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The BookBrowse Review

Published September 20, 2017

ISSN: 1930-0018

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  • Blog:
    6 Books That Help You Talk About Death and End-of-Life Care
  • Notable:
    Recycle Book Club
  • Wordplay:
    Y Can't M A S P O O A S E
  • Book Giveaway:
    If the Creek Don't Rise
  • Quote:
    The only completely consistent people are the dead
Book Jacket

Fresh Complaint
Stories
by Jeffrey Eugenides
3 Oct 2017
304 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux
ISBN-13: 9780374203061
Critics:
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The first collection of short fiction from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jeffrey Eugenides.

Jeffrey Eugenides's bestselling novels have shown him to be an astute observer of the crises of adolescence, self-discovery, family love, and what it means to be American in our times. The stories in "Fresh Complaint" explore equally rich­­ – ­­and intriguing­­ – territory. Ranging from the bitingly reproductive antics of "Baster" to the dreamy, moving account of a young traveler's search for enlightenment in "Air Mail" (selected by Annie Proulx for Best American Short Stories), this collection presents characters in the midst of personal and national emergencies. We meet a failed poet who, envious of other people's wealth during the real-estate bubble, becomes an embezzler; a clavichordist whose dreams of art founder under the obligations of marriage and fatherhood; and, in "Fresh Complaint," a high school student whose wish to escape the strictures of her immigrant family lead her to a drastic decision that upends the life of a middle-aged British physicist.

Narratively compelling, beautifully written, and packed with a density of ideas despite their fluid grace, these stories chart the development and maturation of a major American writer.

"Starred Review. Sprightly or serious, Eugenides consistently writes about complex lives with depth and compassion." - Kirkus

"Starred Review. These stories skillfully explore the often elusive quest for happiness and self-knowledge, along with the many complexities that attend relationships with family, friends, and lovers. Essential for all fans of literary fiction." - Library Journal

"Starred Review. Pulitzer Prize–winning Eugenides' first story collection, and his first book since The Marriage Plot (2011), is gifted with the strong voices and luminous prose his novels are known for." - Booklist

"The collection is uneven, but even the weakest story is never boring, and Eugenides's prodigious abilities are showcased throughout." - Publishers Weekly

Jeffrey Eugenides was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1960. He graduated magna cum laude from Brown University, and received an M.A. in English and Creative Writing from Stanford University in 1986. His first novel, The Virgin Suicides, was published to acclaim in 1993. It has been translated into fifteen languages and made into a feature film. His fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Yale Review, Best American Short Stories, The Gettysburg Review, and Granta's "Best of Young American Novelists."  In 2003, Jeffrey Eugenides received The Pulitzer Prize for his novel Middlesex (2002).

Eugenides is the recipient of many awards, including fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, a Whiting Writers' Award, and the Henry D. Vursell Memorial Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He has been a Fellow of the Berliner Künstlerprogramm of the DAAD and of the American Academy in Berlin.  After spending some time in Berlin, Eugenides now lives in New Jersey with his wife and daughter where he is on the faculty of Princeton University's Program in Creative Writing. In January 2008 he published an anthology, My Mistress's Sparrow Is Dead: Great Love Stories from Chekhov to Munro, the proceeds of which go directly to fund the free youth writing programs offered by 826 Chicago which is part of the network of seven writing centers across the United States affiliated with 826 National, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write.

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