Eternity and Other Stories

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Here are seven stories from a master of the art. Viktor Chemayev is the Philip Marlowe of Russian detectives, a sad-eyed, heavy drinking romantic who refuses to stay beat. In the title novella of this extraordinary collection, he goes head-to-head with an Irish assassin in the depths of a Moscow nightclub in an attempt to win back his true love, who has been sold to the Beelzebub-like king of the Moscow underworld... Lucius Shepard is known for his dark, unpredictable vision, and in this assemblage of some of his...

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Overview

Here are seven stories from a master of the art. Viktor Chemayev is the Philip Marlowe of Russian detectives, a sad-eyed, heavy drinking romantic who refuses to stay beat. In the title novella of this extraordinary collection, he goes head-to-head with an Irish assassin in the depths of a Moscow nightclub in an attempt to win back his true love, who has been sold to the Beelzebub-like king of the Moscow underworld... Lucius Shepard is known for his dark, unpredictable vision, and in this assemblage of some of his best writing he takes us from Moscow to Africa; from the mountains of Iraq, where Specialist Charlie N. Wilson encounters a very different sort of enemy, to Central America, where a bloody-handed colonel meets his doom via lizards. In these seven tales Shepard's imagination spans the globe and, like an American Gabriel Garcia Marquez, refuses to be restricted by mere reality.

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Editorial Reviews

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The Barnes & Noble Review
The aptly entitled Eternity is Lucius Shepard's newest collection of genre-transcending stories. The spiritually themed collection includes seven thought-provoking and profoundly moving novellas that explore the war in Iraq and post-glasnost Russia, as well as the aftermath of 9/11.

In "A Walk in the Garden," a group of American operatives investigating a recently bombed mountainside in northern Iraq follow a cavern into the depths of an Islamic hell -- and improbable enlightenment. The Nebula Award–nominated "Crocodile Rock" revolves around a series of brutal murders in Africa by a sorcerer who claims to have evolved into something more than human and the unbeliever who finds unlikely salvation through him. "Jailwise" is a bizarre love story about an incarcerated artist and his even more bizarre muse. But perhaps the most chilling -- and unforgettable -- story is "Only Partly Here," which follows a 9/11 volunteer as he and his fellow workers clean up Ground Zero. Bobby, a Columbia grad student who has taken a year off from school, is helping to remove the rubble piece by piece, and each day he comes to the site he enters a nightmarish otherworld: "fires smouldering under the earth. It's like going to work in Mordor, the shadow everywhere... ashes and sorrow." After their shift ends, many of the overwhelmed workers go to a nearby bar to decompress. That's where Bobby meets a mysterious woman seeking resolution...

Readers who enjoyed Shepard's spiritual entreaty A Handbook of American Prayer will find Eternity and Other Stories to be a superb example of the author's extraordinary depth and diversity. Highly recommended. Paul Goat Allen

Publishers Weekly
Ranging in locale from the ruins at ground zero to war-torn contemporary Iraq and a civil war-ridden corner of a nameless African republic, Shepard's haunting, structurally perfect stories in his latest collection serve as a veritable travel guide to geographic hot spots of tragedy and trauma and the horrors they spawn. In "Only Partly Here," a young man cleaning up the site of the World Trade Center collapse finds direction in his life through a relationship with an enigmatic woman who haunts downtown Manhattan and reveals herself to be a lost soul of a different type. "Eternity and Afterwards" tells of a Russian gangster whose navigation through the occult recesses of a sprawling nightclub captures the Byzantine realities of his country. Shepard (A Handbook of American Prayer) manages a perfect meshing of details that bring the imagined backdrops of these tales to vivid life with the psychological and emotional lives of his characters. Agent, Ralph Vicinanza. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Death and the afterlife are predominant themes in these seven tales from Shepard (Valentine, 2002, etc.). "Only Partly Here," set during the cleanup at ground zero after 9/11, features a ghost searching for-closure? In "A Walk in the Garden," a bomb blows open a cavern in an Iraqi hillside, revealing a vast field of strange yellow flowers; the locals see it as the Islamic Paradise, but to the American soldiers ordered to advance into its demon-haunted immensities, calling it Hell seems more appropriate. Still, Islam, unlike Christianity, offers the chance to escape from Hell, or so Specialist Charles N. Wilson will learn. And in the title piece, a Mephistophelean Muscovite nightclub owner has built his own private afterlife-so gumshoe Viktor Chemayev discovers as he attempts to buy the freedom of the woman he loves, while fending off an Irish assassin and the paradoxical advice of his boss. Elsewhere, an African dictator's toxic curse seeps into the rivers, turning humans into half-crocodiles. A Central American war hero helps an American journalist who has proof of a powerful secret policeman's horrific proclivities in "The Drive-In Puerto Rico," a story that includes one of the all-time oddest death scenes, a suffocation by lizards. Central to "Jailwise" is Diamond Bar, an existential prison where concrete walls turn into dazzling art works, cell bars metamorphose into gold and both inmates and guards seek punishment or redemption as they choose. And a rich, ageless, sex-obsessed FBI woman-maybe she's an alien, or an abductee-and her two weird sidekicks mesmerize a violent ex-con and his needy girlfriend. Shepard's mastery of technique, surrealism and sheer spectacle blazes forth, butbeneath the razzle-dazzle lies-nothing much.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560256625
  • Publisher: Avalon Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/9/2005
  • Pages: 442
  • Product dimensions: 5.68 (w) x 8.26 (h) x 1.23 (d)

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