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by Clay McLeod Chapman
 

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This edgy, darkly humorous short story collection will take hold of your imagination and won't let go.

Sharply tuned, haunting, and darkly humorous, these stories take readers from the country fair to the suburban home to the boy scout camping trip, flipping each stopping point on its head. Every story begins and ends with one voice, and each contains a mystery

Overview

This edgy, darkly humorous short story collection will take hold of your imagination and won't let go.

Sharply tuned, haunting, and darkly humorous, these stories take readers from the country fair to the suburban home to the boy scout camping trip, flipping each stopping point on its head. Every story begins and ends with one voice, and each contains a mystery or turn of events that shocks, entertains, and frightens—and often all three.

In the title story, rest area, a father chats with other drivers while he waits for his daughter at a rest stop. She went to the bathroom, and he's been waiting for her ever since, and now he's handing out her picture. Have you seen her? Are you sure you haven't seen her?

A remarkable combination of unexpected tenderness, deep sensitivity, and a fascination with the darker side of domesticity, these tales of ordinary people caught up in extraordinary situations will echo in your head long after you close the pages.

Entering into its sixth year, Clay Chapman's Pumpkin Pie Show has established itself as an all-points artistic hodgepodge of music, theatre, and literature. It is a rigorous story-telling session backed with its own live soundtrack, built upon the same structure as a rock band, complete with musicians and vocalists. Each show consists of four 15 minute short stories, which can either be read or performed on stage.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This debut collection reveals a playwright's fondness for edgy, frightening setups. Chapman who got his start as a playwright at the age of 12 and later honed his one-man act at the International Fringe Festival takes as his form of choice a sort of transliterated monologue. This ingenious device diverts at first, but few of these vignettes they're not quite "stories" progress beyond establishing a bizarre or ironic situation, and many read like half-cooked campfire yarns. There are some clever sketches demonstrating what the others might have become with a lighter touch and more polish. The unholy carnival of "Rodeo Inferno" is enjoyably creepy, and "Second Helping," about a pack of Cub Scouts run feral, is gleefully gruesome. But the book is marred by heavy-handed language, as in "Honey Well Hung," which attempts a symbolic conflation of chicken coops and a frustrated, infertile farm couple, yielding such regrettable moments as "Couldn't tell you how many times I pecked away at her, hoping to crack into that yolk." The premises can also be predictable and cumbersome: in the title story, a man who last saw his little girl at a rest stop with his car keys months ago can't figure out the odor coming from his trunk: "I know she's close. God, sometimes I can almost smell her, she feels so close." Actors, spoken-word enthusiasts and camp counselors in search of rough-edged material will enjoy this, but short story lovers should look elsewhere. (Feb.) Forecast: Sales may see a bump in the New York area, as publication coincides with the opening of Chapman's off-Broadway play. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Short stories in the form of monologs are nothing new, but Chapman's first collection of 20 makes the form seem so. In the title story, a father waits for his daughter at the rest stop where she disappeared months before. In "Pool Witch," three boys dare to scale the highest water slide. Their objectives: to toss the lifeguard in before their own glorious descent. In "Spoonfed," a story with unsettling overtones, a 16-year-old boy relates how he cares for his younger handicapped sister, and in the powerful and tragic "And the Mothers Stepped Over Their Sons," a woman narrates the loss of her asthmatic soldier son as she searches for his body in a field of dead young men. Chapman has been writing since the age of 12 and performing his monologs in the United States and abroad for many years. Amazingly, he manages to squeeze character, plot, setting, and background into each. There is nothing corny or cute, labored or false; instead, there is bold, honest realism. For contemporary short story collections. Mary Szczesiul, Roseville P.L., MI Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Debut sheaf of short stories by a 24-year-old playwright and monologist who has an off-Broadway play opening in March.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786886340
Publisher:
Hachette Books
Publication date:
02/12/2003
Edition description:
REPRINT
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.44(d)
Age Range:
13 - 18 Years

Meet the Author

Clay McLeod Chapman is the author of the short story collection rest area. Creator of the "Pumpkin Pie Show," he has performed his writing throughout the United States and at Fringe Festivals around the world. Born in Richmond, Virginia, he now lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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