Borrowed Hearts: New and Selected Stories

Borrowed Hearts: New and Selected Stories

by Rick DeMarinis, Rick Demarmis
     
 

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Borrowed Hearts traces the development of Rick DeMarinis's incantatory voice, including newer work as well as stories selected from his three previous, highly acclaimed collections: Under Wheat (1986), the winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize for short fiction; The Coming of the Free World, a New York Times Notable Book (1988); and The Voice of America

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Overview

Borrowed Hearts traces the development of Rick DeMarinis's incantatory voice, including newer work as well as stories selected from his three previous, highly acclaimed collections: Under Wheat (1986), the winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize for short fiction; The Coming of the Free World, a New York Times Notable Book (1988); and The Voice of America (1991). The title story was included in 1991's The Best Stories of the South, and "Your Story" was played on National Public Radio's Selected Shorts.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
"The Boys We Were, The Men We Became," the title of one of the 11 new stories in this compilation, also serves as shorthand for the themes that DeMarinis (The Year of the Zinc Penny) explores here. Taken together, the 21 intricately layered short narratives from previous collections and the new entries under the title "Borrowed Hearts" produce a poignant, dark yet often humorous portrait of American boyhood in the shadow of WWII, and American manhood in the gloom of confused values. Bludgeoned by misinformation from lost but overbearing adults, his boys find solace in the mechanics of ham radios and propeller planes. They become men confounded by hypocrisy, adultery and a tendency toward entropy. In "Fault Lines," Alfredo--stunned by his wife's indifference and the relentless chatter of his hyperactive young son, fearful of the directions his cholesterol and testosterone numbers are taking-- tells a colleague he's a peaceful man. "That's the world's number one oxymoron" is the reply. Leon in the title story is in his mid-60s when he develops an ability to smell the past and all the nostalgia it evokes; the cause is pathology, an aneurysm that has to be removed. Bernard, in "The Boys We Were..." can't understand how his father returned from the war both fat and empty. Most of his characters are sympathetic; however, DeMarinis also produces a number of grotesques: missile-silo watchmen, door-to-door salesmen, the couple who abandon their children. DeMarinis's true territory is the isolation of men who yearn for a home that doesn't exist, boys who learned to be James Dean, Aldo Ray, Marlon Brando, then grew up to discover there was no market for that facility, and became men with spiritual indigestion. Author tour. (June)
Borrowed Hearts: New And Selected Stories showcases the work of Rick DeMarinis, a major, award-winning American literary talent, and the author of six novels and three previous collections of short fiction. Borrowed Hearts is a showcase anthology that includes twenty-one selections from his three previous collections and eleven new stories never before published. Borrowed Hearts is "must" reading for all DeMarinis fans, and will serve as an ideal introduction for those becoming acquainted with his literary skills and story telling expertise for the first time.
Marc Smirnoff
...[A]n ideal curbside roost from which to contemplate his tantalizing, if often brooding, artistry....It's almost as if DeMarinis...enjoys throwing his suffering people into a variety of scenarios...just to see what happens....[Ultimately, it's] . as if De Marinis has discovered that good things happen in the world too, often when you least expect them.
The New York Times Book Review
Kirkus Reviews
A whopping gathering of thirty-two abrasive and colorful stories: twenty-one drawn from DeMarinis's three earlier collections, along with eleven previously uncollected tales. DeMarinis (The Mortician's Apprentice, 1994, etc.), is one of our most underrated writers: a master of aslant character portrayal whose impressively zany fictions feature teenagers maturing (usually in the 1940s) into worlds distorted by adult lust or hypocrisy ("Safe Forever," "Experience"); loners and grifters who reshape their worlds to accommodate their often unspeakable appetites ("Under the Wheat," "Medicine Man"); and exhausted Everymen whose mundane disillusionments metastasize alarmingly into comic-horrible crises (the computer executive of "Disneyland," drawn helplessly into the absurd orbits of his clinically depressed wife, suicidal son, and the latter's airheaded girlfriend, is a classic example). Here and there, we catch echoes of T.C. Boyle ("Life Between Meals") or Stanley Elkin ("An Airman's Goodbye"). Then again, who but DeMarinis could concoct such beguiling horrors as a serial killer in a pawnshop "trying to trade a necklace made of human kneecaps for a machete" or a toddler traumatized by science-fiction movies who "mutilated his new teddy bear with a steak knife"? There are few stories here that don't raise the pulse rate. Noteworthy among the newer are a complex, funky threnody on the physical sensations of aging ("Borrowed Hearts"); the understandably irritable confessions of a gun moll's eternally uprooted ten-year-old ("On the Lam"); and a beautifully developed (perhaps autobiographical) episodic story about surviving childhood within a chaotically fragmented family ("The Boys WeWere, The Men We Became"). Comic surrealism fashioned with rowdy wit and apparently inexhaustible creative energy.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781888363982
Publisher:
Seven Stories Press
Publication date:
04/01/1999
Edition description:
A SEVEN ST
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
6.31(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.10(d)

What People are saying about this

William Kittredge
Rick DeMarinis is a major fabulist; he should be recognized in his true company, the equal of Pynchon, DeLillo, and Calvino.

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