The Actual Adventures of Michael Missing: Stories

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9780394587417: The Actual Adventures of Michael Missing: Stories

Eleven stories told from the depths of anger, lust, and the confusion of doing the right things at the wrong times Michael Missing, the name of eleven different young men in various states of unrest, is the linked but unrelated protagonist of these wry and angry tales; a hit man, the cabin boy of nineteenth-century French pirate Jean Lafitte, erstwhile baseball hero and the man who would be president of France, and a frustrated salesman who loses an evening with Captain Kirk in the unrequited hope of laying the town slut of Scarsdale. Readers will shudder as, to their dismay, they recognize themselves, or at least part of themselves, in the naive and angry young man who sincerely wishes things were different, and who regrets he has never overheard someone say, "Michael is a real good guy." A criminally funny and perceptive literary debut.

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From Publishers Weekly:

The 11 slick, sophomoric tales in this slender collection follow the predictable grooves of brat-pack fiction. The wisecracking, foul-mouthed narrator--in some incarnations a teenager, sometimes in his early 20s--oozes unearned, fashionable cynicism and wears many personas. As "Michael Famous," he bashes in a man's skull with a baseball bat with calm remorselessness and elation. As "Michael Missingeok ," he is right-hand man and lover of a 19th-century French pirate-rapist. In one story, Missing asks his aunt what it was like to be a prostitute, then has sex with her, then hauls cocaine and stolen goods for his uncle; in another, he threatens a misbehaving little girl by holding a gun to her head; in yet another, he recalls posing with a dead dog for a photograph, then has fetishistic sex with his eighth-grade teacher. Other pieces attempt satirical commentaries on baseball, hippies and the art world. In their sudden transitions, flip tone, gratuitous sex and violence, these snide stories resemble "underground" comics--and are just as two-dimensional.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

Knopf. 1991. c.144p. LC 90-44011. ISBN 0-394-58741-3. $18. f The 11 linked stories in this collection form a bizarre and sometimes baffling picaresque tale. In each story the first-person narrator is presumably Michael Missing (a.k.a. Michael Famous), but he moves inexplicably from present-day New York to early 19th-century Louisiana (where he is secretary, surgeon, and lover to the pirate Jean Lafitte). In various manifestations Michael is a minor-league baseball player, drug runner, hired killer, and candidate for president. The typical picaresque hero remains endearing because his misdeeds are less vicious than those of society, but Michael aptly describes himself as mean, cynical, and hard to like. Hickins's episodes are outrageously inventive, but the book's brutality usually overwhelms its comedy.
- Albert E. Wilhelm, Tennesssee Technolog ical Univ., Cookeville
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Michael Hickens
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