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The Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards: Stories

by

The Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards: Stories Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

An enthralling and wise new collection from the author of Century's Son and one of America's most respected writers

I was twenty-nine years old and wanted to change before I hit thirty. Clete and I developed a plan for me . . . a plan that would work all that summer and beyond. Even after I left the mountain, it stuck.

Robert Boswells extraordinary range is on full display in this crackling new collection. Set mainly in small, gritty American cities no farther east than Chicago and as far west as El Paso, each of these stories is a world unto itself. 

Two marriages end, one by death, the other by divorce, and the two wives, lifelong friends, become strangers to each other. A young mans obsession with visiting a fortune-teller leaves him nearly homeless. And in the unforgettable title story, a man dubbed Keen recounts the summer he spent on a mountain with his best friend, Clete, and a loose band of slackers, living in a borrowed house, abstaining from all drugs (other than mushrooms and beer)—and ultimately asking just what kind of harm we can do to one another.

 

Robert Boswell is the author of five novels, two short-story collections, and a collection of essays. He teaches creative writing at New Mexico State University, the University of Houston, and in the Warren Wilson College MFA Program.

Robert Boswells extraordinary range is on full display in this crackling new collection. Set mainly in small, gritty American cities no farther east than Chicago and as far west as El Paso, each of these stories is a world unto itself.
 
Two marriages end, one by death, the other by divorce, and the two wives, lifelong friends, become strangers to each other. A young man's obsession with visiting a fortune-teller leaves him nearly homeless. And in the unforgettable title story, a man dubbed Keen recounts the summer he spent on a mountain with his best friend, Clete, and a loose band of slackers, living in a borrowed house, abstaining from all drugs (other than mushrooms and beer)—and ultimately asking just what kind of harm we can do to one another. Boswell's unexpectedly affecting characters and exuberant prose make The Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards a substantial work.

"For more than 20 years, Robert Boswell has written stories and novels about wayward men and women in the American heartland whose compasses could use recalibrating. From Dancing in the Movies, his debut 1986 story collection, to his most recent novel, Centurys Son, he shows a sensitive and comprehensive under­standing of the quirks that can shake a person off course: from fear, passivity and pride to external knocks and dings that are easier to spot, harder to fix. Boswells new collection, The Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards, brings together 13 stories of misfits next door, captured in moments when circumstance drags them in new directions . . . Boswell inlays smooth, polished judgments into unsanded models of working-class and middle-class lives, setting off aspects of the characters makeup that they could not or would not reveal themselves."—Liesl Schillinger, The New York Times Book Review"Heartbreakers from a writer who knows how to do it right."—Kirkus Reviews

"Boswell vividly depicts characters whose problems in coming to terms with life and love are complicated by the fact that meanings and perceptions keep shifting in unexpected ways. The title story is arranged as a document written by a man undergoing rehab or seeking a parole from prison. As he confesses to a life of drug-induced confusion and violence, he more than once comes upon someone who appears to be dead, only to have that person come surprisingly to life. That he remains under the influence of hallucinogenic mushrooms for much of the story only partially explains his misperceptions. Some of the stories are very short sketches or vignettes of brief encounters of a sexual or violent nature, while the longer stories are more novelistic and include large casts of characters and complex narratives. Boswell, whose style and subject matter is somewhat reminiscent of Tobias Wolff and Robert Stone, is a virtuoso of descriptive prose, and handles the psychological and emotional imagery with skill."—Jim Coan, Library Journal

"In this imaginative story collection, author Boswell examines the limits and losses of ordinary souls with technical mastery and profound sympathy. In 'No River Wide,' a widowed woman visiting a longtime friend in Florida discovers that their friendship is over; her story unfolds in overlapping narratives that form a startling, resonant meditation on the nature of time. Another story finds a 30-something returning to his North Dakota home to identify the body of his missing mother; what he finds instead frees him from the long shadow of his embittered father. In the title story, a gang spends the summer squatting in the home of a vacationing family, with dire consequences; in 'Supreme Beings,' a priest's attempts to intervene in the lives of three troubled youths lead him to confront personal and professional failure. Boswell conveys the sordid but hopeful inner lives of average people with insight and care; his shorter stories ('Miss Famous,' 'Skin Deep') showcase his pleasure in language and invention, and his longer tales pack the emotional weight of a novel."—Publishers Weekly

Review:

"In this imaginative story collection, author Boswell (Century's Son) examines the limits and losses of ordinary souls with technical mastery and profound sympathy. In 'No River Wide,' a widowed woman visiting a longtime friend in Florida discovers that their friendship is over; her story unfolds in overlapping narratives that form a startling, resonant meditation on the nature of time. Another story finds a 30-something returning to his North Dakota home to identify the body of his missing mother; what he finds instead frees him from the long shadow of his embittered father. In the title story, a gang spends the summer squatting in the home of a vacationing family, with dire consequences; in 'Supreme Beings,' a priest's attempts to intervene in the lives of three troubled youths lead him to confront personal and professional failure. Boswell conveys the sordid but hopeful inner lives of average people with insight and care; his shorter stories ('Miss Famous,' 'Skin Deep') showcase his pleasure in language and invention, and his longer tales pack the emotional weight of a novel." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

An enthralling and wise new collection from the author of "Century's Son." Set mainly in small, gritty American cities, each of these stories is a world unto itself.

