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God Bless America: Stories

God Bless America: Stories

by Steve Almond

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Almond (My Life in Heavy Metal) hears America singing, and the country is way off-key, at least in this collection of 13 irony-laden short stories. In the title offering, a would-be actor and Boston Tea Party re-enactor believes that America is the land of “opportunists” and, through an improbable series of circumstances, accidentally proves this statement to be true. In “Not Until You Say Yes,” a crabby airport security woman is forced to babysit an unaccompanied minor who turns out to have the larcenous heart of a natural-born con man. In the amusing “Tamalpais,” a teenage waiter has a sweaty encounter with a drunken, lecherous female customer. In the collection’s best effort, the Pushcart-winning “The Darkness Together,” an overbearing mother and sullen teenage son on a train trip are forced into the company of a man who harrowingly insinuates himself into their deepest secrets. Two stories revolve around 9/11, but both are disappointingly glib. And in the final story, “A Dream of Sleep,” an immigrant graveyard caretaker, about to lose his job because the land has been sold for redevelopment into a sports arena, gives sanctuary to a pregnant teen and tries to keep the specter of death from taking the baby she bears in the children’s cemetery. Like William Carlos Williams, Almond is writing in the American grain, but the wood has become so warped that this collection about disaffected characters who can barely articulate their needs and fears defines a new American gothic. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Almond (Candyfreak: A Journey Through the Chocolate Underbelly of America) grabs the reader right away in this collection of 13 linked stories about the hapless, the hopeless, and the helpless in "the land of opportunists." The result is a comic masterpiece about clueless Billy Clamm's surprise adventures as a tour guide with Sammy Duck Land and Sea Tours in Boston. In "Donkey Greedy, Donkey Gets Punched," professional poker player Gary Sharpe gets in a showdown with his psychiatrist, who has a secret gambling habit himself. In another story, a Jewish college student finds more than he bargained for when he joins his girlfriend for a very nontraditional family Christmas. Other stories take a much darker, sadder turn, so that by the end of the book one longs for a little more of the author's zany humor. VERDICT Almond's deft touch with both comedy and tragedy make this a memorable and well-crafted collection.—Leslie Patterson, Rehoboth, MA

Product Details

Hub City Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)

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