The Evil B.B. Chow and Other Stories

The Evil B.B. Chow and Other Stories

4.3 3
by Steve Almond
     
 

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Steve Almond, the man whose candy jones fueled the bestseller Candyfreak, returns with a collection of stories that both seals his reputation as a master of the modern form and risks getting him arrested. The cast of characters in The Evil B.B. Chow and Other Stories includes a wealthy family certain they have been abducted by space aliens, a sexySee more details below

Overview

Steve Almond, the man whose candy jones fueled the bestseller Candyfreak, returns with a collection of stories that both seals his reputation as a master of the modern form and risks getting him arrested. The cast of characters in The Evil B.B. Chow and Other Stories includes a wealthy family certain they have been abducted by space aliens, a sexy magazine editor who falls for a worldclass cad, and a beleaguered dentist who refuses to read his best friend’s novel. Michael Jackson and Abraham Lincoln make cameos, as do a variety of desperate and beautiful loonies, all of whom are laid bare, often literally. In these twelve stories, Almond refuses to let his characters off the hook, or to abandon them, until we have seen the full measure of ourselves within their struggle.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this sexy, fast-paced second collection of stories, Almond, author of My Life in Heavy Metal and the nonfiction Candyfreak, takes on love and loss around the turn of the millennium, showing how average people living in big cities and university towns tackle heartbreak with humor. The title story traces the flailing love between a magazine editor and a commitment-phobic medical resident who seems too good to be true. In "Appropriate Sex," a refreshing addition to the growing genre of stories about the goings-on in undergraduate writing workshops, a writer-in-residence is treated to a parade of students who "discourse on Tristam Shandy," seduce him and get him stoned in the same office hour. "A Happy Dream" portrays the lucky outcome of a blind date on which Kate, a bike messenger masquerading as a chimney sweep, forces Henry, a cautious sous-chef, to think on his feet. While struggling with his own recent breakup, the narrator of "Skull" listens as his friend confesses how he and his new girlfriend are finding love in unlikely ways that involve her prosthetic eye. Almond doesn't dig too deep or offer up grand theories about romantic love, but his easy, natural storytelling and consoling reminders that intimacy is awkward and messy will carry readers happily along. (Apr. 22) Forecast: Almond scored a surprise hit with Candyfreak, his confessional tour of candy factories. This laid-back follow-up delivers more guilty pleasure and should attract-and satisfy-Almond's new fans. Author tour. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Almond does not mention his famous sweet tooth in his latest collection (having debuted with the acclaimed My Life in Heavy Metal, he recently ventured into nonfiction with Candyfreak, a history of sweets in this country). But he does throw in enough sex, wit, and brutal honesty to revive interest in the short story format and have college students all over Boston clamoring for his sex writing seminar. In the title story, a sophisticated magazine exec gets sucked into a relationship with a nerdy doctor only to be dumped by him-as usual. In another, a reunion with a college buddy zips from awkward to bizarre as the friend and his parents share their conviction that aliens have implanted cartridges in their heads. The most serious story centers on a ten-year-old baseball player, hungry for his father's approval, whose precocious ability to focus on the ball leads to tragedy. Almond's stories are often bittersweet and bordering on the absurd (imagine sex acts involving a woman with a removable polymer eye). They are also wildly inventive and highly recommended for academic libraries and all contemporary short story collections.-Christine Perkins, Burlington P.L., WA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Weird boyfriends, bad novels, sexually perverse collegiates. Almond, author of the collection My Life in Heavy Metal (2002) and the nonfiction Candyfreak (2003), has a nice treasure trove of ideas and a smart way with his characters, but he always seems to lose interest just as the going gets good. The title story is a good example. Here, an editor at a women's magazine starts a relationship with an odd, short little doctor whom she's powerfully attracted to despite his childlike tendencies and bedroom ineptitude. The affair goes seriously sour when she meets Chow's ex and uncovers some secrets; but Almond had an interesting start here, slyly inverting the chick-lit setup with the narrator's caustic and unsentimental running commentary. It's too bad he truncates it. Sex is a constant theme, especially in the funny, lascivious teacher-gone-errant "Appropriate Sex" ("This was a Friday in April, one of the last days of the term, and the undergrads were all worked up"). What happens (neurotically slutty student comes on hard to her writing professor, who ends up just sharing a joint with one of the dimmer bulbs in the class) is less important than Almond's sarcastic limning of the none-too-impressive undergrads the teacher is forced to endure. The masterpiece is "Larsen's Novel," about a man with an impossibly pushy best friend, Larsen, who agrees to read that friend's novel, a 600-page pile of execrable cliche, soon regretting his decision (another reader: "Surely [it was] a labor of love . . . So, too, was the Third Reich"). Almond strains for source material at times-see the lazy bull session that makes up "The Idea of Michael Jackson's Dick"-and may not include much of great consequence,but the effortless humor throughout compensates for a lot. A distractingly entertaining second collection, nimbly executed. Author Tour
Entertainment Weekly
“Sa-weet! In his second story collection, the author of last year’s nonfiction hit Candyfreak delivers a lively Whitman’s Sampler of offbeat tales worth savoring—if you don’t devour the entire dozen in one sitting.”
People Magazine
“Almond is an incredibly seductive writer: A gifted storyteller, he hooks you on the first page and keeps the thrills coming.”
Seattle Times
“Nobody today is writing better short fiction.”
New York Times Book Review
"Always enjoyable, often hysterical."
New York Times Book Review
From the Publisher
"Always enjoyable, often hysterical."
New York Times Book Review

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781565128644
Publisher:
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Publication date:
04/28/2006
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
248
Sales rank:
428,108
File size:
2 MB

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“With his energy and restraint, [Almond] shows the strange, utterly true, believable weirdness of our times, in riveting, clean, funny, diamond-bright prose.” – Matt Klam

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