BookBrowse Reviews Instructions for a Funeral by David Means

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Instructions for a Funeral

Stories

by David Means

Instructions for a Funeral by David Means X
Instructions for a Funeral by David Means
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  • Published:
    Mar 2019, 208 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Jamie Chornoby
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In 14 wandering stories about family, loss, violence, isolation and retrospection, David Means explores how discontentment and unrest shape people and the stories they tell.

Following a venture into novels with Hystopia in 2016, Instructions for a Funeral is a return to David Means' signature form—the short story. This collection contains 14 stories that have been previously published in The Paris Review, Harper's, The New Yorker, and VICE. In them, Means approaches his characters' tensions and torments with refined, yet digressive prose. Depicting fights, affairs, illnesses, addictions, deaths and murders, this collection critiques how people remember things and explores why we need stories.

Gnawing and confessional, Means brings readers into narratives that span time and place, each a combination of compact observations and broad, panoramic questions about the world. "Fistfight, Sacramento, August 1950" describes a bloody, bone-breaking brawl between teenagers from conflicting working-class and upper-class backgrounds. Over the years, the central ...

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Beyond the Book:
  The Fallibility of Memory

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