MY DATE WITH SATAN: Stories

Stacey Richter

Published by Scribner, 1999
ISBN 10: 0684857014 / ISBN 13: 9780684857015
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Synopsis: Combining compassionate grace with edgy satire, a collection of tales offering a clear-eyed, funny, and unsentimental view of American life and popular culture includes a dog who gains art world fame and a Cat Lady who loves a Rat Boy. A first collection. 12,500 first printing.

Review: Breathe a sigh of relief at the appearance of Stacey Richter, a hip, pop culture-obsessed fiction writer who actually knows what she's doing. A lot of "buzz" surrounds her first collection, My Date with Satan, and she was hailed by the Voice Literary Supplement as a "writer on the verge," but Richter is much more than the flavor of the month. Her prose bristles with humor and sadness, and her characters are true originals: an ex Teen Idol ("The Ocean"), a member of a Swedish heavy-metal band ("Goal 666"), a girl who desperately wants to be a Cat Lady ("Rats Eat Cats"). In this last story the 21-year-old narrator can't wait to get old in an apartment overtaken by felines:

I would constantly wear the same sweater, and maybe a synthetic wig. I'd have several litter boxes in my apartment, and this litter would be changed infrequently. I would receive either welfare or social security and spent most (if not all) of these public moneys on cat food.... Cat hair would be embedded in my sweater. It would almost appear that my sweater was made of cat hair.
Richter's characters are often pathetic or blind to themselves, but the author never condescends; writing solely in first person, she masterfully captures the private logic and language of her narrators. They are like messengers from an overlooked world, telling us stories we somehow need to know. In this way Richter reminds me of Eudora Welty, who also invested small, outcast characters with poetry, humor, grace. My Date with Satan establishes Richter as a talent to be reckoned with. She writes like a discoverer who has found the country she's been looking for. --Emily White

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Bibliographic Details

Title: MY DATE WITH SATAN: Stories
Publisher: Scribner
Publication Date: 1999
Book Condition: Good

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