The Washington Post
Were All In This Together: A Novella and Storiesby Owen King
The stories in this collection, along with Owen Kings brilliant title novella set in Maine after the 2000 election, carry the weight of real emotion and revelation and showcase the impressive versatility of a rising talent. See more details below
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The stories in this collection, along with Owen Kings brilliant title novella set in Maine after the 2000 election, carry the weight of real emotion and revelation and showcase the impressive versatility of a rising talent.
The Washington Post
- Bloomsbury USA
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- Barnes & Noble
- NOOK Book
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- 734 KB
Meet the Author
Owen King grew up in Bangor, Maine. He is a graduate of Vassar College and holds an M.F.A. from Columbia University, and his stories have appeared in Book Magazine and the Bellingham Review. He currently resides in Brooklyn.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I gave Owen the benefit of the doubt because of his father but I will probably not do that again. I have a need for a good story but I like my stories to have a beginning, a middle and an ending. In reading the short stories I felt something missing, like an ending. In Frozen Animals I read the last line and flip the page for the next chapter and there was not one. Maybe I am just different from most readers but I like stories to have some sort of ending. I do not like to have to work at reading. I do it to get away not to have to think about how it would have ended. Then I thought well maybe Owen is going to write another book with all of the endings! Sorry but not good.
Did not like at all
Owen King has proven that he takes after his daddy (Stephen - who else?) with this collection of four short stories and a novella.
He has definitely inherited his father's style, while at the same time proving that he's his own man when it comes to subject matter - there's not a hint of horror in any of the stories in this little volume, although the people he writes about are, like in his father's stories, a tad on the weird side.
The quality of these tales does vary, however. None of them are bad, but the short stories pale beside the novella (the title piece). This story gives me goosebumps, because it's in this one that Owen sounds so much like his father. And that's not altogether a bad thing, considering that as I said before, there is no element of horror in any of Owen's stories. One has to wonder just what Stephen could do with some of these pieces.
If this is any indication of his talent, I'd say that Stephen has a worthy successor when he deems it time to hang up his word processor.
The overarching theme of 'We're All In This Together,' the main novella in Owen King's debut collection, is that people are insane. Left, right, conservative, liberal - they're all nuts. They also all (well, almost all) believe that they're doing the right thing, but as King so astutely points out, well-intentioned crazy is still crazy. The novella is not just a gripping, touching and hilarious story it's an important one, particularly in today's perspective- free political climate. This book also takes a vast view of literary possibility. Every story is different, but King always demonstrates a keen eye for details both absurd and heart-rending while never managing to lose sight of his stories' vital emotional core. Even 'My Second Wife' - a bit of sublime absurdity that starts with a parade and ends with an anorexic emu - touches on a serious place, a place full of love and loss and the power of human connection. These stories (like 'Wonders,' a Tim Powers-esque freakshow with a horribly beautiful edge, and 'Frozen Animals,' which seems to have been written in Jack London's darkest place) are full of sharp, tight images and observations that stay with you long after the covers are closed. Owen King is that rarest of all writers: a gifted storyteller with a true insight into human nature. As for the reviewer who complained about the stories not having 'endings' - well, not all endings are accompanied by soaring strings and heartfelt explications of universal emotional motives. In fact, in fiction, the best endings can be those which are subtle and compelling, and these are the endings that Owen King gives us.
Owen King¿s debut collection, We¿re All in This Together, reveals an expert craftsman at work, a brilliant storyteller whose creations never strike a false note and never fail to surprise. The eponymous novella, set in the wake of the fateful 2000 presidential election, is told in the pitch-perfect voice of an adolescent coming uneasily of age in Maine. Carefully balancing pathos and humor, King tells of the dissolution and attempted restoration of the young narrator¿s family on the one hand and the attenuated but ultimately salvageable ideals of the community and its most high-minded exponents on the other. In the four short stories that follow, which take in everything from a baseball team representing Coney Island in fullest, oddest flower to an itinerant dentist whose snowbound trek to treat a patient requires as much mettle as the ghastly extraction he must perform, King¿s creative vision and his perfect empathy for the characters whose fallibilities and grace render their stories worth the telling are on full display. We¿re All in This Together is a remarkable collection which rewards with every turn of the page and resounds with an emotional authenticity able to make the most callous heart or the most deadened tooth ache.