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1 Beaverton Literature- A to Z

Next

by

Next Cover

ISBN13: 9780316051927
ISBN10: 0316051926
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

Only 1 left in stock at $4.95!

 

Awards

The Rooster 2011 Morning News Tournament of Books Nominee

Staff Pick

Wow! What an amazing ending! Next is really an interesting book — the ending makes it or breaks it, I think. Kevin is just your average shlub, who can't manage to do anything without being distracted by the women in the immediate vicinity. He's so all up in his head, and it's not really a pretty sight up there. He travels from Ann Arbor to Austin, Texas for a job interview. But before the interview, Kevin wanders around town following one woman after, all the while replaying in his head relationship highlights from his past. Without including a spoiler here, I can say that the end was absolutely unexpected, and it will frame, or reflect, or color, the way you feel about the whole book. Well done!
Recommended by Dianah, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

One Man, one day, and a novel bursting with drama, comedy, and humanity.

Kevin Quinn is a standard-variety American male: middle-aged, liberal-leaning, self-centered, emotionally damaged, generally determined to avoid both pain and responsibility. As his relationship with his girlfriend approaches a turning point, and his career seems increasingly pointless, he decides to secretly fly to a job interview in Austin, Texas. Aboard the plane, Kevin is simultaneously attracted to the young woman in the seat next to him and panicked by a new wave of terrorism in Europe and the UK. He lands safely with neuroses intact and full of hope that the job, the expansive city, and the girl from the plane might yet be his chance for reinvention. His next eight hours make up this novel, a tour-de-force of mordant humor, brilliant observation, and page-turning storytelling.

Review:

"In this funny, surprising, and sobering novel, Hynes (Kings of Infinite Space) follows Kevin Quinn, who has flown to Austin, Tex., for a job interview at the height of a terrorism scare. Kevin, an editor at the University of Michigan, has grown as frustrated by academic politics as he is by his relationship with his shallow girlfriend. On the flight, he sits next to Kelly, a beautiful and enigmatic young woman who reminds him of a great lost love of his youth. With time to kill before his interview, Kevin spends the first half of the novel surreptitiously following Kelly around Austin while reminiscing about his misspent youth and failed relationships. The casual but persistent self-absorption of Kevin's reveries is both funny and off-putting, and when contrasted with the threat of terrorism and his shadowing of the young woman, gives the novel a creepy energy that fully kicks in after Kevin is knocked unconscious, and Hynes pushes the plot into unchartered territory. The final 50 pages are unlike anything in the recent literature of our response to terrorism — a tour de force of people ennobled in the face of random horror." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Hynes has an ability to evoke sounds, smells, and contempt that lures his readers to a place they don't see coming....Fans of Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteridge will embrace Hynes's distasteful albeit oddly likable protagonist, and the shock value of the ending will cause considerable buzz." Library Journal

Review:

"Hynes is a rare writer. He is brilliant and humane, and he's created a novel that's as involving as it is dark, as compassionate as it is sad. It's a shocking, original masterpiece, and it is deeply, painfully American....Next is the kind of novel that leaves you reeling, almost speechless, frightened, scared to consider what it all means." Michael Schaub, Bookslut

Review:

"Kevin's wickedly funny rants about academic politics and air disasters alternate with his painful (and sometimes painfully tedious) cataloging of romantic humiliation....Through his neurotic Everyman, Hynes offers provocative insights into the troubling times in which we live." Booklist

Review:

"Hynes, a gifted comic novelist, is after something very serious here; he adopts a near-stream-of-consciousness narrative to tease at it, with Quinn more Dalloway than Bloom as he makes his way across the unfamiliar overheated Texas capital." Philadelphia City Paper

Review:

"Like Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway and Ian McEwan's Saturday, Next follows the events of a single day and relies on a subtle interplay of memory, trauma and thought....The reader hangs on breathlessly as Kevin's thoughts swerve from past to present and beyond....Next may be Hynes' best book — and one that reveals his gifts as a serious novelist." BookPage

About the Author

James Hynes is the author of the novels The Lecturer's Tale, The Wild Colonial Boy, the stories Publish and Perish (all New York Times Notable Books of the Year), and the novel Kings of Infinite Space. He lives in Austin, Texas.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

OneMansView, March 17, 2010 (view all comments by OneMansView)
A journey to nowhere (3.5 *s)

This novel ostensibly combines the “one-day-in-the-life-of” genre with one of “mid-life-crisis.” Kevin Quinn, a fifty-year-old editor of an Asian publication associated with the university in Ann Arbor, is on a rather impulsive job-interview trip to Austin, TX in an attempt to escape an imperious boss, an ever-tightening relationship with a girl who insists on having a child, and more generally a less than fulfilling life. More accurately, the book is practically a sociological and cultural studies tract concerned with comprehending both broad and small changes in urban environments from the 1970s to the present day, as well as changes in mores.

