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A collection of short stories explores homes where bullies, psychopaths, and delinquents are in charge, from a teenager deciding whether to run away or stay with abusive parents to a daughter comng to terms with her mother's history as a murderer
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Only 28, the Canadian author Eden Robinson writes blood-curdling prose in a deadpan, unsparing voice that gives her stories a disturbing quality. Most of these tales take place in British Columbia, where the vast tracts of forest and small suburban enclaves apparently give the residents a large dose of madness and mayhem. The narrator in "Dogs in Winter" is the daughter of a serial-killer mom, who painfully recreates her horrific childhood. Tom, in "Contact Sports," welcomes the arrival of his eccentric but generous cousin Jeremy, only to discover that Jeremy is a maniacal tyrant with sadistic tendencies. Robinson treads the thin line between shocking modernist terror and prurient bloody fantasy in these stories. In the gorgeous northwestern woods, her violent characters stand out like drops of blood in snow.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
The following text is part of a short story called: "Contact Sports."
That Saturday, Tom lay in bed reading. His arms hurt. Shoulders ached. Five hours of washing Jeremy's stupid car, scrubbing the goddamn apartment floors, and being Jeremy's fucking maid. Jeremy could take his money and shove it. There was no way he was going to spend another day like this. Jeremy knocked. Tom knew it was Jeremy because his mom never knocked before entering a room. Frowning, he hunched down and stared at the book, no longer seeing the words.
"Still sore at me?" Jeremy said cheerfully.
Tom flipped the page.
'Yes, Jeremy'," Jeremy said in a high, squeaky voice. "'I still hate your guts.'" Jeremy sat on the bed. In his normal voice he continued, "What if I asked you if you wanted to go for a ride?" He stood up. "'Well, I don't know. I'd have to ask my mom.'"
"Go away," Tom said, turning so Jeremy wouldn't see his face.
Tom clenched his mouth shut. "'I've finished all my homework and I don't have a thing to do, Jeremy.'" Jeremy punched Tom's leg. "Well, let's go then." Tom put his fingers in his ears.
"It's been a whole hour since you talked to me," Jeremy said sadly. "If you don't say something soon, I'm going to just die." "Get lost," Tom said.
"Well. Happy birthday, kid." Then, casually, "I got you a present. Curious?"
"No." Tom flipped a page.
"It's bigger than a bread box."
Tom slammed the book shut. He glared at Jeremy and moved to get off the bed. Jeremy, laughing, grabbed his arms and pushed him down.
"Let go!" Tom said, struggling.
"Hah! It speaks again!" Jeremy straddled Tom's chest, pinning him to the bed. "And if it knows what's good for it, it will keep speaking!"
"Get off me!"
Jeremy hummed and pretended to clean his nails. Tom bucked, kicked, even tried to bite. Jeremy yawned.
"Ready to talk?"
"If you don't get off me now--"
"You'll do what?" Jeremy said, not moving. "Run and tell Mommy?"
Jeremy reached over and picked up the book. "Temporal Lobe Epilepsy, Mania, Schizophrenia, and the Limbic System. Some light reading, huh? Jesus, don't you ever read anything normal? Ever heard of Stephen King?"
Tom stopped struggling. "What do you want?" Jeremy smiled. "That's more like it. Let's see. Well, first, do you want to go for a ride?"
"Meep. Wrong answer," Jeremy reached down and pulled Tom's shirt up.
"What're you doing?"
"Let's try that again. Do you want to go for a ride?"
"Meep. Wrong again. Last chance." Jeremy poked Tom hard in the side. Tom wriggled. Jeremy rubbed his hands together, chuckling. "Oh goody. Ticklish. Perfect. Now, are we going for a ride?" Tom wrenched an arm free. He hit Jeremy, who grunted and fell back. Tom rolled, twisting loose only to be caught and pushed back onto the bed again, this time on his stomach. Jeremy leaned close and whispered, "Meep. Wrong again. You lose, bozo."
No one had ever tickled Tom before. Jeremy was ruthless. When Jeremy finished with him, his ribs felt bruised and he was panting heavily, almost crying.
"Let's try that one more time," Jeremy said brightly. "Does Tommy want to go for a ride?"
Tom rested, trying to catch his breath. Jeremy lightly touched Tom's side. "Yes!" he said quickly. "Yes!
"That's more like it! Now, does Tommy forgive Jeremy for everything? Hmmm?"
"Tommy's not going to sulk anymore, is he?"
"Is Tommy sure? "Jeremy squeezed Tom's ribs.
"Yes. Don't, Jeremy. Please."
Tom gritted his teeth. "Pretty please."
"I get the feeling that you aren't being sincere," Jeremy said gravely.
"If you are really, sincerely sorry for being such a pain in the butt, I think you'll want to prove it, won't you, Tommy?"
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Book Description Henry Holt & Co. Hardcover. Condition: New. 0805044469 Ships promptly from Texas. Seller Inventory # Z0805044469ZN
Book Description Henry Holt & Co, 1996. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110805044469
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Book Description Henry Holt & Co, 1996. Hardcover. Condition: New. Reprint. Ships with Tracking Number! INTERNATIONAL WORLDWIDE Shipping available. Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!. Seller Inventory # 0805044469n