Synopses & Reviews
The first substantial collection of short fiction from “a writer with enough electricity to light up the country” (Ann Patchett)
“I guess the things that scare you are the things that are almost normal,” observes one narrator in this collection of effervescent and often uncanny stories. Drawing on fifteen years of work, See You in Paradise is the fullest expression yet of J. Robert Lennon's distinctive and brilliantly comic take on the pathos and surreality at the heart of American life.
In Lennon's America, a portal to another universe can be discovered with surprising nonchalance in a suburban backyard, adoption almost reaches the level of blood sport, and old pals return from the dead to steal your girlfriend. Sexual dysfunction, suicide, tragic accidents, and career stagnation all create surprising opportunities for unexpected grace in this full-hearted and mischievous depiction of those days (weeks, months, years) we all have when things just don't go quite right.
"Menace runs through many of the 14 stories in novelist Lennon's (Familiar) first collection, tales of quotidian suburban existence into which he often introduces a surreal element. In 'Hibachi,' the gift of the eponymous grill leads to an odd act of liberation for a frustrated wife. 'Total Humiliation in 1987' features an unhappy family on vacation that finds another family's time capsule and thereby casts a pall on their own activities. In the entertaining title story, a young man of 'good qualities' successfully romances a CEO's daughter only to find that he has made a deal with the devil. While 'The Accursed Items' is a failed attempt at experimental fiction, 'Weber's Head' generates dread and humor in equal measure as a man who rents out a room in his apartment gets more than he bargains for when he takes on the proverbial roommate from hell. Three of the best stories, 'Zombie Dan,' 'The Wraith,' and 'Portal' are postmodern riffs on classic science fiction and horror themes. Although several individual stories score, the collection as a whole strikes the same note of suburban disaffection over and over again to the ultimate point of diminishing returns." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Unconventional yet emotionally resonant stories....Much like his contemporaries Kevin Wilson or Wells Tower, Lennon is one of those writers who defies categorization and is as likely to fit comfortably into Weird Tales as he is into Granta." Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
J. Robert Lennon is the author of seven novels, including Familiar, Castle, and Mailman, and a story collection, Pieces for the Left Hand. His fiction has appeared in The Paris Review, Granta, Harpers Magazine, Playboy, and The New Yorker. He lives in Ithaca, New York, where he teaches writing at Cornell University.