Synopses & Reviews
Jeff Parker is a writer who understands that voice is the doorway to all true beauty in fiction. Tight, wry, dark, and deeply funny he is a master of the hyper-compressed sentence that explodes with more meaning and nuance than should be possible.” George Saunders, author of Pastoralia
Jeff Parkers stories are mysterious, heartfelt, and utterly captivating. In The Taste of Penney he casually flexes a Voltron-like combo of writerly gifts: Ron Carlsons mastery of voice, Elmore Leonards uncanny ear for dialogue, and Raymond Carvers spare wit. This collection contains some of the most absorbing and brightly imaginative stories Ive come across in some time.” Davy Rothbart, FOUND Magazine
Whether moose legs or tongue tips or sperm counts or pennies lodged into a throat, Parker disassembles us so compellingly that we no longer wish to be whole. His inventiveness revises the world as we know it with audacious wit.” Mary Caponegro, author of All Fall Down and The Star Café
Here we have characters in Russian messing up in hilarious ways; taking care of a cheating girlfriends pet bird; failing miserably at roadside tests in front of cops; spraying indoor centipedes with cheap cologne. Has my life ever been this bad? Nope. Have I ever felt like such a foreigner in an already-strange land? Not even close. Do I wish that Id written these stories? Absolutely. Im jealous. The Taste of Pennys the best ride at a spectacular carnival. George Singleton, author of The Half-Mammals of Dixie and These People Are Us.
These stories are haunting and constantly surprising.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)
The Taste of Penny agitates the sense in thirteen stories modern and mischievous. This collection captures love, relationships, and finding one's way in the twenty-first century.
Jeff Parker is the author of the novel Ovenman (Tin House). His short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in American Short Fiction, The Best American Nonrequired Reading, Indiana Review, Ploughshares, Tin House, The Walrus, and others. He teaches creative writing at the University of Toronto.
"Ten dark, suspenseful, and tightly wound stories teeter on the edge of catastrophe and the surreal piecing-back-together of life afterwards. Parker (Ovenman) tosses his characters into some form of peril, whether physical like the narrator of 'Our Cause,' who loses the tip of his tongue or emotional, like the jingoistic American in 'The Boy and the Colgante,' who erects a giant illuminated American flag in front of his house in the heart of 'French redneck' Quebec. Parker's characters are disfigured or pitiable one weathers guilt and emotional torture while paralyzed in a wheelchair, one gnaws at his fingers and attempts to excrete a swallowed penny, one stands in line outside the house where his ex-girlfriend is interviewing potential new boyfriends. Parker's prose is concise and quirky, packed with unexpected turns ('It's like yak butter or meat jelly,' says one character. 'You don't know exactly what it is but you know it's there'), and aside from the few moments when Parker gets too clever for his own good (as with the unnecessarily obscure 'The Briefcase of the Pregnant Spylady'), these stories are haunting and constantly surprising." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Tight, wry, dark, and deeply funny, The Taste of Penny agitates the senses in stories modern and mischievous. This collection captures love, relationships, and finding one's way in the twenty-first century.
Jeff Parker's work has been included in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2006, The 2005 Robert Olen Butler Prize Stories, and other anthologies.
Tight, wry, dark, and deeply funny, Parker's collection agitates the senses in stories modern and mischievous.
About the Author
Jeff Parker has published a novel, Ovenman, with Tin House, and co-edited America: Russian Writers View the United States. He is the current director of the Creative Writing program at the University of Toronto and the COO and Russian Program Director for Summer Literary Seminars.