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Publisher's Summary

The first collection of short fiction from Pulitzer Prize-winner Jeffrey Eugenides, author of The Virgin Suicides, Middlesex, and The Marriage Plot

Jeffrey Eugenides's best selling 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 worded, and packed with a density of ideas despite their fluid grace, these stories chart the development and maturation of a major American author. 

©2017 Jeffrey Eugenides (P)2017 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"It's not a surprise that Cynthia Nixon would be a good audiobook reader. It's surprising that she isn't hired to read every audiobook...Fliakos is endlessly entertaining while never letting theatrics outshine the characters on the page. This collection, Eugenides' first, includes 10 stories spanning three decades of the author's work. Hearing them read in a variety of voices emphasizes the changes in style and point of view that Eugenides has played with throughout his career." (Booklist)

"The theme of complaint extends beyond the title story, but for listeners the key takeaway is the word 'fresh.' Jeffrey Eugenides's fresh writing...showcases his originality and - since he also narrates it - his ability to navigate multiple accents and personalities." (AudioFile)

"Line by line, paragraph by paragraph, Eugenides writes like a man who is enjoying himself. The feeling is contagious." (Dwight Garner, The New York Times)

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Skip the first story, but the rest are incredible!!

Jeffrey Eugenides is one of those authors who doesn't seem to write without throwing himself into the depths of research on characters, careers, cities, relationships, entire ways of life and all of the accompanying nuances. His stories are brilliant windows gleaming with details showcasing the banality and pain of not getting what we want out of life... but in a beautiful and charmingly light way. My only warning is that the first story is a depressing bore and I nearly returned the book midway thru it, but beyond that its full of gems.
Also, make sure you read The Marriage Plot first!!! It makes the story of Mitchell and Larry a lot more colorful. :)

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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You’ll love this book if you love hearing about bodily fluids on a regular basis.

Middlesexand and The Marriage Plot we’re excellent books. So, with that I mind, I️ thought I’d try Fresh Complaint. I️ had to return it. Maybe I’m getting old and I’ve always been a bit of a prude, but I️ just couldn’t take the delving into detail talk of bodily fluids. I️ listened to the first three stories and was a few minutes into the fourth, when up came more bodily fluid discussion. I️ couldn’t take it and had to let it go. So, let the buyer beware! The stories were interesting, but the bodily fluid descriptions ruined them for me.

8 of 13 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Quirky characters and compelling narrative.

I enjoyed the stream of short stories about complex and somewhat flawed characters. if there was continuity in the stories and repeated characters, I didn't sense it... maybe a hard copy would be easier to figure that out. otherwise, I love his writing style.

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blah. not enuf tension. characters plots incomplet

not his best book. characters in completely developed. narration at a monotone. never hooked me

0 of 1 people found this review helpful