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Understories
     

Understories

5.0 1
by Tim Horvath
 

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New Hampshire Literary Award Winner
NPR Books Summer Reading Selection

“My favorite collection of short stories in recent memory.” —NANCY PEARL, NPR Morning Edition

“Profound . . . with more to say on the human condition than most full books. . . . A remarkable collection, with pitch-perfect leaps of

Overview


New Hampshire Literary Award Winner
NPR Books Summer Reading Selection

“My favorite collection of short stories in recent memory.” —NANCY PEARL, NPR Morning Edition

“Profound . . . with more to say on the human condition than most full books. . . . A remarkable collection, with pitch-perfect leaps of imagination.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Horvath doesn’t just tell a story, he gives readers a window into the hearts, minds and souls of his characters.” —Concord Monitor

What if there were a city that consisted only of restaurants? What if Paul Gauguin had gone to Greenland instead of Tahiti? What if there were a field called Umbrology, the study of shadows, where physicists and shadow puppeteers worked side by side? Full of speculative daring though firmly anchored in the tradition of realism, Tim Horvath’s stories explore all of this and more— blending the everyday and the wondrous to contend with age-old themes of loss, identity, imagination, and the search for human connection. Whether making offhand references to Mystery Science Theater, providing a new perspective on Heidegger’s philosophy and forays into Nazism, or following the imaginary travels of a library book, Horvath’s writing is as entertaining as it is thought provoking.

Tim Horvath teaches creative writing at New Hampshire Institute of Art and Boston’s Grub Street writing center. He has also worked part-time as a counselor in a psychiatric hospital, primarily with autistic children and adolescents. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife and daughter.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

New Hampshire Literary Award Winner
NPR Books Summer Reading Selection
New Hampshire Public Radio Summer Books Selection
Salon What to Read Awards
Largehearted Boy Favorite Short Story Collection of the Year

“My favorite collection of short stories in recent memory.” —NANCY PEARL, NPR Morning Edition

“Profound . . . with more to say on the human condition than most full books. . . . A remarkable collection, with pitch-perfect leaps of imagination.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Horvath doesn’t just tell a story, he gives readers a window into the hearts, minds and souls of his characters.” —Concord Monitor

“This stunning collection revels in wordplay and inventiveness, and is one of the finest short fiction collections I have read all year.” —Largehearted Boy

“Gets at the heart of our contemporary zeitgeist . . . Echoing the intricate metaphysical labyrinths of Borges, the philosophizing literary absurdity of David Foster Wallace, and the American-styled magical realism of Lethem, [Understories] is a deeply reflective, highly imaginative work.” —Tottenville Review

“This is transformative prose at its best. . . . If you want an actual contemporary wordsmith who does not just tinker but thrives in the micro-worlds of Calvino and Borges, Walser and Perec, read Understories.” —HTML Giant

“Touching and captivating . . . though I may have come to Understories for the weirdness, I stayed around for the quality of the writing and the emotions of the characters.” —InDigest

“Weird and wonderful. . . . But for all th[e] playfulness—sometimes intellectual, sometimes bawdy—Understories is no rarefied exercise. Horvath rallies all the senses, smell and touch and taste and the others, in support of his interrogation of the universe, and his work is firmly grounded in the real world no matter how fantastic his musings.” —Bloom

“As any great book, Understories confronts the making of fiction itself, intermittently directly confronting the mechanics of fabrication. . . . A major accomplishment by a major writer . . . full of writing as deeply aware of its antecedents as it is aware of the possibilities within, of, and about narrative.” —Big Other

“This collection stand[s] out. There’s plenty of imagination [in Understories] but it’s rooted in recognizable and occasionally irrational emotions, a human quality that makes these stories endure. . . . Below the striking imagery, there’s abundant emotional depth to be found.” —Vol. 1 Brooklyn

“Some books inspire, others seize. Understories seizes, shakes, then splits everything open.” —Punchnel’s

“Horvath’s writing is so consistently fun, engaging, inventive, and imaginative while displaying such range between stories, that the reader will never grow bored.” —Small Press Book Review

“Every echo, despite its resonance, is a kind of individual pocket. . . . As a fiction collection, then, Understories resonates not only on the stories as stories, but as an arrangement of individual parts. The buzz it gives off is the combined buzz of countless pockets, all charged with a life and surprise of their own.” —Collagist

“These stories are triumphs of the imagination.” —Fantasy Literature

“A wild ride. [Understories] is a highly inventive short story collection that interweaves absurdity with a deep understanding of what makes people tick.” —Kenyon Review

“With plenty of humor and a good dose of poignancy, Understories is an excellent assortment for those who want something that blends traditional and speculative fiction together well.” —Midwest Book Review

Understories is fueled by a wonderfully inventive mind, but ultimately, it is a mind in service to the heart. Horvath’s attention is always squarely on us: who we are, who we have been, and how a great story can transform us.” —MATT BELL, author of Cataclysm Baby and In the House upon the Dirt between the Lake and the Woods

