The Pure Product

Overview

The Pure Product brings together for the first time in one volume Kessel's finest short fiction from the past decade. This exceptional collection contains nineteen astonishing voyages into worlds of wonder and mystery, complete with omnipotent beings, time travel, alternate histories, and playful takes on popular literature. The collection also includes three companion pieces to his most recent novel, Corrupting Dr. Nice. Here are the meditations of an exceptional writer who understands that darkness and tragedy ...
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Overview

The Pure Product brings together for the first time in one volume Kessel's finest short fiction from the past decade. This exceptional collection contains nineteen astonishing voyages into worlds of wonder and mystery, complete with omnipotent beings, time travel, alternate histories, and playful takes on popular literature. The collection also includes three companion pieces to his most recent novel, Corrupting Dr. Nice. Here are the meditations of an exceptional writer who understands that darkness and tragedy can turn in one breathless heartbeat to moments of absurdity, epiphany, passion, or joy.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Speaking of time travel and screwball comedy, Willis's only real rival in this arena is John Kessel, whose collection The Pure Product brings together some of his best stories. Kessel is a master of the kind of neat, goofy ideas that time-travel or alternate-history scenarios are really good for: baseball players George Bush and Fidel Castro face off in the World Series; Herman Melville becomes a pulp SF writer; screwball movie director Preston Sturges is found dead and alive at the same time; Marilyn Monroe is rescued by a time traveler. But there are also serious stories here, including a moving tribute to Kessel's father and the title story of a terrorist from tomorrow.
—Gary Wolfe
Kirkus Reviews
Fifteen reprinted stories, 198096, one new tale, two poems, and a play that's blurbed as "award-winning," even though it's listed as original to this collection. More problematic yet, the publishers failed to notice, or didn't care, that no fewer than eight of these yarns, including the title piece, appeared in Kessel's 1992 collection, Meeting in Infinity. Those eight aside, then, what's left? Well, several yarns reflect Kessel's ponderously allegorical tendencies (a search for enlightenment; a relativistic joke; people owned by aliens), while the remainder play literary games with famous names: Marilyn Monroe rescued by corrupt time travelers; Herman Melville as a pulp sf writer; Lemuel Gulliver's wife reflects (the new story); in the 1959 World Series, Giants hurler Fidel Castro goes head to head with Senators' first baseman George Bush; and director Preston Sturges turns up dead, having been replaced by a superior doppelgänger.

No matter what the merits of Kessel's material, this sort of lazy and indifferent publishing does everybody a disservice.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312866808
  • Publisher: Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC
  • Publication date: 8/14/1999
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.28 (h) x 1.03 (d)

Table of Contents

Some Like It Cold 11
Herman Melville: Space Opera Virtuoso 25
Buddha Nostril Bird 31
A Clean Escape 55
Invaders 70
Reading Lesson 95
The Lecturer 97
The Einstein Express 108
Faustfeathers: A Comedy 119
Animals 158
The Franchise 172
The Pure Product 215
Man 238
Mr. Hyde Visits the Home of Dr. Jekyll 258
Hearts Do Not in Eyes Shine 260
Buffalo 282
Not Responsible! Park and Lock It! 303
Gulliver at Home 329
The Miracle of Ivar Avenue 344
Author's Note 383
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