The anxiety and restless mind of Kevin quickly becomes evident as he contemplates the possibility of a missile, named after a drink, that is, the Stinger, fired by a terrorist taking down his plane from Ann Arbor, where the passengers are so many “Pringles in a can of Pringles.” Unsettled by first impressions of the Texas heat and vast landscape, including the huge cranes dotting the Austin skyline, Kevin, with several hours to kill, continues in his same troubled vein by deciding to follow a co-passenger on the plane, an attractive Asian girl he christened Joy Luck, who just happens to walk past the Starbucks in which he is encamped. The journey takes a rather wacky turn when he takes a fall, knocking himself out and sustaining a cut and torn clothes, after getting tangled up with a man and a dog on a leash - all with his interview looming. Fortunately, he is befriended by a Mexican, Amazon-like female doctor who had been jogging in the area, helping him to regroup.

Kevin’s trailing of Kelly, aka Joy Luck, and interacting with Dr. Barrientos are essentially devices for him to reminisce about and observe urban decay and revitalization and the accompanying social developments. At one point, he tracks Kelly to a large, chain organic food store with its aura of snobby exclusiveness, having, no doubt, put out of business any number of local, equally health-oriented smaller operators. Though a keen observer of cultural particulars, Kevin turns his sharpest attention to his past and present relationships with women. Strangely enough, though a rather non-descript guy, he has been somewhat successful in that area, but not without dissatisfactions.

Kevin’s angst, reflections, unsettledness, etc are finally played out when he arrives at his job interview, but in a manner that is fairly bizarre and not necessarily particularly satisfying: the solution to Kevin’s various concerns seems extreme. While Kevin takes center stage throughout the book, he is portrayed at times as both too knowing and too disconnected, not particularly consistent with his basic talents and past . The book is tedious in the nonstop cultural minutia that is constantly injected, yet at the same time is interesting and even amusing, with no absence of sensual descriptions of his various relationships. The author is a bit of a wordsmith: in addition to the quirky phrase, he frequently indulges in the obscure word. Overall, the book is smart and entertaining, but seems more like cultural commentary than any real attempt to see Kevin through his difficulties. The author’s use of terror as a backdrop may come across as a contrivance or a constricted idea of what figures into “Next.”
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780316051927
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Hynes, James
Author:
Hynes, James, Ma
Publisher:
Reagan Arthur / Back Bay Books
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
General Fiction
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20110309
Binding:
Hardcover
Language:
English
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 x 1 in 0.65 lb

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Morning News Tournament » Tournament of Books 2011
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Next Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$4.95 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Reagan Arthur Books - English 9780316051927 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Wow! What an amazing ending! Next is really an interesting book — the ending makes it or breaks it, I think. Kevin is just your average shlub, who can't manage to do anything without being distracted by the women in the immediate vicinity. He's so all up in his head, and it's not really a pretty sight up there. He travels from Ann Arbor to Austin, Texas for a job interview. But before the interview, Kevin wanders around town following one woman after, all the while replaying in his head relationship highlights from his past. Without including a spoiler here, I can say that the end was absolutely unexpected, and it will frame, or reflect, or color, the way you feel about the whole book. Well done!

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In this funny, surprising, and sobering novel, Hynes (Kings of Infinite Space) follows Kevin Quinn, who has flown to Austin, Tex., for a job interview at the height of a terrorism scare. Kevin, an editor at the University of Michigan, has grown as frustrated by academic politics as he is by his relationship with his shallow girlfriend. On the flight, he sits next to Kelly, a beautiful and enigmatic young woman who reminds him of a great lost love of his youth. With time to kill before his interview, Kevin spends the first half of the novel surreptitiously following Kelly around Austin while reminiscing about his misspent youth and failed relationships. The casual but persistent self-absorption of Kevin's reveries is both funny and off-putting, and when contrasted with the threat of terrorism and his shadowing of the young woman, gives the novel a creepy energy that fully kicks in after Kevin is knocked unconscious, and Hynes pushes the plot into unchartered territory. The final 50 pages are unlike anything in the recent literature of our response to terrorism — a tour de force of people ennobled in the face of random horror." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Hynes has an ability to evoke sounds, smells, and contempt that lures his readers to a place they don't see coming....Fans of Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteridge will embrace Hynes's distasteful albeit oddly likable protagonist, and the shock value of the ending will cause considerable buzz."
"Review" by , "Hynes is a rare writer. He is brilliant and humane, and he's created a novel that's as involving as it is dark, as compassionate as it is sad. It's a shocking, original masterpiece, and it is deeply, painfully American....Next is the kind of novel that leaves you reeling, almost speechless, frightened, scared to consider what it all means."
"Review" by , "Kevin's wickedly funny rants about academic politics and air disasters alternate with his painful (and sometimes painfully tedious) cataloging of romantic humiliation....Through his neurotic Everyman, Hynes offers provocative insights into the troubling times in which we live."
"Review" by , "Hynes, a gifted comic novelist, is after something very serious here; he adopts a near-stream-of-consciousness narrative to tease at it, with Quinn more Dalloway than Bloom as he makes his way across the unfamiliar overheated Texas capital."
"Review" by , "Like Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway and Ian McEwan's Saturday, Next follows the events of a single day and relies on a subtle interplay of memory, trauma and thought....The reader hangs on breathlessly as Kevin's thoughts swerve from past to present and beyond....Next may be Hynes' best book — and one that reveals his gifts as a serious novelist."
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