Point

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From the winner of the 1993 Aga Khan Prize for Fiction comes a literary debut that marks the arrival of a striking new voice in American fiction. Charles D'Ambrosio's work is full of light and humor even in its darkest visions: these are stories of sorrow and mercy, of people struggling to wrest meaning from the tragedies that hover over their lives. All have reached a point from which there can be no true return, and it is in this moment of destruction and renewal - with the world they've known collapsing eerily...
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Boston 1995 Hardcover First Edition New in New dust jacket 0316171441. Book is new, unmarked and unread,

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Overview

From the winner of the 1993 Aga Khan Prize for Fiction comes a literary debut that marks the arrival of a striking new voice in American fiction. Charles D'Ambrosio's work is full of light and humor even in its darkest visions: these are stories of sorrow and mercy, of people struggling to wrest meaning from the tragedies that hover over their lives. All have reached a point from which there can be no true return, and it is in this moment of destruction and renewal - with the world they've known collapsing eerily behind them - that D'Ambrosio's characters begin their perilous crossing from knowledge into forgiveness. The wise-beyond-his-years narrator of the title story guides a drunk woman home along the beach and confronts the violent legacy of his father's suicide. In "Her Real Name," a young man navigates the tired and forgotten allegory of the American West and manages a moment of ceremonial dignity as he buries a young girl at sea. In "Jacinta," a woman mourns her baby girl, who drowned in a tub of water left behind by evening rain. "American Bullfrog" and "Open House" are unforgettable stories of self-discovery and loss, detailing with simplicity and grace the loneliness of looking for a home in the world, or of pretending that you've found one. D'Ambrosio's fictions are packed with incident and bold in narrative sweep; in richly textured and often magnificent prose, they reveal a landscape of suffering and surprising beauty, of grief and restless hope. With the publication of The Point, Charles D'Ambrosio takes his place among the most interesting and exciting writers at work today.

From the winner of The Paris Review's 1993 Aga Khan Fiction Prize comes a stunning literary debut--a story collection breathtaking in its imaginative reach, full of light even in its darkest visions.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
D'Ambrosio makes his literary debut with a collection of short stories as fluid and compelling as a river rushing into darkness. Though many of the selections repeat similar characters and situations-failing relationships, pilgrimages to the site of a suicide, uncommunicative, alcoholic fathers-together they are like a room full of mirrors, each story reflecting (or magnifying or distorting) an aspect of another. In the title piece, one of 13-year-old Kurt Pittman's chores is to escort safely home his mother's drunken, crisis-beset party guests. Gifted with an understanding of other people beyond his years, the boy remarks, ``The idea was this-that at a certain age, a black hole emerged in the middle of your life... and you pretended it wasn't there and never looked directly at it, if you could manage the trick.'' Unfortunately, few of D'Ambrosio's characters can manage the trick. Some of them, numbed by alcohol and the rainy coldness of the Pacific Northwest, think God might be the way out of their private emotional hells. But it is those who persevere who eventually reap rewards-as will readers of these seven dreamy and engrossing tales. (Feb.)
Library Journal
An exciting debut collection, these stories have already received several honors, including the Aga Kahn Fiction Prize and inclusion in Best Short Stories 1991. They are a wildly divergent lot, sharing neither characters nor geography, nor even, at times, a common sensibility. But that variety, that inventiveness is part of the book's pleasure. What these stories do share is a wonderful fullness; they have a richness and complexity that we have grown unaccustomed to in short stories. The title story is a knockout. It's narrated by a young teenager whose job it is to escort his mother's drunken friends home from their weekly bashes. "I suppose it was better than a paper route." Tonight's trip with Mrs. Gurney, as funny as it's sad, is a moving examination of loss, whether it be husbands to infidelity, mothers to alcohol, or fathers to suicide. Indeed, love is often lost in these seductive stories but seldom found. Strongly recommended.-Brian Kenney, Brooklyn P.L.
Alice Joyce
D'Ambrosio's writing exhibits a striking maturity and depth, belying the fact that this story collection heralds his debut. Although D'Ambrosio generally chooses to deal with tough, even oppressive situations--for instance, a boy coping with his father's suicide, a young man dealing with his companion's rapidly advancing cancer, and a friend's inevitable drunken car crash--his prose is invariably distinguished by a refined and captivating buoyancy. This collection signals a writer of great promise, one with an apparently effortless ability to see the pervasive state of grace surrounding all struggles with dilemma.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316171441
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 2/28/1995
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.87 (w) x 8.59 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

The Point 3
Her Real Name 32
American Bullfrog 71
Jacinta 106
All Aboard 146
Lyricism 180
Open House 205
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