Lee K. Abbott Living after Midnight

ISBN 13: 9780399136566

Living after Midnight

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9780399136566: Living after Midnight
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A collection of five short stories and one novella in the "noir" tradition, each dealing with the sudden disruption of ordinary life by bored and often desperate people during the hours between midnight and dawn

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From Kirkus Reviews:

Abbott's fifth collection (Dreams of Distant Lives, 1989, etc.) includes five stories, lively and inventive but sometimes superficial, and a novella, written in an antic, smart-alecky style. Abbott, as usual, is both infectiously exuberant and cartoonishly slick. In ``Living After Midnight'' (the novella), Reed is the straight man, and Hoffman, or H-man, the crazed gonzo artist. In college, they read Heidegger, Kant, and so forth--justifying many of Abbott's throwaway lines and sell dope. Reed then marries and divorces, while H-man is spotted here and there, ``only another smart-mouthed world-beater Reed had palled around with....'' After Reed slips into the life of a journalist, ``making points'' about various issues, H-man shows up again: ``This is the twentieth- century, Ace. Bad is its middle name.'' The two engage in a series of holdups, part high-jinks and part metaphysics, before their game falls apart in a robbery foiled by a kid at the Things-U-Need grocery. Abbott is faultlessly hyperactive, but his style soon overheats into mannered tics. Of the stories, the most interesting are: ``The Who, the What, and the Why,'' in which a narrator whose daughter has died begins breaking into his own house as a kind of therapy; and ``Freedom, A Theory Of,'' where a man obsessed with his sister's disappearance disappears himself. ``How Love Is Lived in Paradise'' is a fluent portrait of 265-pound Bubba, an ex- football player, and ``Getting Even'' is a long, gimmicky shaggy- dog story. ``Yet it wasn't football I was talking about, really,'' Bubba says. ``It was having a way in the world: somewhere to go and the means to go there.'' At their best, Abbott's stories inventively take such elliptical journeys. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

In the five short stories and the title novella that make up his fifth collection, Abbott ( Dreams of Distant Lives ) explores middle-class confusion and loss. Like Raymond Carver he displays an eye for the odd detritus of suburban life, writing of the police station that "now is a Bob's Big Boy restaurant." Most of the stories are in a reminiscent mode, featuring narrators who look back on their lives as series of dark epiphanies leading nowhere; the language is terse, elliptical and rich in metaphor. The protagonist of "Getting Even" could be speaking for all of Abbott's characters when he says, "I'd felt a shift in me, slight but as definite as wheat tides make." Although they are effective singly, the stories seem repetitious and similar taken together, and the stylized rhythms of Abbott's prose sometimes grate. The novella, about ex-college buddies reunited for a brief crime spree in Cleveland, Ohio, begins to sway under the weight of its own hip intensity well before the midway point.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780814207925: LIVING AFTER MIDNIGHT: A NOVELLA AND STORIES

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ISBN 10:  0814207928 ISBN 13:  9780814207925
Publisher: Ohio State University Press, 1998
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