Ralph Lombreglia Make Me Work: Stories

ISBN 13: 9780140242225

Make Me Work: Stories

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9780140242225: Make Me Work: Stories
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With truth, wit, and a masterful high style, Lombreglia captures a varied cast of quirky characters who, with awkwardness, humor, and sometimes grace, struggle with tensions between creativity and commercialism, technology and humanity, alienation and connection.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

Lombreglia's second collection, half from The New Yorker and The Atlantic, is no less witty and accomplished than his first, Men Under Water (1990). His offbeat humor survives the polished surfaces of these nine superb tales, with their Zeitgeisty gestures. Pop music is an index to character in the delightful ``One- Woman Blues Revival,'' in which a young female deejay, estranged from her Elvis-fanatic husband, finds a hero in a Polish ‚migr‚ mechanic, who plays a mean blues riff. Music also figures in ``This is a Natural Product of the Earth,'' the story of an East Coast amateur musician who follows his girlfriend to California, where he reunites with an old lover, herself lost amidst the Sixties burnouts in Berkeley. Two stories set on college campuses actually breathe life into a somewhat wheezy genre: ``Can You Dance to It?'' is a clever piece about a bunch of professors who force a local bartender to marry their colleague, an Argentinean philosopher whom he's gotten pregnant and who's threatened with deportation. And ``Every Good Boy Deserves Favor'' follows a former music prodigy's later academic career. Meanwhile, Catholicism and ethnicity provide context to a number of pieces: in ``A Half Hour with God's Heroes,'' a divorced woman who works as a chef turns to superstition to help her sell her house so that she can leave behind her bungled life in Boston--her larcenous husband and her junkie son. ``Piltdown Man, Later Proved to Be a Hoax'' is a boy's tale worthy of Salinger, in which the famous fraud becomes a symbol of life's disappointments. The title piece is an unconventional romance between an aging Italian hipster and a tough-talking beauty from the North End of Boston. Finally, two linked stories about a group of thirtysomething video producers wonderfully explore contemporary relations. Lombreglia brings a unique sensibility to familiar material- -smart and stylish and, surprisingly, profound. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

Nine engaging short stories by the author of Men Under Water show thoughtful, conflicted protagonists striving for equilibrium in their personal relationships and finding hints of meaning in the acutely perceived oddities of contemporary American life. Living primarily on the fringes of academia, media and the arts, the characters are not quite comfortable with either their surroundings or the times. Lisa, a classic-rock disc jockey in small-town Vermont, plays blues songs to get over her ex-husband, an Elvis fanatic. Walter, an actor by trade, writes copy for industrial videos in Boston and discovers the miracle of birth against a backdrop of high-tech laser pranks. Karl, a moderately famous composer back in the 1950s, now labors over a piece inspired by his heart arrhythmia and grumbles as his young protegee/lover heads to New York to pursue performance art. Hoping to escape her drug-addicted son and head for Florida, Josephine buries an icon of St. Joseph in her lawn to expedite the sale of her house. Although he sometimes overdoes the '60s nostalgia, Lombreglia combines a sharp eye for weird, resonant detail with a fluid, understated narrative style to achieve work that is both serious and farcical, outlandish and immediate.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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9780374200046: Make Me Work: Stories

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ISBN 10:  0374200041 ISBN 13:  9780374200046
Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1994
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