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The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea
     

The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea

4.4 5
by Christopher Meeks
 

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Here is a story collection about love, death, humor, and the glue called family. In one narrative, a man wakes up one morning to find the odor of dead fish won't go away, but no one else can smell it. In another, a couple's visit with friends to watch the Academy Awards has the protagonist envying his friends' lawn and lifestyle. In these and eleven other stories,

Overview

Here is a story collection about love, death, humor, and the glue called family. In one narrative, a man wakes up one morning to find the odor of dead fish won't go away, but no one else can smell it. In another, a couple's visit with friends to watch the Academy Awards has the protagonist envying his friends' lawn and lifestyle. In these and eleven other stories, Christopher Meeks balances tragedy and wit. As novelist David Scott Milton explains, "In this collection, Christopher Meeks examines the small heartbreaks of quiet despair that are so much a part of all our lives. He does it in language that is resonant, poetic, and precise.... If you like Raymond Carver, you'll love Meeks. He may be as good--or better."

Editorial Reviews

Los Angeles Times - Carmela Ciuraru
"Poignant and wise, sympathetic to the everyday struggles these characters face."
Carmela Ciuraru
"Poignant and wise, sympathetic to the everyday struggles these characters face."
POD Girl
"A collection so stunning...that I could not help but move on to the next story."
Entertainment Weekly - POD Girl
"A collection so stunning...that I could not help but move on to the next story."
James Cox
"'The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea' is highly recommended, highly entertaining, and highly rewarding reading."
The Midwest Book Review - James Cox
"'The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea' is highly recommended, highly entertaining, and highly rewarding reading."
Carolyn Howard-Johnson
"If the publishing and reading world is fair and just, Christopher Meeks is destined to be widely read and deservedly honored."
MyShelf.com - Carolyn Howard-Johnson
"If the publishing and reading world is fair and just, Christopher Meeks is destined to be widely read and deservedly honored."
Dogmatika - Susan Tomaselli
"Thirteen is an unlucky number for some, but not Meeks. In these thirteen, you'll find the charm of Tobias Wolff, the frailty of Paul Auster, the beauty of Raymond Carver, and at times even the transcendence of a Hal Hartley film."
Susan Tomaselli
"Thirteen is an unlucky number for some, but not Meeks. In these thirteen, you'll find the charm of Tobias Wolff, the frailty of Paul Auster, the beauty of Raymond Carver, and at times even the transcendence of a Hal Hartley film."

Product Details

BN ID:
2940013100244
Publisher:
White Whisker Books
Publication date:
08/16/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
153
Sales rank:
1,054,344
File size:
684 KB

Meet the Author

Christopher Meeks was born in Minnesota, earned degrees from the University of Denver and USC, and has lived in Los Angeles since 1977. He's taught English at Santa Monica College, and creative writing at CalArts, UCLA Extension, Art Center College of Design, and USC. His fiction has appeared often in Rosebud magazine as well as other literary journals, and his books have won several Noble (not Nobel) Awards. His short works have been collected into two volumes, "The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea" and "Months and Seasons," the latter which appeared on the long list for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award. He's had three plays produced, and "Who Lives?: A Drama" is published. His focus is now on longer fiction. His first novel is "The Brightest Moon of the Century," and his second, "Love At Absolute Zero."

