Further Interpretations of Real-Life Events: Stories [NOOK Book]

Overview

Propelled by a multitude of idiosyncratic voices, the stories in Kevin Moffett's Further Interpretations of Real-Life Events are tragic in their conception and comic in their execution. Moffett casts light on characters in transitional states, stalled and puzzled. In "In the Pines," a Civil War reenactor visits an elderly woman recently relocated to a retirement home. In "Border to Border," an immigrant working at an amusement park faces a disconcerting choice when he loses one of his dental crowns. In "First ...

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Further Interpretations of Real-Life Events: Stories

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Overview

Propelled by a multitude of idiosyncratic voices, the stories in Kevin Moffett's Further Interpretations of Real-Life Events are tragic in their conception and comic in their execution. Moffett casts light on characters in transitional states, stalled and puzzled. In "In the Pines," a Civil War reenactor visits an elderly woman recently relocated to a retirement home. In "Border to Border," an immigrant working at an amusement park faces a disconcerting choice when he loses one of his dental crowns. In "First Marriage," a honeymooning couple is stalled in Arizona by the stink of dead animal in their rental car. Even as they bumble and disappoint their way through these stories, these characters elicit from us a sympathy—even a self-identification—that is something much stronger than pity. The result is an unsettling and unforgettable collection. Written with penetrating insight into our motivations and fears, Further Interpretations of Real-Life Events is a wise, funny, and haunting book that signals the emergence of a trailblazing talent.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Moffett’s prize-winning (the Nelson Algren, the Pushcart, the 2010 National Magazine Award for this collection’s title story) short stories have been extensively and prestigiously published, and it’s easy to see why: Moffett’s work is melancholy and funny at the same time, with an uncanny knack for giving weighty topics (death especially, either imminent, remembered, or inevitable) a weightlessness that manages to make them graver rather than lighter. The best pieces, like the title story, about fathers and sons both biological and symbolic, touch on writing and memory and death. “One Dog Year” has John D. Rockefeller both too old to die and already dead and almost making it sky-ward; he believes that “Birth is a dream, spontaneous and innate” and death, “a slow, false, divine calamity.” Language soars in unexpected directions: “On the brink of time, when he stands at last, he sings.” And strange happenings make perfect sense as people do what they have to do to metabolize grief and its bubbly sidekick, love. When Moffett’s not at his best he gets stuck in strange mode, but it hardly matters when so many are so good. This collection will leave readers grateful to have encountered characters who are as odd as they are, as sad as they may be, and as stupidly hopeful. (Jan.)
Chris Adrian
“These stories are as enormously funny as they are enormously sad. Moffett deals in wisdom, humor, and sympathy with extraordinary fluency; the results are always as unsettling as they are reassuring. And this seems to me about as close as you can come to writing the truth about life.”
Vanity Fair
“Marvelous stories.”
The Rumpus
“One of the most delightful collections in recent memory. . . . It’s rare to see as bright a star as Moffett on the literary scene. With this lovely collection, he is one to watch.”
Richard Russo
“The first thing you notice reading the stories in Further Interpretations of Real-Life Events is the author’s extraordinary range—of expertise, technique, imagination and wit. There doesn’t seem to be much Kevin Moffett can’t do.”
Sam Lipsyte
“Kevin Moffett’s stories are stealth heartbreakers, as well as wonders of sly detail and perfect tone. He’s writing some of the best short fiction around.”
Alice Sebold
“Humor is too often heartless, sheer cleverness lacking content. Kevin Moffett is a member of that delightful minority that takes up the ordinary to reveal the extraordinary. These stories are funny, insightful, and reveal, but never strive for, true depth.”
Library Journal
In the title piece of this fine new collection by Moffett (Permanent Visitors), a young writer who specializes in stories about fathers and sons is forced to reassess all of the assumptions he's made about his past when his father begins writing stories that cover much the same territory. "In the Pines" features an old woman recently moved unwillingly to a retirement home at the edge of a battlefield who is visited by a Civil War reenactor—or is he a projection of her own imagination? "English Made Easy" deals with a young widow's anguish as she attempts to deal with the aftermath of her husband's unexpected death. "First Marriage" is about newlyweds driving a car to Florida who become stuck in the Arizona desert after an unknown animal dies in the vents. VERDICT If there's an overarching theme here, it's about the ways in which people in a state of transition struggle to find themselves in a changed world. Moffett's stories brilliantly capture the uncertainty and emotional precariousness of those moments of becoming; for fans of his fiction and the short story form.—Lawrence Rungren, Merrimack Valley Lib. Consortium, North Andover, MA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062069238
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/20/2012
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 240
  • File size: 312 KB

Meet the Author

Kevin Moffett's stories have appeared in McSweeney's, Tin House, American Short Fiction, and elsewhere, as well as in three editions of The Best American Short Stories. He is the winner of the Nelson Algren Award, a Pushcart Prize, and the 2010 National Magazine Award for the title story. He lives in Claremont, California.

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