Reading this book is like scratching an itch: at once deeply satisfying and all too brief. Joseph O'Neill manages to channel both Larry David and Truman Capote, balancing his savage wit and relatable irritability with genuine warmth and unexpected poignancy. His characters twist and turn within the confines of their comfortable lives, aware of their privilege, but still filled with a bewildered rage at the secrets the world has withheld from them. Each story is funny enough to elicit helpless, uncomfortable laughter, but with endings that brought me up short. Good Trouble is the best kind of trouble! Recommended By Lauren P., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
A masterly collection of eleven stories about the way we live now from the best-selling author of Netherland.
From bourgeois facial hair trends to parental sleep deprivation, O'Neill closely observes the mores of his characters, whose vacillations and second thoughts expose the mysterious pettiness, the underlying violence, and, sometimes, the surprising beauty of ordinary life in the early twenty-first century. A lonely wedding guest talks to a goose; a pair of poets struggle over whether to participate in a "pardon Edward Snowden" verse petition; a cowardly husband lets his wife face a possible intruder in their home; a potential co-op renter in New York City can't find anyone to give him a character reference. On the surface, these men and women may only be in mild trouble, but O'Neill reminds us of the real, secretly political consequences of our internal monologues in these perfectly made, fiercely modern stories. No writer is more incisive about the strange world we live in now, and the laugh-out-loud vulnerability of his people is just as well fodder for tears.