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Middle-Aged Man and the Sea 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Christopher Meeks bounces onto the literary scene as a vibrant new voice filled with talent and imagination. THE MIDDLE-AGED MAN & THE SEA is one of the finer collection of short stories that will rapidly rise to the top to of the heap of a battery of fine writers of this difficult medium. Meeks writes about all the little bumps and stumbling blocks we all face in our contemporary journey through life. His stories deal with broken marriages, fractured dreams, death, brain damage, isolation, envy, frustrated communication - all topics that hardly sound like fodder for interesting stories, but in Meeks' polished hands these topics become the conversation of life in society today. They contain keen humor, pain as well as tenderness, and insights into topics that most other writers consider taboo. There isn't a weak story in the thirteen works here, most having been published in literary magazines prior to this book form. 'Green River' is a family outing that reveals the dissolution of companionship in a few terse pages. 'He's Home' is a quick tale of a man, probably cyclothymic or bipolar, bringing flowers home to his wife only to find she has left him: his response to this lonely discovery explains the probable reasons for her departure. Meeks is able to travel back in time to explore personal idiosyncrasies as in 'The Rotary' and in 'Dear Ma'. In the latter he also manages to take us inside the mind of a failing senile woman (?Alzheimer's victim?) and is written with such finesse and grace that we actually find ourselves thinking in the way Dear Ma's deteriorating mind works. It is a jewel of a story. 'The Fundamentals of Nuclear Dating' is a funny tale that holds a bite and says a lot about our 21st century computer driven dating (read data gathering) consequences. 'Engaging Ben' is as keen an observation of current bonding as any story out there. Et cetera for the rest of the tales. The odd and strangely wonderful and unique aspect of these is not only the fine writing of a terrific wordsmith, it is also the fact that Meeks is asking us or inviting us to look at the darker things in our lives that go bump in the night. Life in Meeks' stories is full of random coincidences that, depending on our state of vulnerability vs our state of awareness, can either uncover hidden pain or turn on a light to illuminate the elected darkness in which we have chosen to live. He peoples his stories with variations of us and our extended family of humanity and turns us inside out, showing us how our microsecond of life on this planet can be a time of significance or inadvertently squandered. Biting and sassy, eloquent and intelligent, this collection of short stories is excellent reading. Meeks knows his craft: these tiny microcosms of living offer proof that his novels, soon to come, will be works to watch. Very Highly Recommended. Grady Harp
Guest More than 1 year ago
Christopher Meeks bounces onto the literary scene as a vibrant new voice filled with talent and imagination. THE MIDDLE-AGED MAN & THE SEA is one of the finer collection of short stories that will rapidly rise to the top to of the heap of a battery of fine writers of this difficult medium. Meeks writes about all the little bumps and stumbling blocks we all face in our contemporary journey through life. His stories deal with broken marriages, fractured dreams, death, brain damage, isolation, envy, frustrated communication - all topics that hardly sound like fodder for interesting stories, but in Meeks' polished hands these topics become the conversation of life in society today. They contain keen humor, pain as well as tenderness, and insights into topics that most other writers consider taboo. There isn't a weak story in the thirteen works here, most having been published in literary magazines prior to this book form. 'Green River' is a family outing that reveals the dissolution of companionship in a few terse pages. 'He's Home' is a quick tale of a man, probably cyclothymic or bipolar, bringing flowers home to his wife only to find she has left him: his response to this lonely discovery explains the probable reasons for her departure. Meeks is able to travel back in time to explore personal idiosyncrasies as in 'The Rotary' and in 'Dear Ma'. In the latter he also manages to take us inside the mind of a failing senile woman (?Alzheimer's victim?) and is written with such finesse and grace that we actually find ourselves thinking in the way Dear Ma's deteriorating mind works. It is a jewel of a story. 'The Fundamentals of Nuclear Dating' is a funny tale that holds a bite and says a lot about our 21st century computer driven dating (read data gathering) consequences. 'Engaging Ben' is as keen an observation of current bonding as any story out there. Et cetera for the rest of the tales. The odd and strangely wonderful and unique aspect of these is not only the fine writing of a terrific wordsmith, it is also the fact that Meeks is asking us or inviting us to look at the darker things in our lives that go bump in the night. Life in Meeks' stories is full of random coincidences that, depending on our state of vulnerability vs our state of awareness, can either uncover hidden pain or turn on a light to illuminate the elected darkness in which we have chosen to live. He peoples his stories with variations of us and our extended family of humanity and turns us inside out, showing us how our microsecond of life on this planet can be a time of significance or inadvertently squandered. Biting and sassy, eloquent and intelligent, this collection of short stories is excellent reading. Meeks knows his craft: these tiny microcosms of living offer proof that his novels, soon to come, will be works to watch. Very Highly Recommended. Grady Harp
Teddy_Rose More than 1 year ago
The Audible version is narrated by the author, Christopher Meeks, himself. It includes 13 quintessential short stories about the human condition. With his trademark sense of humor and quirky, yet realistic characters, Meeks takes us on a journey through the lives of his characters and we even a glimpse into ourselves. Many people who claim not to like short stories, usually say because they don't feel complete. I dare naysayers of Short stories to read this book. Okay, so the endings aren't wrapped up in nice neat bows but neither is real life. "They all lived happily ever after" are the kind of stories we tell children to make them feel safe and secure. These stories have kernels of truth hidden within them. They cover, marriage, middle age, and old age. The thread throughout is human relationships and how we dealt with them. Of course, this wouldn't be a Christopher Meeks book, if there weren't some references to pop culture sprinkled with in. Usually, I find short stories in a collection hit and miss however, 'The Middle-aged Man and the Sea', is quite an even collection. I really loved them all. As for the narration, it was good. There were a few places that you could hear the wetness that can accumulate in ones mouth. I haven't detected this when I have listened to a more seasoned narrator. However, with practice, I believe Christoper Meeks could go from good to great with his narration skills. I hope he records more of his books. I received a free download code for the Audible version for my honest review.
BobGentry1 More than 1 year ago
It was okay, some of the stories interesting. Definitely worth the 99 cents.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago