Fitting Ends and Other Stories

Fitting Ends and Other Stories

by Dan Chaon
     
 

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Dan Chaon's first collection offers thirteen deft stories detailing the panicked angst of the American generation now approaching thirty. His characters are unnerved by the discrepancy between their youthful expectations and adult reality; they long for understanding and acceptance but are thwarted by failed love, family disruptions, dull work, and sexual confusion

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Overview

Dan Chaon's first collection offers thirteen deft stories detailing the panicked angst of the American generation now approaching thirty. His characters are unnerved by the discrepancy between their youthful expectations and adult reality; they long for understanding and acceptance but are thwarted by failed love, family disruptions, dull work, and sexual confusion. His perfect pitch captures voices that still believe in life, but can't quite manage their lives.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Chaon artfully inhabits each character's skin, while his gifts for natural description—Nebraska wheatfields, Chicago's lakefront—are considerable, too. But it is his deft depiction of emotional exchange, or the lack of it, that fills these stories with life." —Chicago Tribune

"Chaon's psychological insight, descriptive gifts and knack for conveying whole lives as they sculpt themselves against time make him a writer to savor—and to watch." —Seattle Times

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Anyone who has ever toyed with the idea of staying in school an extra year in order to delay the sobering responsibilities of adulthood will identify with the people in Chaon's first collection. Familial burdens, sexual confusion and unchallenging jobs are just a few of the impediments to the happiness of these 20-something characters, leaving them disillusioned and powerless to move on. It is especially poignant in ``Rapid Transit,'' when the transition from fair-haired collegian to entry-level lackey stirs up some scary emotions. In ``Fraternity,'' a party-boy rejects reality even as ``the music faded, the lights came up.'' Many seek constancy from family members, only to find that they too are changing beyond their control. One man looks to his ailing grandmother for some order, while another hunts down his biological mother to provide ``whatever's missing'' in his life. Mired in the present, the characters often glorify the past: ``Scott had felt ashamed to have such fond memories, and so little desire to start over.'' The stories are deftly written and brilliantly structured, with titillating beginnings and somewhat cryptic endings. The prospect for this generation is not grim, Chaon seems to say; it's just uncertain. (Oct.)
Library Journal
News reports from small towns on the Nebraska prairie tend to dwell on the greying of a way of life, but Chaon's first collection of short stories is more concerned with the life still taking place that passes underneath the radar of public regard. Thus, "Transformations" tells of the homecoming of a newly uncloseted homosexual from the point of view of his younger brother; "Dread" is the story of a young man living with his brother and sister-in-law in Chicago who spills the beans about his brother's affair. Most of the stories deal simply with simple themes (the exception being "My Sister's Honeymoon: A Videotape," a more experimental piece about a brother reflecting on the changes brought about by his sister's marriage that is organized by the time tag of a video camera). It is in the telling, the subtle shifts of perspective, and the transformation of character in a short space that distinguish Chaon as a writer to watch. Though most of his stories seem suspended rather than concluded (an unfortunate trademark of university writing programs, of which Chaon is a product), this is a very respectable first effort; it's unfortunate that the high hardcover price might keep this work out of smaller libraries. For collections of literary fiction.Adam Mazmanian, "Library Journal"

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780810150218
Publisher:
Northwestern University Press
Publication date:
10/28/1995
Edition description:
1
Pages:
241
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Dan Chaon is the acclaimed author of Among the Missing, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, and You Remind Me of Me, which was named one of the best books of the year by The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, The Christian Science Monitor, and Entertainment Weekly, among other publications. Chaon's fiction has appeared in many journals and anthologies, including The Best American Short Stories, Pushcart Prize, and The O. Henry Prize Stories. He has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award in Fiction, and he was the recipient of the 2006 Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Chaon lives in Cleveland, Ohio, and teaches at Oberlin College, where he is the Pauline M. Delaney Professor of Creative Writing.

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