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You Are Not a Stranger Here: Storiesby Adam Haslett
Finalist for the 2002 Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award, Fiction
Winner of the 2002 L.L. Winship/PEN New England Award
Synopses & Reviews
Notes to My Biographer
Two things to get straight from the beginning: I hate doctors and have never joined a support group in my life. At seventy-three, I'm not about to change. The mental health establishment can go screw itself on a barren hill top in the rain before I touch their snake oil or listen to the visionless chatter of men half my age. I have shot Germans in the fields of Normandy, filed twenty-six patents, married three women, survived them all and am currently the subject of an investigation by the IRS, which has about as much chance of collecting from me as Shylock did of getting his pound of flesh. Bureaucracies have trouble thinking clearly. I, on the other hand, am perfectly lucid.
Note for instance how I obtained the Saab I'm presently driving into the Los Angeles basin: a niece in Scotsdale lent it to me. Do you think she'll ever see it again? Unlikely. Of course when I borrowed it from her I had every intention of returning it and in a few days or weeks I may feel that way again, but for now forget her and her husband and three children who looked at me over the kitchen table like I was a museum piece sent to bore them. I could run circles around those kids. They're spoon fed ritalin and private schools and have eyes that say give me things I don't have. I wanted to read them a book on the history of the world, its migrations, plagues, and wars, but the shelves of their outsized condominium were full of ceramics and biographies of the stars. The whole thing depressed the hell out of me and I'm glad to be gone.
A week ago I left Baltimore with the idea of seeing my son Graham. I've been thinking about him a lot recently, days we spent together in the barn at the old house, how with him as my audience ideas came quickly and I don't know when I'll get to see him again. I thought I might as well catch up with some of the other relatives along the way and planned to start at my daughter Linda's in Atlanta but when I arrived it turned out she'd moved. I called Graham and when he got over the shock of hearing my voice, he said Linda didn't want to see me. By the time my younger brother Ernie refused to do anything more than have lunch with me after I'd taken a bus all the way to Houston, I began to get the idea this episodic reunion thing might be more trouble than it was worth. Scotsdale did nothing to alter my opinion. These people seem to think they'll have another chance, that I'll be coming around again. The fact is I've completed my will, made bequests of my patent rights, and am now just composing a few notes to my biographer who, in a few decades when the true influence of my work becomes apparent, may need them to clarify certain issues.
*Franklin Caldwell Singer, b.1924, Baltimore, Maryland.
*Child of a German machinist and a banker's daughter.
*My psych discharge following "desertion" in Paris was trumped up by an army intern resentful of my superior knowledge of the diagnostic manual. The nude dancing incident at the Louvre in a room full of Rubens had occurred weeks earlier and was of a piece with other celebrations at the time.
*BA, PhD Engineering, Johns Hopkins University.
*1952. First and last electro-shock treatment for which I will never, never, never forgive my parents.
*1954-1965 Researcher, Eastman Kodak Laboratories. As with so many institutions in this country, talent was resented. I was fired as so
"[An] affecting debut collection....Though the thematic similarity of many of the stories dulls their startling initial impact, this is a strikingly assured first effort." Publishers Weekly
"There are some spectacular moments, and also several inexplicable miscalculations in this extremely uneven yet unquestionably promising debut collection....Not by any means the book it might — perhaps should — have been." Kirkus Reviews
"All this can be a little gloomy, but Haslett is an eloquent, precise miniaturist, and his characters' struggles with their own assumptions collectively provide a fascinating snapshot of life during the era of Prozac, when new ways of thinking about emotion have forced us to adjust our notion of identity and even, perhaps, of grace." The New Yorker
"Elegant....Invigorating....[Haslett has an] assured, almost democratic empathy for his admirably varied characters....These are graceful, mature, witty stories." The San Francisco Chronicle
"Adam Haslett is a wonderful rarity: an old-fashioned young storyteller with something urgent and fresh and fiercely intelligent to say. Haslett's great gifts as a writer — his fearlessness in particular — are a great gift to the reader. You're likely not only to love his stories but to feel stronger for having read them." Jonathan Franzen, author of The Corrections
En række mennesker synes rystede af tab og andre opdager nye sider af sig selv i mødet med mennesker, der har brug for dem.
In his bestselling and lavishly praised first book of stories, Adam Haslett explores lives that appear shuttered by loss and discovers entire worlds hidden inside them. The impact is at once harrowing and thrilling.
An elderly inventor, burning with manic creativity, tries to reconcile with his estranged gay son. A bereaved boy draws a thuggish classmate into a relationship of escalating guilt and violence. A genteel middle-aged woman, a long-time resident of a psychiatric hospital, becomes the confidante of a lovelorn teenaged volunteer. Told with Chekhovian restraint and compassion, and conveying both the sorrow of life and the courage with which people rise to meet it, You Are Not a Stranger Here is a triumph of storytelling.
About the Author
Adam Haslett is a graduate of Swarthmore College and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His work has appeared in Zoetrope: All-Story, The Yale Review, BOMB magazine, and National Public Radio’s “Selected Shorts.” He has been a finalist for a National Magazine Award and received fellowships from the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center and the Michener/Copernicus Society of America. He is currently a student at Yale Law School.
From the Hardcover edition.
Table of Contents
Indhold: The good doctor — The beginnings of grief — Devotion — War's end — Reunion — Divination — My father's business — The volunteer.
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