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Most of Us Are Here Against Our Will is a strikingly accomplished debut story collection about love, loss, sex, and survival in the hard heart of Texas. In "Things She Never Thought About In Ecaudor," a young woman recently back from the Peace Corps believes that she's the cause of the breast cancer that led to her sister's mastectomy. A mother, mourning the loss of her son by burning the boxes that contained his life, must also come to terms with a visit from her son's lover and her husband's infidelity in "Things You Can Expect From Your Loved Ones." In "Quite Cold In Alaska," a promising road trip up the California coast turns into a meditation on familial expectation and disappointment when the addled matriarch goes missing. And in the eponymous title story, "Most Of Us Are Here Against Our Will," which won an award in The Atlantic Monthly, an hysterical young man, unable to move past a torturous family secret, finds help and solace in an unlikely place—a therapy group full of others just like him. Peopled with reluctant porn stars and directors, failing actors, a misguided cheerleader, a murderous, vengeful writer, and many others, these nine stories are, according to Bret Easton Ellis, "direct, emotional, and compulsively readable." Mary Gaitskill, of Don't Cry and Veronica, has said that "they are about an engaging variety of nuts and sluts, and you actually read them wondering what is going to happen next. Levinson's talent is as big as the state about which he's writing. I'm a big fan." And Edmund White, of A Boy's Own Story, has called Levinson's world "acetylene hot...There's something as raw and frightening and egotistical in these men and women as in Homeric heroes. Read them and love them as much as I do."
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Praise for Most Of Us Are Here Against Our Will...
David Samuel Levinson is a young writer who has mastered all the elements that make up a classically structured short story: drama, suspense, humor, empathy. There are no fancy pyrotechnics or meta-fictional devices here. He's a neo-traditionalist so the stories are direct, emotional and compulsively readable, plus there's enough mystery and action in them to propel at least a dozen novels. These stories, about families and lovers and loss and surviving, make a reader wonder why we haven't heard from Levinson ages ago--they feel that timeless and essential.⇾ Bret Easton Ellis, author of American Psycho
David Samuel Levinson's stories are funny, smart and inventive; they are about an engaging variety of heartbreakers and the heartbroken, and you actually read them wondering what is going to happen next. Like Salinger's motley cast of characters, the stories in Levinson's collection are always surprising and haunting to the very last word. ⇾ Mary Gaitskill, author of Don't Cry and Veronica
These gutsy, engaging stories introduce a voice in American fiction from which we are destined to hear more in the future. They are elegant, swift, sometimes heartbreaking, always--in the best sense of the word--surprising: stories to re-read, and to pass on. ⇾ David Leavitt, author of The Lost Language Of Cranes and The Indian Clerk
David Samuel Levinson's world is acetylene hot. His characters may be wearing designer clothes, but they're about to slug it out like their Texas forbears. There's something as raw and frightening and egotistical in these men and women as in Homeric heroes. Theirs are not lives of quiet desperation but of sudden vituperative violence. ⇾ Edmund White, author of A Boy's Own Story
David Samuel Levinson is the author of the forthcoming novel, Antonia Lively Breaks The Silence (Algonquin Books, winter 2012). He’s been nominated several times for the Pushcart Prize and has won an award for fiction in The Atlantic Monthly. He’s received multiple fellowships from Yaddo, the Jentel Foundation, the Millay Colony, Ledig House, Pouch Cove, the Santa Fe Arts Institute, and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. You can find his stories and poems in RE:AL, storySouth, The James White Review, The New Penguin Book of Short Stories, The Brooklyn Review, Prairie Schooner, The Toronto Quarterly, Between Men 2: An Anthology and West Branch among others. In 2008 to 2009 he served as the Emerging Writer Lecturer at Gettysburg College. In 2011, he won the Marguerite and Lamar Smith Fellowship for Writers. Currently, David teaches creative writing online through the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and NYU’s SCPS.
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