The witty, deftly crafted and poignant stories in this collection explore the sometimes thrilling, sometimes pathetic emotional lives of a diverse set of characters. Over the course of eight tales, often with an appealing touch of the surreal, we are introduced to a record company exec searching for a rock star, an inexperienced Russian soldier trapped between his murderous colleagues and a clever old woman, a faded football star recalling his lost chance at love, an actress who has a shot at a role that will free her from a lifetime of waitressing, a young man who kidnaps his ex-girlfriend's father's ashes, and other young people on the cusp of discovery, jubilation or loss. As he evokes the various states of agony and pleasure - humiliation, rebellion, cameraderie, and desire - Benioff displays a profound understanding of how single moments lead to transformation, and how sadness can be illuminated by a humorous flip side.
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"Following his debut novel, The 25th Hour (the basis for Spike Lee's underseen and underrated 2002 film), this mostly fantastic collection kick-starts with the masterful title story, in which a music exec cherry-picks a sexy punk singer for stardom against the wishes of her drummer boyfriend. 'The Devil Comes to Orekhovo,' about a trio of Russian soldiers on night patrol in Chechnya, may be the best Hemingway story that Hemingway never wrote. And the wistful 'Barefoot Girl in Clover' an ex-jock's reminiscences about a romance he now realizes was the love of his life--could even teach the Greeks (if not Pitt) something about tragedy. A-" -Entertainment Weekly
"Eight deliciously accessible stories follow the author's first novel (The 25th Hour, 2001) and his screenplay for Troy. All of these will hook you fast, and they'll keep you hooked, with the possible exception of "De Composition," a run-of-the-mill post-apocalyptic sketch. One story, "The Devil Comes to Orekovo," is thrillingly good. An 18-year-old soldier, Leksi, is on patrol with two hardened veterans. They order him to kill a defenseless old woman suspected of funding terrorists, though Leksi has never killed anybody. The soldiers are Russian and the woman is Chechen, but this study of war's brutal choices transcends time and place; the denouement has the satisfying inevitability of a work of art. Not quite in that league, but impressive nonetheless, is the title story, where Tabachnik, a talent scout for a major West Coast label, has his eyes on a singer with a punk-rock band playing New York. Moving cautiously, he detaches her from a poorly written contract and from her boyfriend, SadJoe, who stages a futile protest on the Los Angeles sidewalks. In the battle between blue-collar solidarity and really big bucks, old loyalties don't stand a chance. Show-biz opportunity comes knocking again in the slighter but well-crafted "Garden of No" as actress/waitress June gets her big break and, hating herself, flees from boyfriend Sam, the short-order cook. Benioff further demonstrates his range in "Barefoot Girl in Clover" (a former high school football star who goes searching for the lost love of his youth gets whipsawed by the past), "Merde for Luck" (two gay men struggle to stave off AIDS), and the barbed whimsy of "Zoanthropy," in which lions roam Manhattan and a humble museum guard claimshe's The Lover of the East Coast. The big city nurtures tall tales, a point made again in "Neversink," in which a young woman lures suitors by inventing a father who was, supposedly, a ferocious ex-biker and pal of Sinatra's. Technical accomplishment that's matched by a generosity of spirit. -Kirkus ReviewsAbout the Author:
David Benioff was born and raised in New York City. He adapted his first novel, THE 25TH HOUR, into the screenplay for Spike Lee's film of the same name. He is also the author of the screenplays for the films Troy and the forthcoming Stay, Wolverine and The Kite Runner. Stories from WHEN THE NINES ROLL OVER have appeared in Best New American Voices and The Best Nonrequired American Reading. He lives in Los Angeles, where he is at work on his next novel.
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Book Description SCEPTRE (HODD), 2006. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0340895624