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We're All in This Together: A Novella and Storiesby Owen King
Synopses & Reviews
Imaginative, gripping stories and a funny, poignant novella set in Maine after the 2000 presidential election make up this exciting literary debut.
Owen King is a writer interested in the choices we make when we're most conflicted. A young husband must decide whether or not to commit a ghoulish crime; a baseball player in a fantastic 1930s Coney Island is assailed by the guilt of an illicit romance; a nineteenth-century itinerant dentist finds himself snowed in with a group of trappers for a long evening of primitive surgery and laughing gas reveries. Whether they're set in the past or the present, tinged with the macabre, the solemn, or the absurd, all of the stories in this collection carry the weight of real emotion and revelation and showcase King's impressive versatility.
In his novella, King tells the story of George, the teenage son of a single mother, and the only grandson of a family of union organizers in Maine. George's grandfather Henry, obsessed with the outcome of the 2000 election, has planted a giant billboard of homage to Al Gore in his front yard that he suspects has been defaced by the paperboy, now a sworn enemy. Meanwhile, George's mother is about to marry Dr. Vic, who, besides being possessed of an almost royal obliviousness, may even have voted for George W. Bush. George is a nervous accomplice to his grandfather's increasingly unhinged behavior, and a righteous adversary at war with his mother over her marriage. George's struggle is a funny and moving parallel for our times: How will we fight? All together, or all alone?
Funny, insightful, and always entertaining, We're All in This Together launches the career of an extraordinarily talented writer.
"From the 26-year-old scion of literary giant Stephen King comes a compelling, imaginative debut collection of four short stories both creepy and heartfelt, plus a compassionate novella about a 15-year-old son of a single mother. Set in Maine around the 2000 election, the title novella captures the teenage narrator's anger over his mother's impending marriage to Dr. Vic, while his family, led by a union organizer grandfather, seethes over Bush's election. George lays siege to his mother's relationship and helps his grandfather build a sniper's nest from which to attack the paperboy who defaces the old man's 'Al Gore is the Real President' sign. Freaks and weirdos — external symptoms of his protagonists' inner struggles — people King's shorter stories, which strive to balance the lurid with a reach for emotional truth. In 'Wonders,' about a baseball player who takes his pregnant girlfriend to a Coney Island circus freak abortionist, the macabre and the heartfelt feel discordant, and the story ends with unearned violence. But in 'Frozen Animals,' King achieves a surreal blend of gory, vivid description of unanesthetized dental surgery layered with the drug-addicted dentist's intermittent memories of a happier past. This original collection heralds the arrival of the next generation. Agent, Amy Williams. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"The title novella of King's first collection is its heart and soul: a powerful exploration of the flimsiness of political moral certainty....The novella...like all great storytelling, has real strength. Newcomer King is a talent to watch." Kirkus Reviews
"[T]he novella is terrific; the accompanying stories less so — [King's] is a voice well worth hearing....Read this book for the novella alone. It wouldn't have taken many more pages to have made it into a worthy first novel, and it shines with promise." Hartford Courant
"King possesses a rare understanding of the macabre side of our workaday lives....We're All in This Together has enough moments of crystalline insight into human folly to prove he's finding a voice and an artistic sensibility all his own." Andrew Ervin, The Washington Post
"Owen King knows a thing or two about our yen for hate, and he has made it a potent subtext of his literary debut....Some day, when historians are frantically looking for artifacts of our Age of Hate, I think they will stumble upon We're all in this Together." Denver Post
"Owen King manages to take all of these characters and their idiosyncratic lives and weave stories that are darkly hilarious, truthfully touching, and leave the reader in no doubt that we really are all in this together." San Antonio Express-News
"An exceptional debut...Funny and poignant, these stories are textured gems."--People (four-star critic's pick)
The stories in this collection, along with Owen King's brilliant title novella set in Maine after the 2000 election, carry the weight of real emotion and revelation and showcase the impressive versatility of a rising talent.
An adolescent encounters a giant reptile in the unlikeliest of places, a rundown shopping mall; a baseball player in a fantastic 1930s Coney Island is assailed by the guilt of an illicit romance; a nineteenth-century itinerant dentist finds himself snowed in with a group of trappers for a long evening of primitive surgery and laughing gas reveries. The stories in this collection, along with King's brilliant title novella set in Maine after the 2000 election, carry the weight of real emotion and revelation and showcase the impressive versatility of a rising talent.
About the Author
Owen King grew up in Bangor, Maine. He is a graduate of Vassar College and holds an M.F.A. from Columbia University, and his stories have appeared in Book Magazine and the Bellingham Review. He has been nominated for a National Magazine Award and is a recipient of the John Gardner Award for Short Fiction. He currently resides in Brooklyn.
Table of Contents
We're all in this together 1
Frozen Animals 137
My Second Wife 199
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