The Samaritan by Fred Venturini, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
The Samaritan

The Samaritan

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by Fred Venturini
     
 

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To age is to embrace a slow hurt inside and out, to collect scars like rings on a tree, dark and weathered and sometimes only visible if someone cuts deep enough. Scars keep the past just close enough to touch, but healing is forgetting. Healing invites another cut. Healing is the tide that smoothes away our line in the sand. For life to begin, the damage must be

Overview

To age is to embrace a slow hurt inside and out, to collect scars like rings on a tree, dark and weathered and sometimes only visible if someone cuts deep enough. Scars keep the past just close enough to touch, but healing is forgetting. Healing invites another cut. Healing is the tide that smoothes away our line in the sand. For life to begin, the damage must be permanent.
- Dale Sampson, The Samaritan

Dale Sampson is a nobody. A small town geek who lives in the shadow of his best friend, the high school baseball star, it takes him years to even gather the courage to actually talk to a girl. It doesn't go well. Then, just when he thinks there's a glimmer of hope for his love life, he loses everything.

When Dale runs into the twin sister of the girl he loved and lost, he finds his calling--he will become a samaritan. Determined to rescue her from a violent marriage, and redeem himself in the process, he decides to use the only "weapon" he has--besides a toaster. His weapon, the inexplicable ability to regenerate injured body parts, leads him to fame and fortune as the star of a blockbuster TV reality show where he learns that being The Samaritan is a heartbreaking affair. Especially when the one person you want to save doesn't want saving.

The Samaritan is a brutally funny look at the dark side of human nature. It lays bare the raw emotions and disappointments of small town life and best friends, of school bullies and first loves, of ruthless profiteers and self-aggrandizing promoters-and of having everything you know about human worth and frailty questioned under the harsh klieg lights of fame.

Editorial Reviews

Donald Ray Pollock
Fred Venturini is an awesomely talented writer, and he proves it on every page of The Samaritan. Stretching artfully from the shabbiness of life in a small Illinois town to the glitter and greed of Hollywood, this first novel is one of the most engaging and ultimately satisfying that I’ve had the pleasure to read in a long time.
Erik Smetana
The Samaritan is the sort of debut that catches a reader off guard. It lures you in with one thing then plays bait and switch giving you something more than you could have ever expected, a perfect mix of disturbing and uplifting.
Margaret Brown
A can’t-get-laid coming-of-age tale takes a sharp turn into sci-fi territory ... What ensues is much chopping off of fingers and toes, an obsessive romantic attachment to his dead girlfriend’s twin sister, a mercenary relationship with a twisted doctor, and, ultimately, an Extreme Makeover-style reality television show in which Sampson donates organs to people in need. Author Fred Venturini keeps his focus on character development, so that Sampson seems real and probable. The Samar
Renee Fountain
Fred Venturini’s writing is incredibly captivating and never misses a beat. The flow of his prose softly lulls and embraces the reader while hurtling them toward the inescapable train wreck of life’s manic ups and downs. With a style so complex in its simplicity and so pleasurable to read, The Samaritan fuels a reader’s desire to explore much more of Fred Venturini.
Stephen Graham Jones
Reading this was like finding an autobiography I forgot I’d written. Like Venturini had access to all my secret thoughts. It was strange and wonderful, and I’d pay to do it again.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780982880609
Publisher:
Blank Slate Press
Publication date:
02/07/2011
Pages:
214
Product dimensions:
0.49(w) x 6.00(h) x 9.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Fred Venturini grew up in Patoka, Illinois, where he survived being lit on fire by a bully, a neck-breaking car accident, and being chewed up by a pit bull. His fiction has appeared in places like River Styx, The Death Panel, Sick Things, Johnny America, and Necrotic Tissue, and he is a two-time Chuck Palahniuk anthology finalist. He lives in Southern Illinois with his beautiful wife, Krissy. The Samaritan is his first novel.

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The Samaritan 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
NancyBaumann More than 1 year ago
Forget trying to catch your breath -- just buckle your seatbelt and plant yourself where you can dive into The Samaritan without looking up. A gritty novel that blends boys and bravado; lust and loss; hope and hate; baseball, reality TV, and a broadband of the bizarre, The Samaritan is gripping well beyond the last word.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
NathanPettigrew More than 1 year ago
One of the best books I've ever read -I was actually sad that it had to end. At the core of this story is the bond between Dale and Mack -a lifelong bond that survives the odds while as individuals, the characters do not, necessarily. You'll have to read to see what I mean, but the final scene between these two is an extremely powerful and heartfelt exchange that will leave you never looking at steak dinners the same. The "supernatural element" of the story is almost subtle in the grand scheme of things. It's not, really, but it certainly takes a backseat to the friendship between Dale and Mack, and also the major life-changing or shaping events of their lives. And that's damn refreshing -the "supernatural" element isn't used as a gimmick to tell a thin story, and it's not even the primary focus really of a much meatier story that The Samaritan is. There's real life drama here, adolescent angst, adult wisdom, tragedy in the holy f#$% sense of the word, revenge, redemption, danger when a criminal underworld comes to surface in Dale and Mack's lives, even fame and fortune through mainstream attention. This book has it all -all stages of life, of friendship, of sadness and beauty. In fact I've never read a story that so perfectly balances the realities of isolation and intimacy. I started caring about these characters as much as I do the people in my real life. That doesn't happen to me often, and that's a testament to the author's ability to bring his characters to life. Do yourself a favor if you're interested in this book, and stop being interested and buy it. You'll be glad that you did if you enjoy reading good books, and in this case, you'll find yourself reading a great one.
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