The Price of the Haircut: Stories

The Price of the Haircut: Stories

by Brock Clarke


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From an acclaimed and original writer comes a new collection of stories bursting with absurdist plot twists and laced with trenchant wit. Brock Clarke, author of An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England and Exley, among other novels, now offers up bite-sized morsels of his trademark social satire that will have readers laughing, and perhaps shifting uncomfortably in their seats.

The title story delivers a cringingly biting dissection of racial attitudes in contemporary America, and Clarke also turns his eagle eye to subjects like PTSD, the fate of child actors, and, most especially, marital discord in stories like “Considering Lizzie Borden, Her Axe, My Wife” and “The Misunderstandings.” In “The Pity Palace,” a masterful study in self-absorption and self-delusion, a reclusive husband in Florence, Italy, who believes his wife has left him for a famous novelist, sells tickets to tourists anxious to meet someone more miserable than they.

It’s a distinctly Clarkean world, in which readers find themselves reflected back with the distortion of funhouse mirrors—and swept up on a wild ride of heart-wrenching insight and self-discovery.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781616208172
Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Publication date: 03/13/2018
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Brock Clarke is an award-winning author of seven previous works of fiction, including the bestselling An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England. He lives in Maine, and teaches at Bowdoin College.

Table of Contents

The Price of the Haircut 1

The Grand Canyon 20

What Is the Cure for Meanness? 25

Concerning Lizzie Borden, Her Axe, My Wife 59

Good Night 79

Our Pointy Boots 81

The Misunderstandings 108

That Which We Will Not Give 131

Cartoons 161

Children Who Divorce 165

The Pity Palace 192

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