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The Bostonsby Carolyn Cooke
Synopses & Reviews
Carolyn Cooke's stories have been featured in several volumes of Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards and The Best American Short Stories. Her highly anticipated debut collection tells hilarious and often savage truths about people struggling within the confines of history, society, and class.
Mr. Sargent, the aging Brahmin aesthete of the title story, scribbles his epiphanies on cocktail napkins and covers them up with his drinks. A Maine innkeeper shoots his wife, who remains bitterly loyal to him until the death of their son. A whole family conspires to keep the birth of yet another dirt-poor relation a secret from his grandmother. On the icy cobblestone streets of Boston and the rockbound coast of Maine, these vividly realized characters try to reconcile habits of obedience and self-reliance with the urgent desire to capture the wild core of life. The result is an explosion of exquisitely tuned voices, as authentic as they are unforgettable.
"Wonderful stories, powerfully conceived and executed with a diamond-clear precision." Madison Smartt Bell
"A fierce intelligence — an eye as exacting as Hawthorne's, a wit as sharp as O'Connor's. The characters who move through these linked stories speak for all the gorgeous strangeness of the world. Cooke writes with a grace and precision that terrifies as it transports; this book will leave you breathless." Kate Walbert, author of WHere She Went and The Gardens of Kyoto
"These characters are so unexpected, genuine, and deftly etched they will leave an imprint on even the most stubborn reader's heart." Diane Leslie, author of Fleur de Leigh's Life of Crime
"Evokes with precise passion the contradictions of desire, the sublime silliness and seriousness of human connection. A thrilling debut." Deborah Weisgall, author of A Joyful Noise and Still Point
"There is a certain kind of story writer who delights in seeing the world at an angle, keeping the reader off balance with narrative feints and unsettling — often comical — asides....In her bold debut collection, The Bostons, Carolyn Cooke seems to take inspiration from such tale-tellers." Sylvia Brownrigg, The New York Times Book Review
"This debut anthology does not disappoint. [Cooke's] characters are fragile but wise, and as resilient as her prose in this spare and provocative compilation." Publishers Weekly
"What a strange and interesting group these people are, bravely maintaining a bit of style in some cases, holding fast to the shallowness beyond all use or reason in others, but always choosing life, hoping and trying to go forward. The author respects and understands those she writes about but never loses her wry point of view." Booklist
As featured in "The Best American Short Stories" and "Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards", these lively works depict people struggling within the constraints of history, society and the divisions of class.
About the Author
CAROLYN COOKE was raised in Bar Harbor, Maine, and Boston. A recent recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, she lives in Point Arena, California, with her husband and two children.
Table of Contents
Bob Darling — Dirt-eaters — The Bostons — Black book — The trouble with money — The sugar-tit — Twa corbies — Girl of their dreams — Mourning party.
What Our Readers Are Saying
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