Synopses & Reviews
The protagonists of the ten stories in this charming, highly affecting collection may be a familiar bunch young, bright, literate but the way in which their lives are documented is anything but typical. With unusual compassion and nimble prose, Lauren Grodstein gives us some of the most appealing characters in recent memory, each one consumed by conflicting feelings of passion and inertia, as well as a vague suspicion that life holds some yet-to-be-delivered punch line, which will shed light on it all.
Grodstein has the striking capacity to locate instances of true human vulnerability in her writing, and to portray the pathos, humor, and surprising moments of hope therein. In "Lonely Planet," an ad exec halfheartedly consoles and then desperately fondles her drunken best friend after a break-up; in "Family Vacation," etiquette breaks down among relatives stuck in an immobilized monorail at Disney World; and in "Hey, Beautiful," a college senior can't take the heat in that epicenter of self-loathing and humiliation the singles bar.
Throughout The Best of Animals, Grodstein gives us teens and twentysomethings frozen in the headlights of oncoming adulthood. This first collection, full of implicit insight, marks the emergence of a fresh literary voice.
"Grodstein has an easy way with the pen but a more difficult time making impact in a collection that aspires to a higher class of wit than it attains....Spare and occasionally funny takes from a writer who hasn't yet found her voice." Kirkus Reviews
"Grodstein's stories are fiercely intelligent without pretense, wickedly funny, and ever so sad." Binnie Kirshenbaum, author of Hester Among the Ruins
About the Author
Lauren Grodstein grew up in Haworth, New Jersey, and now lives in Brooklyn, New York. Her writing has appeared in Virgin Fiction 2, Women's World Magazine, Time Out New York, and on www.mrbellersneighborhood.com.
Table of Contents
Lonely Planet 1
Such a Pretty Face 21
Family Vacation 41
How the Stars Live 65
Satellites or Airplanes 93
On the Side 107
Hey, Beautiful 129
Yellow Morning 141
John on the Train: A Fable for Our Cynical Friends 159