David Gilbert Remote Feed: Stories

ISBN 13: 9780684843063

Remote Feed: Stories

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9780684843063: Remote Feed: Stories
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A collection of original and witty stories includes "Anaconda Wrap," about a movie executive whose film about the Donner party is a flop, and two stories, "Remote Feed" and "Still in Motion," both set in the Galapagos Islands

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Review:

The stories in Remote Feed, David Gilbert's debut collection, are not for the faint of heart. A Hollywood producer finds himself with a broken finger after a stunningly acrobatic sex accident; a man volunteers to read to a blind woman, then amuses himself by moving around her furniture; a philandering husband on a drinking binge vomits through his snorkel and is pleased to discover that he has attracted a school of brightly colored fish. The title story follows a CNN news team, interspersing some heavy drinking in a Galapagos bar with the crew's final days in Sarajevo, where the reporter has the bad taste to die of an aneurysm rather than being photogenically shot. These are not nice people, to say the least--the producer compares failed movies to Nazi death camps--but they do have the redeeming virtue of being very funny indeed. Gilbert's scathing comic vision has been compared to Bellow and Roth, but it's equally reminiscent of that master of the modern grotesque, Flannery O'Connor. As in O'Connor's fiction, the wit burns away like a caustic at everything inessential in these characters' lives, exposing what's left over--fear, paranoia, emptiness, disgust--to the pitiless light of day. Here, though, there's no equivalent for O'Connor's brand of Christian redemption, but rather a harsh Darwinian struggle for survival alone. In the collection's only stab at the solace of faith, a bored suburbanite at an alcohol-free party persuades himself to walk across hot coals by picturing a good stiff drink at the other end: "Maybe I was a holy man.... Maybe I could transform the elements and turn a hot-coal party into a pool party. So I imagined that I was in the deep end treading toward the shallow end, where a lounge chair floated, a gin and tonic nestled in the drink holder.... Before I began, I was finished."

From the Back Cover:

The masterfully crafted stories that comprise Remote Feed mark the auspicious debut of a daring and remarkably perceptive writer. From war-torn Bosnia to a college sorority house to kill-or-be-killed Hollywood, David Gilbert uses bold prose and dark wit to paint a devastating picture of "normal" life on the brink of desperation and paranoia. His insights into the minor tragedies, disappointments, and desires that shape us reflect a deep understanding of human nature and a genuine compassion for his characters.

Filled with startling twists, piercing irony, and layers of meaning, the world Gilbert creates in Remote Feed is a complex one -- often hilarious, sometimes frightening, but always fascinating.

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Gilbert, David
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