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God Bless America: Stories

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God Bless America: Stories Cover

ISBN13: 9780984592234
ISBN10: 0984592237
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Review:

"Almond (My Life in Heavy Metal) hears America singing, and the country is way off-key, at least in this collection of 13 irony-laden short stories. In the title offering, a would-be actor and Boston Tea Party re-enactor believes that America is the land of 'opportunists' and, through an improbable series of circumstances, accidentally proves this statement to be true. In 'Not Until You Say Yes,' a crabby airport security woman is forced to babysit an unaccompanied minor who turns out to have the larcenous heart of a natural-born con man. In the amusing 'Tamalpais,' a teenage waiter has a sweaty encounter with a drunken, lecherous female customer. In the collection's best effort, the Pushcart-winning 'The Darkness Together,' an overbearing mother and sullen teenage son on a train trip are forced into the company of a man who harrowingly insinuates himself into their deepest secrets. Two stories revolve around 9/11, but both are disappointingly glib. And in the final story, 'A Dream of Sleep,' an immigrant graveyard caretaker, about to lose his job because the land has been sold for redevelopment into a sports arena, gives sanctuary to a pregnant teen and tries to keep the specter of death from taking the baby she bears in the children's cemetery. Like William Carlos Williams, Almond is writing in the American grain, but the wood has become so warped that this collection about disaffected characters who can barely articulate their needs and fears defines a new American gothic." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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lukas, September 25, 2014 (view all comments by lukas)
I probably shouldn't review this because I have a personal bias, but what the heck. I used to live in Boston and I met Steve Almond once and I'll never forgot his answer to how his recent book tour was: "It was f***ing rock and roll man." Maybe he felt compelled to say that because his collection "My Life in Heavy Metal" (a misleading title, btw) had just come out. As an aspiring writer (well, aspiring to fail), maybe there was some envy, but I mostly thought he was a tool, which colors how I read his books. This generically titled collection of short stories isn't so much bad as bland. Speaking from experience, much of them seem like what you'd read in a community eduction writer's workshop. Although the gushing praise on the back cover, including quotes from big shots like Junot Diaz and Karen Russell, includes words like "provocateur," "hilarious," "ruthless," "original," and "sexy," I found none of that to be true. They seem like sub-Saunders stories, a little absurd, a little comic, a little relevant (and I don't even like Saunders). He may touch on big topics like Iraq, 9/11, a father dying, race, and sex, but it never feels anything but shallow. An exception is the final story, "A Dream of Sleep," which is a touching portrait of an elderly European man who is a caretaker of a cemetery, but Almond can't resist throwing in an implausible twist that ruins the mood he's created. Cool cover though! It's like two dudes in animal masks in a shrink's office.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780984592234
Author:
Almond, Steve
Publisher:
Hub City Writers Project
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Publication Date:
20111031
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English

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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

God Bless America: Stories Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$10.50 In Stock
Product details pages Lookout Books/University of North Carolina Wi - English 9780984592234 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Almond (My Life in Heavy Metal) hears America singing, and the country is way off-key, at least in this collection of 13 irony-laden short stories. In the title offering, a would-be actor and Boston Tea Party re-enactor believes that America is the land of 'opportunists' and, through an improbable series of circumstances, accidentally proves this statement to be true. In 'Not Until You Say Yes,' a crabby airport security woman is forced to babysit an unaccompanied minor who turns out to have the larcenous heart of a natural-born con man. In the amusing 'Tamalpais,' a teenage waiter has a sweaty encounter with a drunken, lecherous female customer. In the collection's best effort, the Pushcart-winning 'The Darkness Together,' an overbearing mother and sullen teenage son on a train trip are forced into the company of a man who harrowingly insinuates himself into their deepest secrets. Two stories revolve around 9/11, but both are disappointingly glib. And in the final story, 'A Dream of Sleep,' an immigrant graveyard caretaker, about to lose his job because the land has been sold for redevelopment into a sports arena, gives sanctuary to a pregnant teen and tries to keep the specter of death from taking the baby she bears in the children's cemetery. Like William Carlos Williams, Almond is writing in the American grain, but the wood has become so warped that this collection about disaffected characters who can barely articulate their needs and fears defines a new American gothic." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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