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Corpus Christi: Stories

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Corpus Christi: Stories Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

From an acclaimed and award-winning young writer comes an intensely moving debut collection set in the eye of life's storms. In Corpus Christi, Texas — a town often hit by hurricanes — parents, children, and lovers come together and fall apart, bonded and battered by memories of loss that they feel as acutely as physical pain.

A car accident joins strangers linked by an intimate knowledge of madness. A teenage boy remembers his father's act of sudden and self-righteous violence. A "hurricane party" reunites a couple whom tragedy parted. And, in an unforgettable three-story cycle, an illness sets in profound relief a man's relationship with his mother and the odd, shifting fidelity of truth to love.

Told in fresh, lyrical voices and taut, inventive styles, these narratives explore the complex volatility of love and intimacy, sorrow and renewal — and expose how often these experiences feel like the opposite of themselves. From the woman whose young son's uncanny rapport with snakes illuminates her own missed opportunities to the man confronting his wife and her lover in a house full of illegal exotic birds, all the characters here face moments of profound decision and recognition in which no choice is clearly or completely right.

Writing with tough humor, deep humanity, and a keen eye for the natural environment, Bret Anthony Johnston creates a world where where cataclysmic events cut people loose from their "regular lives, floating and spiraling away from where we had been the day before." Corpus Christi is a extraordinarily ambitious debut. It marks the arrival of an important, exquisitely talented voice to American fiction.

Review:

"[A] promising debut collection....[Ten] astutely observed stories....[W]ithout lapsing into sentimentality, [Johnston] evokes a peculiarly American brand of abject loneliness and tentative optimism." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"[C]ompelling and haunting pieces....Johnston's evocative descriptions of events, feelings, and Corpus Christi itself connect readers to his characters and their dilemmas and reactions to tragedy. Recommended." Library Journal

Review:

"Each individual story overcomes its tragic subject matter to deliver an honest and nonpatronizing view of the mainly lower-middle-class characters. However, trying to read these stories in one sitting may require an antidepressant." Booklist

Review:

"Lugubrious reading, more like workshop exercises than glimpses of real life." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"These stories are relentlessly sober, large-hearted, and intense." Boston Globe

Review:

"Fans of Raymond Carver's spare, carefully crafted stories will rejoice....[Johnston has] a pitch-perfect ear for dialogue and a dead- on eye for conjuring an entire universe with one simple detail." San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"There is power here, and Johnston is clearly serious about his craft, but his phrasing can be self-consciously awkward and graceless, his pacing by turns jerky and stagnant and his plotting unnecessarily oblique and byzantine." Dallas-Ft. Worth Star Telegram

Review:

"Bret Johnston writes with searing honesty and a deep compassion about the people in his native Texas. This astonishing book will break your heart, make you nod in comprehension, laugh out loud, and ultimately force you to see your own life in a fresh way. The prose is wonderfully precise and the observations are dead-on. Corpus is a brilliant debut by a young writer who has clearly put literature at the center of his life." Chris Offutt, author of Kentucky Straight

Review:

"Bret Anthony Johnston's stories read as if they'd been written by someone who's lived various lifetimes, time enough to develop real wisdom, generosity and the art of making strong clean sentences. What I especially love about these stories is the fact that many of the characters walk the finest line between violence and love, and they do so with a tenderness that is heartbreaking." Jane Hamilton

Review:

"Bret Anthony Johnston is a name to put on your list — that list of writers you always read first. He knows how you can despair of people and go on treasuring them — hard-living, hard-headed, unexpected people who look out of his stories like brightly lit signposts on a dark highway. 'Look here,' they say. 'Right here.'" Dorothy Allison

Review:

"In his first collection of stories, Bret Anthony Johnston eloquently depicts individual lives at once haunted and painfully enriched by memory, and by the losses of which memory is made. A wise and moving debut by a talented young writer." John Burnham Schwartz, author of Claire Marvel

