Published: Oct 18 2022
Height: 1.10 Width: 5.91 Depth: 8.58
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).