Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi

by Bret Anthony Johnston
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Corpus Christi by Bret Anthony Johnston

From an acclaimed and award-winning young writer comes an intensely moving debut collection set in the eye of life’s storms. In Corpus Christi, Texas—a town often hit by hurricanes— parents, children, and lovers come together and fall apart, bonded and battered by memories of loss that they feel as acutely as physical pain.

A car accident joins strangers linked by an intimate knowledge of madness. A teenage boy remembers his father’s act of sudden and self-righteous violence. A “hurricane party” reunites a couple whom tragedy parted. And, in an unforgettable three-story cycle, an illness sets in profound relief a man’s relationship with his mother and the odd, shifting fidelity of truth to love.

Told in fresh, lyrical voices and taut, inventive styles, these narratives explore the complex volatility of love and intimacy, sorrow and renewal—and expose how often these experiences feel like the opposite of themselves. From the woman whose young son’s uncanny rapport with snakes illuminates her own missed opportunities to the man confronting his wife and her lover in a house full of illegal exotic birds, all the characters here face moments of profound decision and recognition in which no choice is clearly or completely right.

Writing with tough humor, deep humanity, and a keen eye for the natural environment, Bret Anthony Johnston creates a world where where cataclysmic events cut people loose from their “regular lives, floating and spiraling away from where we had been the day before.” Corpus Christi is a extraordinarily ambitious debut. It marks the arrival of an important, exquisitely talented voice to American fiction.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780812971873
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/14/2005
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 5.19(w) x 7.99(h) x 0.59(d)

About the Author

BRET ANTHONY JOHNSTON has been featured in The Paris Review and Open City, as well as many anthologies, including New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best, 2003 and 2004; Prize Stories: The O. Henry Prize Stories 2002; and Scribner’s Best of the Fiction Workshops 1999. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he received a Teaching-Writing Fellowship, he teaches creative writing at California State University, San Bernardino.

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Corpus Christi 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was truly outstanding. I picked it up because I transplanted myself to the area 25 years ago, and I thought maybe the book would put into words the attitude one acquires living by the sea in hurricane country. It did. It's about life with the sure knowledge of the impermanence of things, which is in the end liberating. The book is absolutely beautiful--the characters could be any of a number of people I know, even myself. The stories moved me beyond words and were a tribute to everyday people.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had read Johnston's previous short stories when he was my thesis advisor in graduate school, and his writing impressed me then with its honesty and ability to cut through to the truth. When I bought and read this collection, those impressions were further gelled. Even though I have never been to this part of the country, I felt like I was there, reading about people with flesh, blood, and pulse. This is a writer with a true gift.