Title: You Are Not a Stranger Here
Publisher: Doubleday, New York
Publication Date: 2002
Binding: Hard Cover
Book Condition: Fine
Dust Jacket Condition: Fine
Signed: Signed by Author
Edition: First Edition
First printing, full number line. Signed by the author on the title page: "Adam Haslett." This story collection is Haslett's first book. Second-state dust jacket, with "Today's Book Club" logo; jacket is not price-clipped (original price $21.95). Brodart protected. Bookseller Inventory # 000218
Synopsis: The publication of ?Notes to My Biographer,? in Zoetrope: All-Story magazine introduced readers to the remarkable voice of Adam Haslett. Nominated as part of a National Magazine Award, broadcast on National Public Radio, performed at venues across the country, the story brought the author widespread recognition.
Now, in his first book, Adam Haslett gives us nine richly varied stories, each suffused with intense emotion and written in a lyric prose alternatively lush and spare. You Are Not a Stranger Here carries its readers into the hearts and minds of people facing life?s most profound dilemmas. We meet an aging inventor still burning with ideas as he makes a final visit to his gay son. A psychiatrist?s encounter with a reluctant patient reveals a young doctor?s own needs and fears. An orphaned boy finds solace in a classmate?s violence. The return of an old lover disturbs the peace between a brother and sister who have lived together for decades.
In settings that range from New England to Great Britain, from Los Angeles to the American West, the stories in this book treat what Faulkner called the old verities and truths of the heart: love and honor, pity and pride, compassion and sacrifice. They do so with heartbreaking precision and an often generous humor, drawing us past the surface of characters? lives into the moments of decision and recognition that shape them irrevocably. Together these stories constitute a significant achievement by a powerful new writer.
Review: In his debut story collection, You Are Not a Stranger Here, Adam Haslett drags into the light subjects often left in the cellar. Most of his stories are told from the viewpoint of the mentally ill (though one, "The Good Doctor," shows us madness from a caregiver's perspective). The rest of the stories deal with closeted homosexuality: boys who are just learning their identity, men who have never come to terms with it. Haslett is an enormously compassionate writer, and shows a lovely, plain-written acuity about his people. His writing is a convincing inside job--he never romanticizes or oversimplifies. In "The Volunteer," an old woman at a care facility is haunted by the voice of an ancestress named Hester: "For more than two decades, Elizabeth Maynard has done exactly as she is told and the voice of Hester, which has cost her so much, comes only quietly and intermittently. It is a negative sort of achievement, she thinks, to have spent a life warding something off."
Haslett has a gift for writing quietly about sensational topics: men cruising each other in the park at night; an abusive, self-hating relationship between two adolescent boys. The stories can get a bit too fancy: the writer can't resist the ironic twist or the surprise ending. Still, this is a beautifully written collection that's as heartfelt as it is intelligent. --Claire Dederer
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