One Hundred Apocalypses and Other Apocalypses

Overview

At the heart of Lucy Corin’s dazzling collection are one hundred apocalypses: visions of loss and destruction, vexation and crisis, revelation and revolution, sometimes only a few lines long. In these haunting and wickedly funny stories, an apocalypse might come in the form of the end of a relationship or the end of the world, but they all expose the tricky landscape of our longing for a clean slate. In three longer stories, contemporary American life is playfully, if disturbingly, distorted: the rite of passage ...

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Overview

At the heart of Lucy Corin’s dazzling collection are one hundred apocalypses: visions of loss and destruction, vexation and crisis, revelation and revolution, sometimes only a few lines long. In these haunting and wickedly funny stories, an apocalypse might come in the form of the end of a relationship or the end of the world, but they all expose the tricky landscape of our longing for a clean slate. In three longer stories, contemporary American life is playfully, if disturbingly, distorted: the rite of passage for adolescent girls involves choosing the madman who will accompany them into adulthood; California burns to the ground while, on the east coast, life carries on; and a soldier returns home broke from war to encounter a witch who extends a dangerous offer.

At once mournful and explosively energetic, One Hundred Apocalypses and Other Apocalypses is "deeply rooted in the politics and upheaval of our times" (Lambda Literary).

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Set in the past, present and an undefinable future, Corin's (Everyday Psycho-killers) collection of stories, fables, anecdotes, prose poems and situational musings center not just on the end of the world, but the rapture of existence. A greedy soldier meets a witch who could be his mother on the road home from war and uncovers jewels in deep holes guarded by giant dogs, high school kids take refuge in a snowy cave while California burns and parents, glued to TV's, sit in bed with trays of cheese sandwiches . Couples, families, brothers, lovers, meth addicts , and drunken zombies cope with what is left after loss. In the short piece "Questions in Significantly Smaller Font" (the title is quite literal, you may need a magnifying glass) Corbin asks: "What will the apocalypse mean for narrative?" The answer may not come so easily, but the craft and language makes the journey quite satisfying. With stories within stories and tiny typeface preceded by two sentence tales, this fulfilling maze, guided by a constant theme, is an eye-opening, enlightening read. Agent: PJ Mark, Janklow & Nesbit Associates. (Aug.)
From the Publisher

"There is no writer quite like Lucy Corin. Her control over language--her unique phrasing feels like an incantation—leads the reader willingly toward their own reckoning. What makes Corin such an amazing writer, one of my favorites, is that once she brings you to the end you don't want to leave, because, as she says in one of her apocalypses, 'finally it was all so beautiful.'" —Kevin Wilson, author of The Family Fang

"Unforgettable voices resist description. Lucy Corin sounds like no one; prickly, shrewd, faintly paranoid or furtive, witty and also savage, she has something of Paley's gift for soliloquy combined with Dickinson's passionate need to hold the world at bay, that sense of a voice emanating from a Skinner box. Her achievement is already dazzling, he promise immense." —Citation of the American Academy of Arts and Letters Rome Prize

"Lucy Corin has a gift for illuminating the dark and the unsettling through flashes of often absurdist humor, even of beauty." —ZYZZYVA

"Corin’s work engenders creative thought."—San Francisco Magazine

"Corin’s elliptical style becomes her greatest asset: Strangeness becomes estranging, unsettling." —Kirkus

"Corin is one of the few authors who continuously plays with the form of the short story, and the fact that her subject matter is alternate endings to the world (which is the term she uses for these short, morbid vignettes) is amazing."—Memorious Mag

"An eye-opening, enlightening read." —Publishers Weekly

"[Corin] leaves us thinking deeply about parts of humanity we don't often examine under a magnifying glass." —Bustle.com

“'One Hundred Apocalypses' is a delightful, endlessly inventive read."— San Francisco Chronicle

"Corin’s newest collection One Hundred Apocalypses and Other Apocalypses (McSweeney’s) resists categorization." —Lambda Literary

"In her newest book, [...] Corin creates a series of dreamscapes in which the apocalypse becomes a set piece for melancholy, humorous, beautiful, and lonely ruminations." —KQED Arts

"These mordant, pitch-perfect apopularcalypses mock our manic inflation of the ordinary, how emotional minutiae run rampant in the hyperthyroid imagination of of post-modern, post-religious, post-literate Apocalyptamerica." -The Review of Contemporary Fiction

"[U]ndeniably beautiful all the way through"—Flavor Wire

"Lucy Corin is a genius."—The Revealer

"Exhilarating."—The Rumpus

"[M]agical, intellectual, and utterly convincing"—Tin House

"[Corin] is at her fearsome best."—Los Angeles Review of Books

Kirkus Reviews
Three longer short stories and one hundred very short stories, all about what comes before, during or after an end--of a relationship, the world or some conflation of the two. The book's long, titular work is a series of short works, some just a few lines long. Many are curiosities. With their toneless tone, they read like in-jokes, the meaning tied so deeply to their constituencies that the rest of us won't find them funny. One of the shortest, entitled "For Real," is a single sentence: "Slowly, carefully, gingerly, I began to suspect I remained ironical." Corin (The Entire Predicament, 2007, etc.) is serious about her irony but not ironic about what, if anything, she takes seriously. The irony of considering anything other than the end of the world as apocalyptic makes it hard to see how we are to evaluate stories in which almost nothing happens, unless we are to reflect on the loss of action and agency. Even if limited, Corin is inventive. It's possible that she is working within a set of constraints, that she is a member of the constituency that finds her in-jokes funny and chooses not to explain or elaborate why. In the three longer stories ("Eyes of Dogs" is a version of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Tinderbox"), situations develop and characters emerge as more than tics or habits of speech. Then Corin's elliptical style becomes her greatest asset: Strangeness becomes estranging, unsettling. Experimental, postmodern and quirky.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781938073335
  • Publisher: McSweeney's Publishing
  • Publication date: 8/27/2013
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 522,960
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Lucy Corin is the author of the short story collection The Entire Predicament and the novel Everyday Psychokillers: A History for Girls. Recent stories appeared in American Short Fiction, Conjunctions, and Tin House Magazine. She won the 2012 American Academy of Arts and Letters Rome Prize and usually lives in San Francisco. She teaches at the University of California at Davis.

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