Plan B for the Middle Class: Stories

Plan B for the Middle Class: Stories

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by Ron Carlson
     
 

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In The News of the World, Ron Carlson's celebrated last collection, it was widely noted that the news was good. Here, as everybody goes to Plan B, the news is stronger, edgy, and bittersweet.
Here are men and women in the middle—of life, of relationships. There is a difference between what they set out for and what they get. A single mother keeps house on

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Overview

In The News of the World, Ron Carlson's celebrated last collection, it was widely noted that the news was good. Here, as everybody goes to Plan B, the news is stronger, edgy, and bittersweet.
Here are men and women in the middle—of life, of relationships. There is a difference between what they set out for and what they get. A single mother keeps house on an aircraft carrier. A new father finds himself seduced by a motorcycle. A lonely professor is forced to face a few truths. Braced by honesty and lifted by affection for the world, these stories are a stunning showcase for a writer tackling universal themes in new ways. Get ready: when Plan A breaks down, Ron Carlson is here.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Carlson's winning new collection of short fiction issues from a sensibility set ever so slightly--and variously--askew. His range swings from a surreal monologue by a typical-sounding mother who apparently lives with her children on an aircraft carrier (``On the U.S.S. Fortitude '') to the emotionally disarming lead story ``Hartwell,'' a powerful depiction of the protagonist's self-humiliation as he seeks an end to his loneliness. The author's capacity for such variety is itself disarming; these 11 stories include as well the marginally amusing trifle ``Fort Bragg: How Subliminal Advertising Changed My Life,'' and a more conventional, taut tale of a father attempting to understand his unhappy son's death in Alaska (``Blazo''). It is as if Carlson ( The News of the World ) had expressly set himself a different goal for each tale--long, short, goofy or deadly serious. His expansive talent yields success in all, the best being the first and the last--the title story, about a man reviewing how the past has gotten him to his present, which leads him to reassess where to go from there. (Aug.)
Library Journal
What a wonderful collection of short stories! These pieces feature men and women in midlife, meeting challenges and adapting to sometimes unforeseen circumstances. Whether the protagonist is Zoo Lewis reminiscing about his teenage sexual awakening while struggling to absorb the loss of his job, or Tom Burns attempting to understand his son's death by traveling to the son's burned-down cabin in Alaska, the experiences ring true. ``Hartwell,'' whose protagonist is an absent-minded professor enamored of a young female student, is a bittersweet tale of manipulation and unrequited love. On a more whimsical note, ``Sunny Billy Day'' is the arresting tale of a baseball player with the ability to get umpires to retract their calls against him. The writing is clever, the ideas inventive, and the characters empathetic. Carlson's stories have appeared in GQ , The New Yorker , and Playboy , among others. Recommended for most collections.-- Kimberly G. Allen, National Assn. of Home Builders Lib., Washington, D.C.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393331820
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
08/17/1992
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.51(d)

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