Bone By Bone

Bone By Bone

by Gary Krist
     
 

For the Garden State, his 1988 collection of short stories, Gary Krist received the highly prestigious Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The reviews were entusiastic. "Smart and tender short stories written with enticing crispness...Krist is a remarkable writer, and just starting," said the Los Angeles Times. Bone by

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Overview

For the Garden State, his 1988 collection of short stories, Gary Krist received the highly prestigious Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The reviews were entusiastic. "Smart and tender short stories written with enticing crispness...Krist is a remarkable writer, and just starting," said the Los Angeles Times. Bone by Bone, like the Garden State, takes its characters from the middle class of New Jersey, adding Brooklyn and upstate New York. Children, lovers, senior citizens; salesmen, morticians, college administrators. People of every possible sexual persuasion-including those who are not sure. But while Krist's humor thrives, his canvas now has darker, deeper tones as he explores the loneliness of misfits, the pain of separations, and the uneasiness of everyday relationships. A thought provoking, different, memorable collection of short stories, beautifully written.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Probing the quiet depths of suburban desperation, Krist ( The Garden State ) extends the lessons of Cheever and Updike while steering his second short-story collection in some decidedly odd directions. The author has a knack for creating characters who teeter between the ordinary and the ridiculous, and he is at his best when combining humor or empathy with a conventional situation turned sideways or upside down. ``Ever Alice,'' the tale of a casual lover who turns out to be a near-femme fatale, opens with the delightful teaser, ``The first thing she ever did to me was ruin Emily Dickinson.'' ``Hungry,'' set in Westchester, relates the adventures of Frank, an assistant embalmer who decides to move to Hungry, Alaska, and finds half the residents of his town eager to come along for the ride. On the more serious side, ``Baggage'' conveys the anguish of a man who decides to leave a relationship as his lover faces the steady decline caused by her cerebral palsy. Lesser entries are emotionally effective but have plots that lean toward stereotype. ``Eclipse'' captures the chagrin of a newly divorced man who's about to be displaced, while the three ``Erickson Stories'' confront the decline and fall of a marriage. Krist is a promising talent, a banner carrier for the long-awaited renaissance of the short story. (Apr.)
Library Journal
In his welcome second collection of polished and perceptive stories, Krist ( The Garden State , Harcourt, 1988) compassionately and humorously limns the lives of people in trouble. In ``Baggage,'' a man's friends jauntily gather to help him move; everyone knows but no one mentions that he is leaving his crippled girlfriend. The lovely, bittersweet ``Eclipse'' chronicles a divorced man's outing with his sons to watch the solar eclipse. As each tale unfolds, characters and situations become more unconventional: in ``Bone by Bone,'' a woman cuts herself off from the outside world as she retreats into insanity; and ``Medicated'' shows a widow still fragile after the senseless murder of her husband beginning a dangerous relationship with a mentally unstable man. Three related stories movingly explore a disintegrating marriage from the son's point of view; in the third, ``Numbers,'' Krist artfully evokes a boy's coming of age at the time of the Vietnam draft lottery. Recommended for most collections.-- Patricia Ross, Westerville P.L., Ohio
Alice Joyce
In the title story of this satisfying collection, Hilma Vlieck is an indexer of books who has more than one pressing problem. An urgent deadline demands she toil away on her latest project, but constant telephone calls (from her editor pressuring her to complete the task at hand and her soon-to-be ex-husband imploring her to consider a reconciliation) only serve to exacerbate a tense situation. In this and many of his stories, Krist presents a quirky and soulful scenario consisting of a commonplace predicament that requires something more than his bewildered character has to give.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780151820641
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
04/20/1994
Edition description:
1st ed
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 1.03(d)

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