Best Worst American

Best Worst American

by Juan Martinez


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Winner of the inaugural Neukom Institute Literary Arts Award

These are the best Americans, the worst Americans. In these stories (these cities, these people) there are labyrinths, rivers, wildernesses. Voices sound slightly different than expected. There's humor, but it's going to hurt.

In "On Paradise," a petshop manager flies with his cat to Las Vegas to meet his long-lost mother and grandmother, only to find that the women look exactly like they did forty years before. In "The Spooky Japanese Girl is There For You," the spooky Japanese girl (a ghost) is there for you, then she is not.

These refreshing and invigorating stories of displacement, exile, and identity, of men who find themselves confused by the presence or absence of extraordinary women, jump up, demand to be read, and send the reader back to the earth changed: reminded from these short stories how big the world is.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781618731241
Publisher: Small Beer Press
Publication date: 02/14/2017
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Juan Martinez’s stories have been published in McSweeney’s, Glimmer Train, Conjunctions, Huizache, Ecotone, TriQuarterly, and broadcast on Selected Shorts. He lives in Chicago with his family and is an assistant professor of English at Northwestern University. His website is

Table of Contents

Roadblock 1

Strangers on Vacation: Snapshots 11

Machulín In L.A. 13

On Paradise 27

Domokun in Fremont 39

The Women Who Talk To Themselves 47

Customer Service at the Karaoke Don Quixote 51

Your Significant Other's Kitten Poster 53

Well Tended 57

Souvenirs from Ganymede 73

The Coca-Cola Executive in the Zapatoca Outhouse 83

Correspondences between the Lower World and Old Men in Pinstripe Suits 97

The Lead Singer Is Distracting Me 107

Errands 111

Liner Notes for Renegade, the Opening Sequence 121

Hobbledehoydom 125

My Sister's Knees 137

The Spooky Japanese Girl Is There For You 147

Big Wheel, Boiling Hot 149

After the End of the World: A Capsule Review 161

Debtor 165

Forsaken, the Crew Awaited News from the People Below 181

Northern 185

Best Worst American 197

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