Synopsis:

Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards is an exhilarating collection, as brash as it is wise, by Robert Boswell one of our great storytellers

Set mainly in small, gritty American cities, each of these stories is a world unto itself. A mans obsessive visits to a fortuneteller leave him nearly homeless. Time collapses as two marriages slowly dissolve. And in the searing title story, a young man recounts the summer he spent in a mountain town, squatting in a borrowed house with a loose band of slackers, abstaining from all drugs (other than mushrooms)—and ultimately asking just what kind of harm we can do to one another.

Synopsis:

An enthralling and wise new collection from the author of Century's Son and one of America's most respected writers

I was twenty-nine years old and wanted to change before I hit thirty. Clete and I developed a plan for me . . . a plan that would work all that summer and beyond. Even after I left the mountain, it stuck.

Robert Boswells extraordinary range is on full display in this crackling new collection. Set mainly in small, gritty American cities no farther east than Chicago and as far west as El Paso, each of these stories is a world unto itself. 

Two marriages end, one by death, the other by divorce, and the two wives, lifelong friends, become strangers to each other. A young mans obsession with visiting a fortune-teller leaves him nearly homeless. And in the unforgettable title story, a man dubbed Keen recounts the summer he spent on a mountain with his best friend, Clete, and a loose band of slackers, living in a borrowed house, abstaining from all drugs (other than mushrooms and beer)—and ultimately asking just what kind of harm we can do to one another.

 

About the Author

Robert Boswell is the author of five novels, two short-story collections, and a collection of essays. He teaches creative writing at the University of Houston.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781555975241
Subtitle:
Stories
Author:
Boswell, Robert
Publisher:
Graywolf Press
Subject:
Short Stories (single author)
Subject:
Stories (single author)
Subject:
Short stories
Subject:
United States Social life and customs.
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20100831
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
9.00 x 6.00 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards: Stories Used Hardcover
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Product details 272 pages Graywolf Press - English 9781555975241 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In this imaginative story collection, author Boswell (Century's Son) examines the limits and losses of ordinary souls with technical mastery and profound sympathy. In 'No River Wide,' a widowed woman visiting a longtime friend in Florida discovers that their friendship is over; her story unfolds in overlapping narratives that form a startling, resonant meditation on the nature of time. Another story finds a 30-something returning to his North Dakota home to identify the body of his missing mother; what he finds instead frees him from the long shadow of his embittered father. In the title story, a gang spends the summer squatting in the home of a vacationing family, with dire consequences; in 'Supreme Beings,' a priest's attempts to intervene in the lives of three troubled youths lead him to confront personal and professional failure. Boswell conveys the sordid but hopeful inner lives of average people with insight and care; his shorter stories ('Miss Famous,' 'Skin Deep') showcase his pleasure in language and invention, and his longer tales pack the emotional weight of a novel." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , An enthralling and wise new collection from the author of "Century's Son." Set mainly in small, gritty American cities, each of these stories is a world unto itself.
"Synopsis" by , Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards is an exhilarating collection, as brash as it is wise, by Robert Boswell one of our great storytellers

Set mainly in small, gritty American cities, each of these stories is a world unto itself. A mans obsessive visits to a fortuneteller leave him nearly homeless. Time collapses as two marriages slowly dissolve. And in the searing title story, a young man recounts the summer he spent in a mountain town, squatting in a borrowed house with a loose band of slackers, abstaining from all drugs (other than mushrooms)—and ultimately asking just what kind of harm we can do to one another.

"Synopsis" by ,

An enthralling and wise new collection from the author of Century's Son and one of America's most respected writers

I was twenty-nine years old and wanted to change before I hit thirty. Clete and I developed a plan for me . . . a plan that would work all that summer and beyond. Even after I left the mountain, it stuck.

Robert Boswells extraordinary range is on full display in this crackling new collection. Set mainly in small, gritty American cities no farther east than Chicago and as far west as El Paso, each of these stories is a world unto itself. 

Two marriages end, one by death, the other by divorce, and the two wives, lifelong friends, become strangers to each other. A young mans obsession with visiting a fortune-teller leaves him nearly homeless. And in the unforgettable title story, a man dubbed Keen recounts the summer he spent on a mountain with his best friend, Clete, and a loose band of slackers, living in a borrowed house, abstaining from all drugs (other than mushrooms and beer)—and ultimately asking just what kind of harm we can do to one another.

 

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