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An extraordinary second collection of short stories from an author who is set to become one of America's leading literary voices. In the tradition of Raymond Carver or Tobias Wolff, these are all-encompassing stories of the American psyche; of love and loss; of the landscape and its people. A goldfish circles in its bowl, refusing to die, becoming the silent focus of a difficult family life; a pianist loses his talents as he is forced to question the meaning of love and commitment. Through a blend of lyricism and humour, these stories of ordinary human dilemmas take flight and become mythical and universal. David Means is a rare writer who transports us to the heart of what it is to be human.
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David Means is the author of A Quick Kiss of Redemption and The Secret Goldfish. His stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, Esquire, The O. Henry Prize Stories, and The Best American Short Stories. He lives in Nyack, New York, and teaches at Vassar College.Review:
Achingly intelligent....[David Means] stands among our most gifted younger writers.” (New York Times)
“David Means knows his way around the English language. [The Secret Goldfish] aims toward a mythology of the modern heartland...so lovely I want to quote the whole thing.” (Los Angeles Times)
“Vivid...Means’s last collection was a finalist for the National Book Award...the stories here are just as unsentimental and tightly wound.” (New York Times Book Review)
“A darkly comic cache of stories . . . impressively inventive.” (Elle)
“With stunning simplicity, Means offers 15 stirring portraits of tragedy, loss, and love.” (Esquire)
“An imaginative and penetrating collection.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“Riveting...it is Means’ signature talent to view the lives of his characters, and life itself, from somewhere just beyond...” (Jeffrey Eugenides, author of The Virgin Suicides and Middlesex)
“Lean, agile...There’s not a cheap emotion or a predictable conclusion to be found...humane [and] unaccountably lovely.” (New York Times Book Review on Assorted Fire Events)
“A splendid short story collection...from one of the most original writers of short fiction working today (Esquire on Assorted Fire Events)
Crystalline.” (The New Yorker on Assorted Fire Events)
“We care for the characters as if we have known and loved and detested them forever...An exceptional book.” (Michael Faber on Assorted Fire Events)
“Means is a courageous writer, intelligent and funny and humane...the pleasure in reading THE SECRET GOLDFISH is tremendous.” (Donald Antrim)
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