You Are Not the One: Stories

You Are Not the One: Stories

by Vestal McIntyre
     
 

In this debut collection of eight compulsively readable stories, Vestal McIntyre combines honesty and compassion with hilarious dialogue—bringing together the comic milieu of David Sedaris with the spot-on perceptions of Adam Haslett's You Are Not a Stranger Here. With "ONJ.com," a young woman in advertising decides she wants a gay man in her life, almost as

Overview

In this debut collection of eight compulsively readable stories, Vestal McIntyre combines honesty and compassion with hilarious dialogue—bringing together the comic milieu of David Sedaris with the spot-on perceptions of Adam Haslett's You Are Not a Stranger Here. With "ONJ.com," a young woman in advertising decides she wants a gay man in her life, almost as if she were shopping for a poodle. Unluckily, the gay man she finds, a good-looking and fast-talking freelancer, isn't as pleasant and "fun" as she had hoped. In the loopy "Dunford," a lonely, aging architect with a suppressed fascination for female escorts decides impulsively to take the opportunity of his wife's absence to set up a date. Sadly for Dunford, he realizes too late that his escort doesn't share his penchant for masturbation in car washes. Quieter notes are sounded in "Foray" about a bookish teenaged recluse discovering an unexpected emotional connection to his family after his mother asks him to read Moby Dick to his young, mentally retarded cousin. And "Nightwalking" centers on a woman sleepwalker whose mother's death frames the occasion for a rocky family reunion. You Are Not the One marks the auspicious arrival of an exciting new talent.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Carroll & Graf's cover copy claims that McIntyre "brings together the comic milieu of David Sedaris with the exquisite crafting of Alice Munro," and while McIntyre does offer quirky scenarios (teenage hoodlums kidnapping a kid in a kangaroo costume; a 40-something wife performing a cocaine-fueled interpretive dance for a roomful of younger strangers) and moments of subtle insight (though they are hardly Munrovian), what he delivers primarily is a kind of unharnessed intelligence and insufficiently edited creativity, which he demonstrates in a bumpy series of eight stories revolving around the need for love and acceptance, whether it is from a lover, oneself or one's pet octopus. In "Binge," cocaine-snorting Lynn attends a party, ruminates on her attraction to a younger woman, considers her annoyance at her husband and, after the aforementioned dance, finds redemption of a sort thanks to a subway preacher. As an attempt at poignancy, it falls flat; it reads like a sudden end-stop for a garrulous narrator. "Octo" is similarly challenged, as a boy must part with his beloved and now deceased pet octopus, and a roller-coaster ride serves to symbolically link him-in terror-with his nasty sister. "ONJ.com" and "Disability," which consider complicated relationships between young gay men and their associates, ring true, however; the latter especially points to McIntyre's promise. Agent, Mitchell Waters. (Jan.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Ranging from sour and superficial to occasionally moving, an uneven eight stories treat urban gay angst, for the most part, by a newcomer published in Open City. The best of this unpolished collection is "Disability," the first-person account of a youngish gay man on prolonged disability who lives in a basement in Queens, drinks a lot, and is generous toward his friends, though rejects a handsome lover for himself because he's ashamed, at bottom, that he's a "fuckup." Here, McIntyre demonstrates a terrific sense of control and character development, allowing each of the man's friends to uncoil suspensefully through dialogue and action. "Foray," similarly, pursues a potentially charged relationship between a teenaged boy who retreats into his books while on holiday at his grandparents' beach house and his younger cousin with Down syndrome, Vance. Assigned the educational task of reading Moby Dick to Vance, Raymond recognizes through the enthralled reaction of his cousin the power of the word: "He loved the story in a way I couldn't, and it put me to shame." Other stories lack the same thoughtful delineation of character, such as the first, "Binge," a glib-feeling account of a married woman's evening at a meaningless party sneaking "bumps" from her bag of cocaine; or the bizarrely misdirected "Sahara," which follows the kidnapping of a restaurant's kangaroo mascot by a group of idiot high-schoolers who mistake him for the rival team's wolverine. "Octo" concerns the creepy affection that a troubled young boy (hostilely considered "retarded" by his schoolmates and sister) develops for his growing, carnivorous octopus. And "ONJ.com" explores the easygoing party friendship gone terribly awrybetween a graphic designer making her way successfully in New York and the charming gay man she hires. McIntyre chooses to tie these stories up hastily, giving the entire collection a half-baked, amateurish feel. A disaffected new voice that doesn't offer a lot of depth and warmth. Agent: Mitchell Waters/Curtis Brown

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786714339
Publisher:
Avalon Publishing Group
Publication date:
11/28/2004
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
0.58(w) x 5.50(h) x 8.50(d)

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