The Hotel Edenby Ron Carlson
Prepare to be amused, moved, and disturbed. With these twelve exceptional tales, Ron Carlson takes readers to a world where wit has heft, charm has shadow, and human beings act out all the complicated nuances of love. In the title story, a young man waiting in the Hotel Eden discovers—as many others have—that Eden is not a permanent domicile. In "Zanduce at Second," a baseball player turned kille by accident undergoes a surprising transformation. We root for escaped felon Ray in "A Note on the Type" and drive through the sweltering summer streets of Phoenix as a nineteen-year-old narrator goes through an unsettling sexual awakening in "Oxygen." Carlson’s work has always made a difference. Whether his characters are getting sabotaged by nightcaps or encountering nudists on a rafting trip, he takes us to a generous array of places in a new way.
Carlson's tales are narrated in a flat emotionless voice that's often deliberately at variance with their unusual, not to say outrageous, premises. For example, there's the major-league ballplayer whose line drives have accidentally killed 11 people, and whose personality is drastically altered by his frustrating celebrity status ("Zanduce at Second"). Or the convict whose incarceration stimulates his inventive skills ("A Note on the Type"), or the military leader who debates to himself the pros and cons of dumping boiling oil on invading Visigoths ("What We Wanted to Do"). Several pieces, including "The House Goes Up," simply fail to develop their conceits in fruitful ways. And many are dominated by attention-getting specifics that are at best incidental to the story's main thrustlike the glorious funny- sleazy description of a wrestling show ("Mack's Mat Matches") in "Dr. Smile," or the amusing account of a seduction in "Nightcap," which doesn't fit very well with the maudlin, underdeveloped story of unrequited love that contains it. Conversely, Carlson reinvents with deadpan panache the hoary old horror chestnut about the escaped maniac who barely misses slaughtering teenaged lovers parking ("The Chromium Hook"). "Oxygen" plumbs level after level of emotion and understanding in the richly imagined tale of a college kid whose summer job delivering oxygen to medical patients teaches him more than he wants to know about sex, death, and the baffling permutations of simple human need. And "The Prisoner of Bluestone" portrays with deeply moving simplicity the confusion and passion of an autoworker desperate for communication with the wife and daughter who he feels have moved beyond him.
An overall disappointment, but those last two terrific stories make it clear that we'd better keep reading Carlson.
- Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 8.49(w) x 5.75(h) x 0.88(d)
Meet the Author
Ron Carlson teaches creative writing at Arizona State and lives in Scottsdale. His stories, much anthologized, have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, Esquire, Playboy, and other magazines.
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A wonderful collection of stories, dealing with subject matter from a high school urban legend (the guy with the hook in Lovers' Lane?)to a guy who runs a gas station. Not a loser in the lot, beautifully crafted, a great book whether you are in a thoughtful frame of mind, or just need something to take up the time in the waiting room. People who hate reading need this book, schools need this book, clubs need this book! I just wish he'd write faster, is all...........
As close to perfect as a collection of short stories will get... "The Hotel Eden" was my first reading by Ron Carlson and I found him only due strictly to the fact that I read a rave review for his new book, "The Signal" and wound up getting this one instead. I love short stories and I have read several in the last few months, this book is right at the top as far as pure originality and stories that put you through the range of emotions. Ron Carlson could probably write about anything and make it so magical and interesting you couldn't put it down. The book has twelve stories, all of which really, really impressed me. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of Mr. Carlson's short stories soon. this outstanding collection includes: Keith - a great story about unexpected, unusual friendship (amazing story that has now been made into a movie) The Prisoner of Bluestone - a man, a gas station, his ex wife and a lonely teenager (one of my favorites in the book, hard to describe without giving anything away) Oxygen - a college student who takes a summer job as an oxygen delivery man, learns alot more about himself and the world Dr. Slime - a man teamed up w/ his brothers actress girlfriend, are on a mission to find out where he's getting the money he's bringing home, why he's so bruised up and why their are so many pills over the house (one of those stories that doesn't quite make sense, then at a certain point, gives you that wonderful ah ha moment) A Note On The Type - a criminal on the run, learns about respect in an unusual way The Chromium Hook - a spooky, yet very well crafted tale told by several different characters The House Goes Up - a woman has an all too flawless plan to make things go her way, everytime w/ men What We Wanted To Do - they have a plan and its a good plan, but so far its just not working The Hotel Eden - a young couple in London meet a new friend, who has all the wildest stories, all the right answers and knows all the right people/places, but who is he really Zanduce At Second - a professional baseball player has killed eleven people now, by way of foul ball Nightcap - a man has a fling, an unusual fling Down The Green River - a man and an old friend and her son take a journey down the river in a raft, only to face a hole in the raft and nudists I highly recommend this collection to anyone that likes short stories and great writing!
one of the best touching stories in this book was keith....i love it!