Assorted Fire Events: Stories

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9780007135066: Assorted Fire Events: Stories

Wonderfully moving, these are important, generous stories; compassionate expressions of what can destroy, bewilder and console.

This is a tremendous collection from an hugely exciting author. These stories are bold, daring and generous and herald the arrival of one of America’s most talented writers.

From a married man consummating a hazy summer affair and getting lost in a reverie that explains the ‘far-away look in his eyes’ to a recently widowed woman who must decide what to do with the video of her honeymoon love-making, David Means probes the depths of the human heart. The stories are panoramic in scope and exhilirating in their narrative twists; a starving tramp interrupts a wedding reception in New York, altering the lives of all those who are present; a Depression-era hobo clings to the underside of a freight train as it roars through the desert night; a business executive sheds his shoes for an evening walk along the railway tracks and straight into the heart of darkness.

This is a writer who is willing to take a few risks. And through these risks he creates worlds of longing and tragedy; an impression of wholeness emerging through his characters’ scattered lives. Bound to attract critical praise, these tales delve deeper than most stories being published today.

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Review:

One of the best American collections of the last ten years…This is food for the hungry.’ Jonathan Franzen

‘His writing blazes with originality and self-assuredness…A striking new voice in American fiction.’ The Times

‘Worlds collide and spring apart…this sort of thing happens all the time in life, yet I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone bother to express it so devastatingly in literature.’ Guardian

‘There are stories in this collection that expose the pain of growing up, or the lies within marriage, as well as anything written by anyone, anywhere…The finest collection of stories to appear in years.’ Scotsman

‘Means presents the perfect detail at the perfect time. He has a tender, but revealing grasp of human frailty and – that rare thing – a gift for finding and conveying dignity to his characters.’ A.L. Kennedy

‘An unsettling, fiercly felt debut collection. His prose can sometimes give you lives in single sentences. In its rigour and controlled sense of experiment, it is reminiscent of some of the best of the more singular American short story writers of the last few decades.’ Observer

‘We care for the characters as if we have known and loved and detested them forever…An exceptional book.’ Scotland on Sunday

‘The roll-call of honour, from Eudora Welty, to John Cheever, John Updike, William Maxwell, to Richard Ford, Tobias Wolff and Annie Proulx, is long and rich. Just when it seemed that things could get no better, along comes David Means.’ Irish Times

‘Extraordinary accomplished.’ Matt Thorne, Independent on Sunday

‘These are brittle, masculine stories of shifting surfaces and hard edges, true insight and tenderness.’ Daily Telegraph

From the Back Cover:

This is a tremendous collection from an exciting new American voice. These stories are bold, daring and generous and herald the arrival of one of America’s most talented writers.

From a married man consummating a hazy summer affair and getting lost in a reverie that explains the ‘far-away look in his eyes’ to a recently widowed woman who must decide what to do with the video of her honeymoon love-making, David Means probes the depths of the human heart. The stories are panoramic in scope and exhilirating in their narrative twists; a starving tramp interrupts a wedding reception in New York, altering the lives of all those who are present; a Depression-era hobo clings to the underside of a freight train as it roars through the desert night; a business executive sheds his shoes for an evening walk along the railway tracks and straight into the heart of darkness.

This is a writer who is willing to take a few risks. And through these risks he creates worlds of longing and tragedy; an impression of wholeness emerging through his characters’ scattered lives. Bound to attract critical praise, these tales delve deeper than most stories being published today.

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