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Heart-rending stories of life and death: a debut fiction collection by the award-winning author of The Undertaking.A Methodist minister gone astray, a grieving trout bum gone fishing with his father’s remains, an artist overwhelmed by incarnate beauty―these are just a few of the iconic yet utterly unique characters in Thomas Lynch’s spirited collection. Set in Michigan’s north woods, in Ohio’s interior, on islands, in casinos, and in distant cities, these stories are linked by the gone and not forgotten: former spouses, dead parents, and missing children. In pursuit of love and its redemptions, these are pilgrims haunted by memory, dogged by desire, made radiant by romance and its denouements.
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Thomas Lynch's essays, poems and stories have appeared in The Atlantic, Granta, The New York Times, the New Yorker, the Paris Review, and elsewhere. He lives in Milford, Michigan where he has been the funeral director since 1974, and in Moveen, Co. Clare, Ireland where he keeps an ancestral cottage.From Publishers Weekly:
Death haunts this underwhelming collection from essayist, poet (and undertaker) Lynch (The Undertaking). In Catch and Release, the shortest and best story, a fishing guide disposes of his father's ashes in an unusual way. Bloodsport is an undertaker's grim reflection on his peripheral involvement in the life of a murder victim. Hunter's Moon is a decent character sketch about a widowed former casket salesman, but as a story, it's too inward-looking and inert. Matinée de Septembre presents a portrait of professor Aisling Black that strands her in a lugubrious female version of Death in Venice set in a Michigan resort. Apparition, the centerpiece novella, is the story of Adrian Littlefield, a minister who becomes a bestselling self-help author after his wife leaves him. It's told mostly as flashbacks during Adrian's contemporary visit to the location of his ex-wife's first infidelity. Unfortunately, drawing this slight story out dilutes its promise. Overall, Lynch seems at a loss for what to do with his fictional creations; haunted as they are by deaths and burdensome back stories, his character's present lives feel contrived. (Feb.)
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