Adam Johnson Emporium: Stories

ISBN 13: 9780142001950

Emporium: Stories

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9780142001950: Emporium: Stories

The "remarkable" (The New Yorker) debut story collection by the author of The Orphan Master's Son (winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize) and the story collection Fortune Smiles (winner of the 2015 National Book Award)

An ATF raid, a moonshot gone wrong, a busload of female cancer victims determined to live life to the fullest—these are the compelling terrains Adam Johnson explores in his electrifying debut collection. A lovesick teenage Cajun girl, a gay Canadian astrophysicist, a teenage sniper on the LAPD payroll, a post-apocalyptic bulletproof-vest salesman—each seeks connection and meaning in landscapes made uncertain by the voids that parents and lovers should fill. With imaginative grace and verbal acuity, Johnson is satirical without being cold, clever without being cloying, and heartbreaking without being sentimental. He shreds the veneer of our media-saturated, self-help society, revealing the lonely isolation that binds us all together.

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Review:

A disturbing sense of paranoia drifts through the nine stories in Emporium, Adam Johnson's stunning debut. But beneath the uneasy surface of the freakishly memorable landscapes depicted in this original collection lies the familiar trappings of adolescence: strip malls and cul-de-sacs, stifling suburbs, teenage crushes and rebellions, absent parents, and a frightening, unpromising future.

In "Teen Sniper," a lonely 15-year-old LAPD marksman, whose only friend is ROMS, the squad's bomb-detecting robot, can snuff out a life in a heartbeat from 475 meters away yet can't connect with the girl of his dreams standing right in front of his nose. In this unsettling story, the sniper visualizes the impact wounds of his victims--renegade employees of Silicon Valley software companies--as beautiful floral imagery.

Duck, you fool, I can't help whispering.
The slug goes, connects--a neck shot, my trademark, the wound lapping like the tongues of orchid petals. The target's knees go out, and he falls from view, dropping into the beige of his cubicle.
A real standout in this powerful collection is "Your Own Backyard." A former police officer turned rent-a-cop works the night shift at a Phoenix zoo, where he has the undesirable job of eliminating the unwanted animals ("young ones, old ones, sick ones, extra ones"). Yellow Post-it notes stuck to the guard shack serve as death sentences, his assignments for the night. This troubled father views his unpredictable young son's increased fascination with violence as the all-too-familiar shadow of a criminal mind in the making. "Trauma Plate" features a teenager acting out against her parents--who run a bulletproof-vest rental shop in a deserted strip mall--by daring her crush to take a shot at her Kevlar covered heart; a Louisiana family counts down the hours until the ATF slams into their home in the atmospheric "The Jughead of Berlin"; and in "The Death-Dealing Cassini Satellite," a 19-year-old slacker occupies his time by driving a party bus filled with the members of his late mother's cancer support group. Despite the unusually edgy nature of the stories, at its core, Emporium is surprisingly moving--its characters aching to connect in an ominous, uncertain world. Keep Adam Johnson on your literary radar; Emporium is a searing debut from a writer to watch. --Brad Thomas Parsons

About the Author:

Adam Johnson, a former Wallace Stegner Fellow, teaches creative writing at Stanford University. His fiction has appeared in Esquire, The Paris Review, Harper's, Missouri Review, and New England Review, as well as Best New American Voices. He is the author of the acclaimed novels Parasites Like Us and The Orphan Master's Son, winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction.

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Book Description Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. The remarkable (The New Yorker) debut story collection by the author of The Orphan Master s Son(winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize) and the story collection Fortune Smiles (winner of the 2015 National Book Award) An ATF raid, a moonshot gone wrong, a busload of female cancer victims determined to live life to the fullest these are the compelling terrains Adam Johnson explores in his electrifying debut collection. A lovesick teenage Cajun girl, a gay Canadian astrophysicist, a teenage sniper on the LAPD payroll, a post-apocalyptic bulletproof-vest salesman each seeks connection and meaning in landscapes made uncertain by the voids that parents and lovers should fill. With imaginative grace and verbal acuity, Johnson is satirical without being cold, clever without being cloying, and heartbreaking without being sentimental. He shreds the veneer of our media-saturated, self-help society, revealing the lonely isolation that binds us all together. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780142001950

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Book Description Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. The remarkable (The New Yorker) debut story collection by the author of The Orphan Master s Son(winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize) and the story collection Fortune Smiles (winner of the 2015 National Book Award) An ATF raid, a moonshot gone wrong, a busload of female cancer victims determined to live life to the fullest these are the compelling terrains Adam Johnson explores in his electrifying debut collection. A lovesick teenage Cajun girl, a gay Canadian astrophysicist, a teenage sniper on the LAPD payroll, a post-apocalyptic bulletproof-vest salesman each seeks connection and meaning in landscapes made uncertain by the voids that parents and lovers should fill. With imaginative grace and verbal acuity, Johnson is satirical without being cold, clever without being cloying, and heartbreaking without being sentimental. He shreds the veneer of our media-saturated, self-help society, revealing the lonely isolation that binds us all together. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780142001950

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