Longlist for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award 2006
Synopses & Reviews
These stories skitter sideways across literary and genre fiction categories, using the toolbox of genres like science fiction and fantasy to grapple with issues of identity, family, gender, and politics. DeNiro is frequently funny, surreal, or slapstick, but his stories also connect with readers on an emotional level, in unexpected and surprising ways. Even in the oddest of DeNiro's stories, his characters are real people grappling with real relationships, real heartbreaks, the small, cruel, pinprick absurdities of a universe which is larger and stranger than most writers ever realize.
"I'm not ordinarily an editor, so finding stories for the first six issues of Fence magazine was a guilty pleasure, and the subsequent work by formerly unknown Fence writers like Kelly Link and Julia Slavin has made me look like a prognosticator, or maybe an annoying drunk guy on a streak at a casino. Now here's Alan DeNiro, whose Skinny Dipping in the Lake of the Dead was always my favorite. I'm thrilled to see him in bookstores at last." Jonathan Lethem
"Alan DeNiro's stories move in unexpected ways into unexpected places up in the air, under the water, out of this world. He has a gift for precise language and poetic logic, his own unique sort of circus realism. Sharp, smart, and completely original, this is a lively, lovely collection from a memorable talent." Karen Joy Fowler, author of The Jane Austen Book Club
"Refreshing, imaginative, funny-scary stuff." Booklist
"Reading Alan DeNiro's new collection, Skinny Dipping in the Lake of the Dead, made me feel like a dog that twists its head a bit to the side on hearing a whistle too high for humans to hear. The dog is perplexed and intrigued by the sound it knows where it's coming from but not really. Familiar enough, but maybe not. So too with these strong, out of kilter stories. DeNiro blows his own distinctly different sounding whistle and once you've heard it, you can't help but stop and take real notice." Jonathan Carroll
"Filled with stunning images and incantatory rhythms." Time Out Chicago
A wide-ranging and assured, surprising, and funny debut collection. Alan DeNiro's gently surreal stories use a toolbox of genres (including science fiction and fantasy) to grapple with issues of identity, family, gender, and politics. (Think Aimee Bender or George Saunders.) Even in the oddest moments, these characters are real people grappling with real relationships and real heartbreaks. The title story was shortlisted for the O. Henry Award. An August 2006 Book Sense pick.
Surprising and funny debut collection from a multi-talented Midwest author.
About the Author
Skinny Dipping in the Lake of the Dead is Minneapolis-based poet and writer Alan DeNiro's wide-ranging and assured debut fiction collection. DeNiro's stories have been published in the most forward-looking magazines including Fence, Crowd, One Story, Strange Horizons, and 3rd Bed.