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Brain Work

Overview

Michael Guista's emotionally adept, psychologically acute debut collection explores the vast mysteries of the human mind and the fascinating intricacies of the soul. Turning a keen fictional eye to the rich terrain explored by Kay Redfield Jamison and Steven Pinker, Guista confronts modern mind-body dilemmas with an extraordinary mix of compassion for his characters and awe at their situations. A disillusioned psychiatrist discovers too late the folly of his professional obsession with unusual brain injuries. A ...

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Overview

Michael Guista's emotionally adept, psychologically acute debut collection explores the vast mysteries of the human mind and the fascinating intricacies of the soul. Turning a keen fictional eye to the rich terrain explored by Kay Redfield Jamison and Steven Pinker, Guista confronts modern mind-body dilemmas with an extraordinary mix of compassion for his characters and awe at their situations. A disillusioned psychiatrist discovers too late the folly of his professional obsession with unusual brain injuries. A son confronts the legacy of his father's schizophrenia, with surprising conclusions. An endearing late-life romance blooms between two patients in a nursing facility, one of whom is discovering life anew as the other sinks into the confusion of Alzheimer's. Disquieting, funny, and deeply human, these stories offer wise comment on the ambiguities of life.

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Editorial Reviews

Priya Jain
The paranoia that eats at a college professor who ran over a child, the debauched rampage of an obsessive-compulsive trying to obliterate his fears, the helplessness of a father who, through the haze of a migraine, watches his wife sell all their belongings -- these stories bring something better than a theory: the creepy reminder that ''the thin curtains between 'them' and 'us' '' don't really exist at all.
— The New York Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618546725
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 7/1/2005
  • Series: Edition 001 Series
  • Pages: 194
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.45 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Guista holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of California, Irvine, as well as a master's degree in psychology. His work has appeared in American Short Fiction, the North American Review, Quarterly West, Prairie Schooner, and other literary journals. Brain Work was selected by Charles Baxter as the winner of the 2004 Katharine Bakeless Nason Prize for fiction, awarded by Middlebury College and the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. A recipient of a fellowship from the California Arts Council, Guista teaches at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, California.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Filling the spaces between us 1
The whole world's guilt 26
The front yard 45
Down to the roots 51
A walk outside 66
Secrets 83
The interviewer 88
Step four 96
Kiltee 107
The old country 115
California 122
Godcrazy 142
Let me introduce to you 148
The year of release 159
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