“Remarkable writing and remarkably rewarding reading: stories equally saturated in contemporary fact and transfactual acids. An atlas of canny and uncanny maps, mainly cityscapes, of the branching imagination and convoluted heart. Move over, Mercator and Google Earth: make way for Horvath’s haunting projections.” —BRIAN BOYD, author of Stalking Nabokov

“Tim Horvath is a fluid, inventive writer who deftly interweaves the palpably real and the pyrotechnically fantastic. At once playful, deeply moving, and sharply funny, Understories satisfies the mind, the heart, and the gut.” —KATE CHRISTENSEN, author of The Astral and The Great Man

“Horvath seems to be channeling, all at once, Borges and Calvino and Kevin Brockmeier. And it all works.” —REBECCA MAKKAI, author of The Borrower

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781934137444
Publisher:
Bellevue Literary Press
Publication date:
05/01/2012
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.80(d)

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
Salon What to Read Awards
Largehearted Boy Favorite Short Story Collection of the Year
New Hampshire Public Radio Summer Books Selection

“Profound . . . with more to say on the human condition than most full books. . . . A remarkable collection, with pitch-perfect leaps of imagination.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Horvath doesn’t just tell a story, he gives readers a window into the hearts, minds and souls of his characters.” —Concord Monitor

“This stunning collection revels in wordplay and inventiveness, and is one of the finest short fiction collections I have read all year.” —Largehearted Boy

“This is transformative prose at its best. . . . If you want an actual contemporary wordsmith who does not just tinker but thrives in the micro-worlds of Calvino and Borges, Walser and Perec, read Understories.” —HTML Giant

“As any great book, Understories confronts the making of fiction itself, intermittently directly confronting the mechanics of fabrication. . . . A major accomplishment by a major writer . . . full of writing as deeply aware of its antecedents as it is aware of the possibilities within, of, and about narrative.” —Big Other

“This collection stand[s] out. There’s plenty of imagination [in Understories] but it’s rooted in recognizable and occasionally irrational emotions, a human quality that makes these stories endure. . . . Below the striking imagery, there’s abundant emotional depth to be found.” —Vol. 1 Brooklyn

“A wild ride. [Understories] is a highly inventive short story collection that interweaves absurdity with a deep understanding of what makes people tick.” —Kenyon Review

“Some books inspire, others seize. Understories seizes, shakes, then splits everything open.” —Punchnel’s

“Every echo, despite its resonance, is a kind of individual pocket. . . . As a fiction collection, then, Understories resonates not only on the stories as stories, but as an arrangement of individual parts. The buzz it gives off is the combined buzz of countless pockets, all charged with a life and surprise of their own.” —Collagist

“With plenty of humor and a good dose of poignancy, Understories is an excellent assortment for those who want something that blends traditional and speculative fiction together well.” —Midwest Book Review

Understories is fueled by a wonderfully inventive mind, but ultimately, it is a mind in service to the heart. Horvath’s attention is always squarely on us: who we are, who we have been, and how a great story can transform us.” —MATT BELL, author of Cataclysm Baby and In the House upon the Dirt between the Lake and the Woods

“Remarkable writing and remarkably rewarding reading: stories equally saturated in contemporary fact and transfactual acids. An atlas of canny and uncanny maps, mainly cityscapes, of the branching imagination and convoluted heart. Move over, Mercator and Google Earth: make way for Horvath’s haunting projections.” —BRIAN BOYD, author of Stalking Nabokov

“Tim Horvath is a fluid, inventive writer who deftly interweaves the palpably real and the pyrotechnically fantastic. At once playful, deeply moving, and sharply funny, Understories satisfies the mind, the heart, and the gut.” —KATE CHRISTENSEN, author of The Astral and The Great Man

“Horvath seems to be channeling, all at once, Borges and Calvino and Kevin Brockmeier. And it all works.” —REBECCA MAKKAI, author of The Borrower

“‘The Understory’ is a terrific reach through history from the pre- and post- Nazi era in Germany up to the present. . . . This is a wonderful story, a first-rate creation by a fine writer.” —BILL HENDERSON, president and editor of Pushcart Press, in his judge’s statement for the Raymond Carver Short Story Award

Meet the Author


Tim Horvath, a graduate of Vassar College, Teachers College-Columbia University, and the University of New Hampshire, is an associate editor for Camera Obscura Journal and teaches creative writing at New Hampshire Institute of Art and Boston’s Grub Street writing center. He has also worked part-time as a counselor in a psychiatric hospital, primarily with autistic children and adolescents. Understories, Horvath’s first collection of short fiction, includes the award-winning “Understory,” selected by Bill Henderson for the Raymond Carver Short Story Award, and “Circulation,” selected by Clark Blaise for the Society for the Study of the Short Story Prize. His stories have also appeared in Conjunctions, Fiction, Alimentum, Puerto del Sol, and elsewhere. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife and daughter.

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Understories 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
wightknyte More than 1 year ago
I love these stories. The imagination is incredible, but they don't rest on incredible imagination. They would be touching and captivating stories even if events like Gauguin spending his career in Greenland instead of Tahiti didn't happen, but the bizarre imagination makes them even more enjoyable. This is my first experience with Horvath, but I'm hooked.