Coen is better known as one half of the genius filmmaking duo, the
. Their talent for combining a sense of the absurd with brilliant
pastiches of film noir and horror has given their films a distinctive edginess.
Gates of Eden
, the debut collection of short stories by Ethan Coen, will
please any fan of his films as well as any reader who appreciates sharp, stylish
dialogue, and a wicked sense of humor. Gates of Eden
shares many themes
as his films: moral ambiguity, ethnicity, betrayal, crime gone wrong, and the
trademark Coen black humor. The films are a visual feast, but a film can't capture
the intimate ramblings of a lovable Coen loser as well as the stories collected
here. Possibly the most revealing stories in this collection are the autobiographical
pieces that take wry and poignant glances at the people in Coen's somewhat strange
childhood. Gates of Eden
is intelligent and witty. It is pure entertainment.
Synopses & Reviews
A middle-aged man beheads his wife, then calmly explains how she drove him to it . . . A fat little mafioso is going to war--in the clean, well-mannered streets of Minneapolis . . . A Jewish boy watches with wonder the rise and fall of a Hebrew school rebel--and sees the sadness at the heart of his own family. . . . Welcome to the world of Ethan Coen, one half of the filmmaking team that has unleashed a visionary, brutal, and uproarious portrait of America in such screen classics as Fargo and Raising Arizona. Now Ethan Coen translates that vision to the printed page--in fourteen keenly imagined, sharply etched short stories. Blending parody with pathos, making the heinous heartbreaking, Coen demonstrates his unique gift for stunningly inventive narrative, brutal irony, offbeat characters, and crackling dialogue, delivering everything you would expect from such an original imagination.
"Like Fargo, at once addictively grotesque and infectiously heartwarming. . .even the darkest personal moments radiate moxie, soul, and humor. Gates of Eden marks a seamless transition from film to fiction." Jill Kopelman, Elle
"Artful...compelling...moving...sharply-etched... Coen-heads, get out of the dark of the theater and turn on your reading lamps... The co-creator of such big-screen pulpitude as Blood Simple and Fargo delivers blackly humorous and often unsettling vignettes of men pushed to the edge and beyond..." USA Today
"Some wacky extremes pervade Mr. Coen's 14 stories, just as they do the films he makes with his brother, Joel....In Gates of Eden, Mr. Coen has sounded the jagged dissonance of the American experience....he tallies up the costs of a journey that has yet to achieve the promised land." Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times
"The discriminating viewer who enjoyed [Coen's] distinctive and quirky films will like the equally unconventional Gates of Eden, Coen's first collection of stories. It is a crisp and chatty book populated with dirty souls confined to their own tailor-made hells." Jay A. Fernandez, The Washington Post
"A thoroughly enjoyable collection of short stories filled with his trademark snappy dialogue and casual gore." Harper's Bazaar
"Brilliant...All of these stories take place in Coen Brothers Land, a parallel universe similar to our own except it's weirder, funnier, and better edited." The New York Times Book Review
In this national bestseller now in paperback, a contract kill is botched when the hit man phones his boss for further instructions on a wire-tapped phone; a private investigator tangles with a thug and has an ear bitten off; and middle-aged man beheads his wife, then calmly offers an explanation of how she drove him to do it.