Leonard Chang Dispatches from the Cold

ISBN 13: 9780930773496

Dispatches from the Cold

3.33 avg rating
( 24 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780930773496: Dispatches from the Cold

What would you do if strange letters began appearing in your mail box? Read them? When the unnamed narrator of this novel opens misdirected letters, he enters the harsh, disturbing world of Farrel Gorden. Gorden, an assistant manager in a sporting goods store near New Hampshire, hates his new Korean- American boss, and is on the verge of losing control of his hatred. As we watch the narrator reconstruct the recent events in Gorden's life, including an affair with his boss' wife and the wrenching consequences that follow, the paths of these two disparate characters- letter reader and letter writer- converge violently as each intrudes in the life of the other. This is a story that blurs the distinction between the real and the imaginary, the violent and the mundane, and negotiates the exterior world and interior workings of a vengeful mind.

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About the Author:

Leonard Chang was born in New York City and raised on Long Island. He attended Dartmouth College and received his BA in philosophy from Harvard University, and his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of California, Irvine.

From Kirkus Reviews:

More blue-collar realism from the author of The Fruit 'N Food (1997, not reviewed). Farrel Gorden is a first-class loser in his early 20s: He has a sales job in a New Hampshire shopping mall and spends his nights and weekends watching TV and arguing with his girlfriend, 17-year-old Shari. Farrel knows his life is empty and tries to fill it with alcohol and sex, but he's trouble waiting to happen. A fuse inside him ignites when his sporting goods store, which has been losing money, gets a new manager, a balding Korean-American named Roger Shin. Roger's improvements start resentments burning in (feral) Farrel, but Shin has a beautiful wife, Helen, who in her way is as discontented as Farrel. The two begin a torrid affair, which Helen almost immediately tries to withdraw from and which drives drug- and alcohol-addicted Shari to suicide. When Farrel in turn becomes vengeful and begins stalking Helen, she breaks down and confesses the affair to Roger, who then fires Farrelwho, after brooding in his apartment for a week, marches to the sporting goods store to murder Roger. Chang narrates his passionate, downbeat tale with naturalistic distance and an authentic, even microscopic grasp of the boring, dead-end world Farrel inhabits. But Chang strives also for a Kafkaesque twist, using a nameless, down-on-his-luck biology teacher to narrate the story. This narrator lives in the apartment where Farrel's sister used to live. The sister died of a drug overdose long before, but the narrator receives Farrel's letters to her and, lonely as he is, reads them and reconstructs the whole story. When he senses that Farrel is near to murder, he even tries to intervene. Chang is an exceptionally talented writer, but his story would have been powerful and angry enough without a disruptingly fancy, and not wholly convincing, narrative device. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Chang, Leonard
Published by Black Heron Press (2010)
ISBN 10: 0930773497 ISBN 13: 9780930773496
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