Joanie Mucherino, abandoned by her husband and trying to cope with her comically tactless Italian family, kills an acquaintance with her car and then discovers, to her horror, that she and her son will keep the act a secret. Harvest American Writing series
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Jim Shepard (born 1956) was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He received a B.A. at Trinity College in 1978, his MFA from Brown University in 1980. He currently teaches creative writing and film at Williams College. Shepard's work has been published in McSweeney's, Granta, The Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, Harper's, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, Triquarterly, and Playboy. His short story collection: Like You'd Understand, Anyway won the Story Prize in 2008 and was nominated for a National Book Award in 2007. Project X won the 2005 Massachusetts Book Award.
Shepard's stories often rely on substantial historical research. His most recent collection Like You'd Understand Anyway includes stories about the Greek playwright Aeschylus and the Chernobyl disaster. The collection acknowledges over sixty non-fiction works that helped to shape the historical detail in the story.
From School Library Journal:
His wife, Karen Shepard, is also a novelist.
YA-The festivities surrounding a young boy's confirmation prove to be the ironic setting for the evil events that follow. The celebration is fraught with lighthearted bickering and tense, overprotective concern for Todd and his mother Joanie, both of whom are recovering from the recent abandonment by Todd's father. It is with a sense of relief and recklessness that the two leave the family party. Driving home, the woman hits a pedestrian and cannot bring herself to call the authorities; instead, she allows her son to absorb her guilt into his newly awakened spiritual consciousness. Todd has nowhere to go with his pain; Joanie, however, allows herself to be comforted by an old flame whose questionable ethics and boorish behavior once repulsed her. Readers will come to know the violent envy and brutal paranoia that motivate this man and will read with horrified fascination as he insinuates himself into Joanie and Todd's lives. The juxtaposition of the comical, mundane familiarity of the Mucherino family and of the savage character of Bruno, as well as the universality of the moral issues involved, raise this book above the ordinary thriller to the level of real human tragedy. A compelling and disturbing novel.
Jackie Gropman, Kings Park Library, Burke, VA
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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