he had written a second novel. It was called, he reported, Mercy of a Rude Stream, the title inspired by Shakespeare, and it followed the travails of one Ira Stigman, whose family had just moved to New York's Jewish Harlem in that "ominous summer of 1914." "It is like hearing that...J. D. Salinger is preparing a sequel to The Catcher in the Rye," the New York Times Book Review pronounced, while Vanity Fair extolled Roth's new work as "the literary comeback of the century." Even more astonishing was that Roth had not just written a second novel but a total of four chronologically linked works, all part of Mercy of a Rude Stream. Dying in 1995 at the age of eighty-nine, Roth would not live to see the final two volumes of this tetralogy published, yet the reappearance of Mercy of a Rude Stream, a fulfillment of Roth's wish that these installments appear as one complete volume, allows for a twenty-first-century public to reappraise this late-in-life masterpiece, just as Call it Sleep was rediscovered by a new generation in 1964. As the story unfolds, we follow the turbulent odyssey of Ira, along with his extended Jewish family, friends, and lovers, from the outbreak of World War I through his fateful decision to move into the Greenwich Village apartment of his muse and older lover, the seductive but ultimately tragic NYU professor Edith Welles. Set in both the fractured world of Jewish Harlem and the bohemian maelstrom of the Village, Mercy of a Rude Stream echoes Nabokov in its portrayal of sexual deviance, and offers a harrowing and relentless family drama amid a grand panorama of New York City in the 1910s and Roaring 20s. Yet in spite of a plot that is fraught with depictions of menace, violence, and intense self-loathing, Mercy of a Rude Stream also contains a cathartic, even redemptive, overlay as "provocative as anything in the chapters of St. Augustine" (Los Angeles Times), in which an elder Ira, haunted by the sins of his youth, communes with his computer, Ecclesias, as he recalls how his family's traditional piety became corrupted by the inexorable forces of modernity. As Ira finally decides to get "the hell out of Harlem," his Proustian act of recollection frees him from the ravages of old age, and suddenly he is in his prime again, the entire telling of Mercy his final pronouncement. Mercy of a Rude Stream is that rare work of fiction that creates, through its style and narration, a new form of art. Indeed, the two juxtaposed voices--one of the "little boys swimming in a sea of glory," the other of one of those same boys "in old age being rudely swept to sea"--creates a counterpoint, jarring yet oddly harmonious, that makes this prophetic American work such an lasting statement on the frailties of memory and the essence of human consciousness. Mercy of a Rude Stream: The Complete Novels includes A Star Shines Over Mt. Morris Park, A Diving Rock on the Hudson, From Bondage, and Requiem for Harlem.
No one knows us quite the same way as the men and women who sit beside us in department meetings and crowd the office refrigerator with their labeled yogurts. Every office is a family of sorts, and the ad agency Joshua Ferris brilliantly depicts in his debut novel is family at its strangest and best, coping with a business downturn in the time-honored way: through gossip, pranks, and increasingly frequent coffee breaks. With a demon's eye for the details that make life worth noticing, Joshua Ferris tells a true and funny story about survival in life's strangest environment--the one we pretend is normal five days a week.
Every office is a family of sorts, and the ad agency Joshua Ferris brilliantly depicts in his debut novel is family at its strangest and best, coping with a business downturn in the time-honored way: through gossip, pranks, and increasingly frequent coffee breaks. Among the coworkers fighting for their jobs and their precious perks: Tom Mota, recently divorced and inexplicably wearing three company polo shirts, one on top of the other, every day; Joe Pope, a workaholic and perpetual victim of office sabotage; Carl Garbedian, whose unchecked depression has led him to "borrow" Janine Gorjanc's medication and black out his windows; Chris Yop, suspected of stealing tom Mota's chair; and Marcia Dwyer, with whom Benny Shassburger is in love, despite her mean streak and badly dated haircut. As one colleague after another is laid off, everyone strikes their best business-as-usual pose, pretending to make headway on the mysterious pro bono ad campaign that is their only remaining "work." Meanwhile tempers flare, office furniture disappears, and the survivors parse their bosses' decisions in ever-more paranoid sessions at the nearest bar.
A big, brilliant, profoundly observed novel about the mysteries of modern life by National Book Award Finalist Joshua Ferris, one of the most exciting voices of his generation Paul O'Rourke is a man made of contradictions: he loves the world, but doesn't know how to live in it. He's a Luddite addicted to his iPhone, a dentist with a nicotine habit, a rabid Red Sox fan devastated by their victories, and an atheist not quite willing to let go of God. Then someone begins to impersonate Paul online, and he watches in horror as a website, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account are created in his name. What begins as an outrageous violation of his privacy soon becomes something more soul-frightening: the possibility that the online "Paul" might be a better version of the real thing. As Paul's quest to learn why his identity has been stolen deepens, he is forced to confront his troubled past and his uncertain future in a life disturbingly split between the real and the virtual. At once laugh-out-loud funny about the absurdities of the modern world, and indelibly profound about the eternal questions of the meaning of life, love and truth, TO RISE AGAIN AT A DECENT HOUR is a deeply moving and constantly surprising tour de force.
He was going to lose the house and everything in it. The rare pleasure of a bath, the copper pots hanging above the kitchen island, his family - again he would lose his family. He stood inside the house and took stock. Everything in it had been taken for granted. How had that happened again? He had promised himself not to take anything for granted and now he couldn't recall the moment that promise had given way to the everyday. Tim Farnsworth is a handsome, healthy man, aging with the grace of a matinee idol. His wife Jane still loves him, and for all its quiet trials, their marriage is still stronger than most. Despite long hours at the office, he remains passionate about his work, and his partnership at a prestigious Manhattan law firm means that the work he does is important. And, even as his daughter Becka retreats behind her guitar, her dreadlocks and her puppy fat, he offers her every one of a father's honest lies about her being the most beautiful girl in the world. He loves his wife, his family, his work, his home. He loves his kitchen. And then one day he stands up and walks out. And keeps walking. The Unnamed is a dazzling novel about a marriage and a family and the unseen forces of nature and desire that seem to threaten them both. It is the heartbreaking story of a life taken for granted and what happens when that life is abruptly and irrevocably taken away.
He was going to lose the house and everything in it.The rare pleasure of a bath, the copper pots hanging above the kitchen island, his family-again he wouldlose his family. He stood inside the house and took stock. Everything in it had been taken for granted. How had that happened again? He had promised himself not to take anything for granted and now he couldn't recall the moment that promise had given way to the everyday.Tim Farnsworth is a handsome, healthy man, aging with the grace of a matinee idol. His wife Jane still loves him, and for all its quiet trials, their marriage is still stronger than most. Despite long hours at the office, he remains passionate about his work, and his partnership at a prestigious Manhattan law firm means that the work he does is important. And, even as his daughter Becka retreats behind her guitar, her dreadlocks and her puppy fat, he offers her every one of a father's honest lies about her being the most beautiful girl in the world. He loves his wife, his family, his work, his home. He loves his kitchen. And then one day he stands up and walks out. And keeps walking.THE UNNAMED is a dazzling novel about a marriage and a family and the unseen forces of nature and desire that seem to threaten them both. It is the heartbreaking story of a life taken for granted and what happens when that life is abruptly and irrevocably taken away.
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