Off-kilter, witty, often funny stories displaying sharp intelligence and love of language. A snooty goose disturbs a bored wedding guest in Italy; a fearful husband lets his wife investigate scary sounds in their abode; and a female academic theorizing on contemporary male preoccupation with facial hair are among the collection's delights. — Mike Hare
A masterly collection of eleven stories about the way we live now from the best-selling author of Netherland. From bourgeois facial-hair trends to parental sleep deprivation, Joseph O'Neill closely observes the mores of his characters, whose vacillations and second thoughts expose the mysterious pettiness, underlying violence, and, sometimes, surprising beauty of ordi-nary life in the early twenty-first century. A lonely wedding guest talks to a goose; two poets struggle over whether to participate in a "pardon Edward Snowden" verse petition; a cowardly husband lets his wife face a possible intruder in their home; a potential co-op renter in New York City can't find anyone to give him a character reference. On the surface, these men and women may be in only mild trouble, but in these perfectly made, fiercely modern stories O'Neill reminds us of the real, secretly political consequences of our internal monologues. No writer is more incisive about the strange world we live in now; the laugh-out-loud vulnerability of his people is also fodder for tears.
About the Author
JOSEPH O'NEILL is the author of the novels The Dog, Netherland (which won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and the Kerry Group Irish Fiction Award), The Breezes, and This Is the Life. He has also written a family history, Blood-Dark Track. He lives in New York City and teaches at Bard College.