Release Date: November 1, 2011
eBook Price: $7.99
In these nineteen stories, David Lynn presents the human experience. From continent to continent, from state to state, we see the way in which people's lives and ambitions inevitably collide. They fight for property, torture dogs, rekindle old romances and build new futures in foreign lands. Following David Lynn around the world, we meet strangers who seem both exotic and familiar and find that their aspirations and fears look much like our own.
Neither villainous nor devout, the characters that people Lynn's collection of 19 stories negotiate ethics and morality in a world that offers no absolutes. An obscure poet masquerades as her more celebrated colleague in "Mistaken Identity"; amid Detroit's 1967 raging race riots, a blue-blooded prep school teacher tends bar at a strip club on Eight Mile Road in the title story; a newlywed moonlights as an unfaithful vigilante in "Muggings." Kenyon Review editor Lynn (Wrestling with Gabriel) proffers no solutions to his characters' existential quandaries. Rather, their trials leave them "in a kind of limbo, not even probation." In a collection spanning India, England, Detroit and California, characters ponder confused, even mistaken identities in a world consumed with identity politics. Lynn also displays an adroitness with disaffected male protagonists, such as Duncan Boothe, the teacher-cum-bartender of the title story. "It was over now," Lynn writes, referring not to the race riots or to Boothe's dissolving marriage—these crises merely provide the backdrop for Boothe's central dilemma, jealousy of an awkward high school student with a fondness for Boothe's estranged wife. The stories of this collection occupy the gray borderland where betrayal mixes with trust, violence with affection, humiliation with lust. The effect is quietly haunting. —Publisher's Weekly
In 19 short stories, Lynn writes with virtuosity about angry people, the complexities of love and betrayal, and the effect of the past on present lives. A master of the ambivalent resolution, his stories linger and resonate after you finish them. Lynn revisits places and situations, looking at themes and culture from different points of view. Several stories take place in India; two stories are about the removal of houses from their foundations; and others examine tipping points in character's lives--minor decisions that become the pivot on which lives are changed. Among the outstanding stories are "Year of Fire," in which a man's life disintegrates as his city goes up in flames; "Balked Eclogue," a story told in the second person; and "Life Sentences," in which an English professor gets caught up in a bitter tenure dispute. There is some really brilliant writing here, most of it in the longer stories. Buy this book for your literary fiction fans and short story aficionados--they'll find it very rewarding. —Booklist
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
David Lynn is the longtime editor of The Kenyon Review, the international journal of literature, culture, and the arts, and of KROnline, its complementary electronic journal. Lynn is the author of two collections of stories, a novel, and a scholarly monograph. He teaches on the faculty of Kenyon College, and lives in Gambier, Ohio with his wife, the noted historian of India Wendy Singer, and their two children, Aaron and Elizabeth.