Paradise Dance

Paradise Dance

by Michael Lee
     
 

"Michael Lee's short stories have a rare quality. They are tough, hard-bitten, and surprisingly sensitive to the nuances that motivate behavior in people we assume too quickly are without nuance. What a good read!"—Norman Mailer

Michael Lee is a New England literary treasure—and until now, a secret. An original voice from the working-class outskirts

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Overview

"Michael Lee's short stories have a rare quality. They are tough, hard-bitten, and surprisingly sensitive to the nuances that motivate behavior in people we assume too quickly are without nuance. What a good read!"—Norman Mailer

Michael Lee is a New England literary treasure—and until now, a secret. An original voice from the working-class outskirts of Boston, Lee’s standing-room-only readings have been delighting audiences for twenty years. Leapfrog is proud to be the first to collect his poignant and hilarious stories about Nam vets, waitresses, mediocre professors, middle managers, fathers and sons; people who are having a hard time of it, but who cling for dear life to that which holds them up: their sense of humor and a few fleeting moments of love. With equal parts sadness and belly laugh, a trace of Raymond Carver mixed with Dave Barry, Lee fulfills the time-honored ingredient for a good read: make ‘em laugh, make ‘em weep!

"In Michael Lee's stunningly crafted stories, we find people who suffer few illusions as to how they've lost their way, people on the cusp of making peace with all that will never be, yet who still yearn for one good kiss, one true triumph, one moment of lasting grace. Lee's vision is full of compassion, forgiveness, and hope, but is also unsparing in its veracity made all the more symphonic with humor: a tender humor that does not mask the wounds here, but tends to them. This is an important and memorable collection."—Andre Dubus III

Marketing Plans: • Author tour: NYC, New England and NY State • Coop Available • Advertising in key literary and trade magazines

Michael Lee is a Senior Editor at The Cape Cod Voice and a former editor of Miami Magazine. He received his MFA from Emerson College and lives on Cape Cod.

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Editorial Reviews

Norman Mailer

Michael Lee's short stories have a rare quality. They are tough, hard-bitten, and surprisingly sensitive to the nuances that motivate behavior in people we assume too quickly are without nuance. What a good read!

Andre Dubus III
In Michael Lee's stunningly crafted stories, we find people who suffer few illusions as to how they've lost their way, people on the cusp of making peace with all that will never be, yet who still yearn for one good kiss, one true triumph, one moment of lasting grace. Lee's vision is full of compassion, forgiveness, and hope, but is also unsparing in its veracity made all the more symphonic with humor, a tender humor that does not mask the wounds here, but tends to them. This is an important and memorable collection!
Publishers Weekly
Lee makes an impressive debut in this collection, following in the stylistic footsteps of Andre Dubus and Raymond Carver, as he explores the fictional Boston suburb of Albright. He pays homage to his mentors early on, particularly in the opening story, "Glory," in which a man goes to a bar with his father and ends up in an arm-wrestling match, the implications of which go beyond the beating of his opponent. Military themes also surface early, as in the complex "Koza Nights," which outlines the postwar fate of a soldier who killed a prostitute in Vietnam and finds himself being blackmailed by a down-and-out fellow Marine. "Secrets of Cooperstown" follows a couple to a military reunion, where the wife is confronted with a disturbing revelation about her husband. Lee's lighter side surfaces in "The Albright Kid," a charming yarn about a boy who encounters Ted Williams at a baseball camp, and also in "Another Wonder of the World," a humorous tale about some bar buddies who try to start an X-rated miniature golf course. Things turn serious in the title story, which delves into the experience of a teacher who instructs residents of the local rest home in the art of memoir writing. Lee offers a heady blend of compassion, razor-sharp wit and well-honed storytelling skills. His unpublished work has been enjoyed by a select crowd for almost two decades, but this collection is a bid for more general recognition. Agent, Jean Naggar. (Aug.) Forecast: Lee boasts impressive blurbs (including one from Norman Mailer), and he'll get plenty of attention in his native New England, but without national reviews, this small press offering may not capture the wider audience it deserves. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Men mostly inhabit Lee's first collection of short fiction. Former Vietnam veterans come to terms with that war's ravages, frustrated writers resist writer's block, and sons seek fleeting connections with fathers. While the abundance of male voices endows the book with a decidedly masculine tone, no readers will succumb to a testosterone overdose. Almost without exception, Lee's characters demonstrate a graceful grit and a sad, but not hopeless, self-awareness about their own unique Achilles' heel. Life in Albright, MA, has taken its toll, but their spirits are resilient, their sense of humor not abandoned. In "Another Wonder of the World," a darkly humorous tale about three friends who build the world's first X-rated miniature golf course, the narrator sums up the characters' collective spirit best when he proclaims, "Don't count us out, America." Until this debut, Lee had been New England's best-kept literary secret, but Leapfrog is to be commended for revealing this strong new voice to American literature aficionados. Strongly recommended. Faye A. Chadwell, Univ. of Oregon, Eugene Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Varied and accomplished debut collection from a longtime live storyteller, a "voice from the working-class outskirts of Boston." At worst, Lee's prose dips to something like genre-writing when he wants to paint unschooled lives, but at best he stands proud among the constellation of greats who have been trotted out for blurbs, epitaphs, and, yes, an introduction. Breadth rules here, but more often than not these are stories of people running from mistakes, recent or ancient. In "Glory," two men robbed of glory in their lives try futilely to regain it from each other in a barroom arm-wrestling match; a man on his way to a vapid cocktail party in "A Fresh Start" experiences a moment of uncertain intimacy with a woman on a subway; in "Koza Nights," the friendship of two marines in Okinawa is tested when one of them kills a local prostitute, perhaps accidentally; a war reunion for a less than perfect soldier ("The Secrets of Cooperstown") offers redemption to the soldier and his wife after a failed pregnancy; "Territorial Rights" finds two members of a five-piece band called the Magnificent Seven on a road trip in search of solace after betrayal; and the title story depicts the high-school faculty mating practices when a fiction instructor teaches a workshop on the memoir form. "Oh, Happy Day" is an absurdist tale of the aborted attempt to reinvigorate a marriage-it leads a man to become a Paris street performer with a midget as a partner. By far the finest piece is "A King's Epitaph," about the emotional aftermath in a family after the death of an overbearing patron. Here, Lee's voice fits perfectly with Gilby, the son who narrates. The ultimate message of these stories comes from a man onvacation with his wife, his lover, and her husband: "I suppose the trick is to realize something from each bad turn of the wheel." Solid work from a writer who should have been recognized long ago.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780967952062
Publisher:
Leapfrog Press
Publication date:
08/01/2002
Edition description:
1ST
Pages:
220
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)

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