The Complete Gary Lutz

The Complete Gary Lutz

by Gary Lutz


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For nearly three decades, Gary Lutz has been writing quietly influential, virtuosic short fictions of antic despair. In barbed sentences of startling originality, Lutz gives voice to outcasts from conventional genders and monogamies—and even from the ruckus of their own bodies. Making their rounds of daily humiliations, Lutz's self-unnerving narrators find themselves helplessly trespassing on their own lives.

This omnibus volume, with an introduction by Brian Evenson, gathers all five of Lutz's sometimes hard-to-find collections and features sixty pages of previously uncollected stories—including his two longest.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781733535915
Publisher: Tyrant Books
Publication date: 12/17/2019
Sales rank: 792,369
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)

Read an Excerpt

How far back should a man like me have to go? She needed to buy a bag, a duffel, to collect the things of hers that were still in the other man’s apartment. So we went to the odd-lots shop on the corner, a surplus store, army- and-navy. The bags were all of one size, one color (an obvious, unbursting blue), one price: ten bucks. How much stuff had she left at his place? “Gosh, gallons, I guess,” she said. She imagined that all of it could be squeezed or rolled up and that it would be nice to see the things that way, condensed like a summary of another concluded part of her life, to which there had been so many parts, unlike my life, which had hardly massed itself onto my body.This was just an errand, she kept insisting. Everything between them was between them now, she said. What didn’t I get? And it wasn’t as if she had been living there, she said, though that was where her mail kept going, the packets and chubby parcels that were always being forwarded to her from tearjerker towns farther south. I had never seen this man. I never knew what might have been firing through him to her or what was yet to come out of the facts about him. The two of them had never gotten around to taking pictures. We stood in the checkout line, one finger of mine curled around one of hers. Then all of hers ganging up suddenly on my upper arm. “This is the easiest thing I’ve ever done,” she said. I had always been hearing this exact same thing from people, always on the kind of day that gets troubled down to its veriest grains. I’d heard it from lady dentists with purplish scoldings of tattoo on their shoulders, from men even older than I, reachers who roped themselves off from whatever they were reaching for. She told me to wait outside the store while she went to the man’s place. It was only blocks and blocks away. The etiquette of the matter would take maybe ten minutes max. The afternoon welcomed me into its swelters. An hour went by, then cleared the way for another. I had found a bench near the store and stood in quiet beside it. Others came and sat: unfinished-looking men, a pair of proudly ungabby girls I took for lovers done for now with their love, a woman graphically sad in ambitious pinpoints of jewelry. Then a man so moodless, I could see all the different grades and genres of zilch behind his eyes. The city flattered these people who in the country would have been flattened fast for all to see all the same. She found me at last and sat me down on the bench and said, “He cried and cried.” Then: “I cooked for him.” Then: “I made him something fussy for dessert. I wanted it to be a good-bye.” She made an effort to describe something merrily chocolate that had trouble retaining its shape or else had to be cut with care into squares. Her eyes looked fatigued, glassine. Then: “I made it clear it wasn’t old times.” The duffel bag was empty. She explained that her things weren’t all in one place in his apartment. It wasn’t as simple as all that.Things of hers had hit it off with his in dresser drawers, paternal suitcases, two snug closets, a laundry hamper, knottily hanging baskets. And some of his things, his finery, looked a lot like hers, it turned out. It was going to take sorting, and the sorting could take hours.

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