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Happy Baby

by

Happy Baby Cover

 

Awards

A Salon Best Book of 2004

Review-A-Day

"[T]his is an ambitious and carefully constructed literary novel at least as much as it is a gut-spilling memoir. It's easy to miss that; Elliott's style is terse and unvarnished, free of...high-flown, flowers-in-the-gutter lyricism....Happy Baby is a most impressive little novel, heartbreakingly and bewilderingly alive in a way most bigger books can't even imagine." Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com (read the entire Salon.com review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Stephen Elliott's new novel, Happy Baby, explores how pain can define desire, how the future becomes the past, and how grace struggles with self-destruction. The story, told in reverse, begins with thirty-six-year-old Theo and his search for sexual and emotional freedom, and slowly unravels back to a childhood of abuse in the juvenile detention centers of Chicago.

Without judgment, Elliott traces a life defined by yearning — for love, for pain, for certainty. His clear words and unflinching gaze reveal the difficulty of simple truths and the possibility of transcendence in the face of unforgivable crimes.

Review:

"Blending the edginess of Augusten Burroughs with the raw emotion of Marguerite Duras, this compelling confessional reveals a ravaged soul seeking solace and resolution in the wake of unspeakable crimes." Booklist

Review:

"[Elliott] clearly knows his subject...and infuses this prickly tale with a surprising sweetness." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"Grimly deterministic, but intermittently powerful." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Elliott tells a brutal tale in words of few syllables, in the flat voice of a zombied-out Joe Friday...simultaneously forensic and shrugging, the seen-it-all tone only serving to heighten the ghastliness of the subjects described." San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"The novel's backward structure means that rather than building momentum, it offers the sense of a mystery being slowly solved. That the mystery of why Theo...turns out as he does is essentially unsolvable makes it no less satisfying, or, in Theo's case, less heartbreaking." Curtis Sittenfeld, The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"From the very beginning [of Happy Baby] Theo possesses a fresh, intense, confessional vulnerability unusual in male narrators, especially one whose street smarts should have ruled it out long ago. It's a great question for fiction: How, and whether, the capacity for empathy can be preserved in the face of persistent brutality. Theo lives by his wits on that knife's edge where sex meets violence. Stephen Elliott belongs to the lineage of seemingly fearless, sexual truth-tellers that includes Genet and Duras, but he's ours. He couldn't be more American. We should rejoice in having such fearlessness among us." Elizabeth Tallent, author of Honey and Museum Pieces

Table of Contents

1. Maria Has a Child 1
2. Listen 17
3. Achterburgwal 43
4. My Wife 63
5. Getting In Getting Out 85
6. Stalking Gracie 101
7. Where You Could End 115
8. Stevenson House 133
9. Stop First 155
10. The Yard 163
11. Home Before the Lights 179

Product Details

ISBN:
9781931561624
Author:
Elliott, Stephen
Publisher:
MacAdam/Cage Publishing
Location:
San Francisco
Subject:
Child welfare
Subject:
Chicago
Subject:
Psychological
Subject:
Teenage boys
Subject:
Psychological fiction
Subject:
Love stories
Subject:
Adult child sexual abuse victims
Subject:
Juvenile detention homes
Subject:
First loves
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
February 2004
Binding:
Hardcover
Language:
English
Pages:
191
Dimensions:
8.56x5.82x.77 in. .80 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Happy Baby Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.95 In Stock
Product details 191 pages MacAdam/Cage Publishing - English 9781931561624 Reviews:
"Review A Day" by , "[T]his is an ambitious and carefully constructed literary novel at least as much as it is a gut-spilling memoir. It's easy to miss that; Elliott's style is terse and unvarnished, free of...high-flown, flowers-in-the-gutter lyricism....Happy Baby is a most impressive little novel, heartbreakingly and bewilderingly alive in a way most bigger books can't even imagine." (read the entire Salon.com review)
"Review" by , "Blending the edginess of Augusten Burroughs with the raw emotion of Marguerite Duras, this compelling confessional reveals a ravaged soul seeking solace and resolution in the wake of unspeakable crimes."
"Review" by , "[Elliott] clearly knows his subject...and infuses this prickly tale with a surprising sweetness."
"Review" by , "Grimly deterministic, but intermittently powerful."
"Review" by , "Elliott tells a brutal tale in words of few syllables, in the flat voice of a zombied-out Joe Friday...simultaneously forensic and shrugging, the seen-it-all tone only serving to heighten the ghastliness of the subjects described."
"Review" by , "The novel's backward structure means that rather than building momentum, it offers the sense of a mystery being slowly solved. That the mystery of why Theo...turns out as he does is essentially unsolvable makes it no less satisfying, or, in Theo's case, less heartbreaking."
"Review" by , "From the very beginning [of Happy Baby] Theo possesses a fresh, intense, confessional vulnerability unusual in male narrators, especially one whose street smarts should have ruled it out long ago. It's a great question for fiction: How, and whether, the capacity for empathy can be preserved in the face of persistent brutality. Theo lives by his wits on that knife's edge where sex meets violence. Stephen Elliott belongs to the lineage of seemingly fearless, sexual truth-tellers that includes Genet and Duras, but he's ours. He couldn't be more American. We should rejoice in having such fearlessness among us." Elizabeth Tallent, author of Honey and Museum Pieces
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