Listening for Ghosts: A Novella and Four Stories

Listening for Ghosts: A Novella and Four Stories

by David Rabe
Listening for Ghosts: A Novella and Four Stories

Listening for Ghosts: A Novella and Four Stories

by David Rabe


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Four stories (three of which appeared in the New Yorker) and a novella bring wit, compassion, and dizzying absurdity to facing life and death across generations. In “Things We Worried About When I Was Ten,” carefree boys running in apparent midwestern freedom are revealed to be as uncared for by their overburdened parents as they are carefree. “The Longer Grief” is a slow-motion explosion, as one moment in time propels shards of reckoning through a brother and sister, their shared history, and those they hold dear. In “Uncle Jim Called” a man cooking stir fry answers his ringing phone to find the dead calling. “Suffocation Theory” slyly depicts our off-kilter and increasingly apocalyptic world. In the novella, I Have to Tell You, Emma, nearing eighty, along with other elderly tenants in her midwestern apartment complex, seeks fairness from a conniving landlord. When an emergency stay in the hospital brings her face to face with looming injustice, she finds herself suddenly burdened with two mysteries to solve. She may never get to the end of them, but she is determined to do all she can, and maybe more than anyone expected. These stories show the author in top form as an incisive chronicler of the torments, pathos, and sometimes joys of being human. They are full of bite, wit, and ingenuity, and like all his classic work, they are powerful and timely.

“Suffocation Theory” appeared in the October 12, 2020 issue of the New Yorker. The New Yorker published two other stories, “Uncle Jim Called” and “Things We Worried About When I Was Ten,” the latter a winner of the 2021 O. Henry Prize and is included in the most recent O. Henry collection, published in September 2021 and edited by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The story “The Longer Grief” was awarded a first prize in the Narrative Story Contest (August 2019).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781953002303
Publisher: Delphinium
Publication date: 10/10/2023
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

David Rabe was born in Dubuque, Iowa. Drafted into the Army in 1965, he was stationed in Vietnam in a Medical Headquarters unit. Discharged in 1967, he returned to Villanova University to study theater under Richard Duprey, Robert Hedley, and Jim Christy. Many of his early plays were written during this period. The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel was his first play performed New York in 1971. It was followed by Sticks and Bones, The Orphan, In the Boom Boom Room, and Streamers. Other plays include Goose and Tom Tom, Hurlyburly, Those the River Keeps, A Question of Mercy, The Dog Problem, The Black Monk (based on Chekov), An Early History of Fire, Good for Otto, Visiting Edna, and Cosmologies. Four of Rabe’s plays have been given Tony nominations as best play on Broadway. Other prizes and recognition include: American Academy of Arts and Letters Award, Drama Desk Award, John Gassner Outer Critics Award, the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, and The Elizabeth Hull-Kate Warriner Drama Guild Award. Over time he has increasingly devoted himself to writing fiction with three novels: Recital of the Dog, Dinosaurs on the Roof, and Girl by the Road at Night, as well as a book of stories, A Primitive Heart. In recent years, he has had stories published in New Yorker magazine and at Narrative online. His three children are Jason, Lily and Michael. He lives in Northwest Connecticut.
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