About the Author

Bret Anthony Johnston has been featured in The Paris Review and Open City, as well as many anthologies, including New Stories from the South: The Year's Best, 2003 and 2004; Prize Stories: The O. Henry Prize Stories 2002; and Scribner's Best of the Fiction Workshops 1999. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where he received a Teaching-Writing Fellowship, he teaches creative writing at California State University, San Bernardino.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Machuki, November 8, 2006 (view all comments by Machuki)
I have never read a book that spoke to me as a middle class student. Corpus Christi exposes the families in search of the america dream gripped by the economical pressures in America to make ends meet. In the process to making it, children loathe and abhor their fathers, mothers die and commit adultery. The story starts with a hurricane, but there is no Hurricane at all but deep humanity.

No book has made me human by exposing the death of a child, even though I have not lost a child, but Johnston pinches into the core of humanity and shows in art instead of telling.

I love this book deeply and went back to read it unceasingly. Of course this was because I had to write a paper about it, but no book has never made me human as this one. Amidst the storm, I felt like Johnston was infront of me talking about my family. It is a book felt by the wealthy and poor alike. It speaks to human fraility and fosters strength to see life as imperfect and to hang on to hope because around the corner, the storm will end and the earth will calm into existence.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780812971873
Author:
Johnston, Bret Anthony
Publisher:
Random House Trade
Subject:
General
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Literary
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
June 14, 2005
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
7.96x5.34x.65 in. .46 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Corpus Christi: Stories New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$15.00 In Stock
Product details 288 pages Random House Trade - English 9780812971873 Reviews:
"Review" by , "[A] promising debut collection....[Ten] astutely observed stories....[W]ithout lapsing into sentimentality, [Johnston] evokes a peculiarly American brand of abject loneliness and tentative optimism."
"Review" by , "[C]ompelling and haunting pieces....Johnston's evocative descriptions of events, feelings, and Corpus Christi itself connect readers to his characters and their dilemmas and reactions to tragedy. Recommended."
"Review" by , "Each individual story overcomes its tragic subject matter to deliver an honest and nonpatronizing view of the mainly lower-middle-class characters. However, trying to read these stories in one sitting may require an antidepressant."
"Review" by , "Lugubrious reading, more like workshop exercises than glimpses of real life."
"Review" by , "These stories are relentlessly sober, large-hearted, and intense."
"Review" by , "Fans of Raymond Carver's spare, carefully crafted stories will rejoice....[Johnston has] a pitch-perfect ear for dialogue and a dead- on eye for conjuring an entire universe with one simple detail."
"Review" by , "There is power here, and Johnston is clearly serious about his craft, but his phrasing can be self-consciously awkward and graceless, his pacing by turns jerky and stagnant and his plotting unnecessarily oblique and byzantine."
"Review" by , "Bret Johnston writes with searing honesty and a deep compassion about the people in his native Texas. This astonishing book will break your heart, make you nod in comprehension, laugh out loud, and ultimately force you to see your own life in a fresh way. The prose is wonderfully precise and the observations are dead-on. Corpus is a brilliant debut by a young writer who has clearly put literature at the center of his life."
"Review" by , "Bret Anthony Johnston's stories read as if they'd been written by someone who's lived various lifetimes, time enough to develop real wisdom, generosity and the art of making strong clean sentences. What I especially love about these stories is the fact that many of the characters walk the finest line between violence and love, and they do so with a tenderness that is heartbreaking."
"Review" by , "Bret Anthony Johnston is a name to put on your list — that list of writers you always read first. He knows how you can despair of people and go on treasuring them — hard-living, hard-headed, unexpected people who look out of his stories like brightly lit signposts on a dark highway. 'Look here,' they say. 'Right here.'"
"Review" by , "In his first collection of stories, Bret Anthony Johnston eloquently depicts individual lives at once haunted and painfully enriched by memory, and by the losses of which memory is made. A wise and moving debut by a talented young writer."
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