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Publisher's Summary

A masterly collection of 11 stories about the way we live now from the best-selling author of Netherland. 

From bourgeois facial-hair trends to parental sleep deprivation, Joseph O’Neill closely observes the mores of his characters, whose vacillations and second thoughts expose the mysterious pettiness, underlying violence, and, sometimes, surprising beauty of ordinary life in the early 21st century. A lonely wedding guest talks to a goose; two poets struggle over whether to participate in a “pardon Edward Snowden” verse petition; a cowardly husband lets his wife face a possible intruder in their home; a potential co-op renter in New York City can’t find anyone to give him a character reference.  

On the surface, these men and women may be in only mild trouble, but in these perfectly made, fiercely modern stories O’Neill reminds us of the real, secretly political consequences of our internal monologues. No writer is more incisive about the strange world we live in now; the laugh-out-loud vulnerability of his people is also fodder for tears.

Cast of Narrators:
"Pardon Edward Snowden" read by Robbie Daymond
"The Trusted Traveler" read by Arthur Morey
"The World of Cheese" read by Kimberly Farr
"The Referees" read by Mike Chamberlain
"Promises, Promises" read by Allyson Ryan
"The Death of Billy Joel" read by Mark Deakins
"Ponchos" read by Mark Bramhall
"The Poltroon Husband" read by John H. Meyer
"Goose" read by Mike Chamberlain
"The Mustache in 2010" read by Cassandra Campbell
"The Sinking of the Houston" read by Danny Campbell  

©2018 Joseph O'Neill (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“A thoroughly enjoyable collection... O’Neill treats his characters with a wry sympathy and a sense of fun, [probing] the frictions that make marriages and families fissure or fight for survival, the situations where discomfort breeds anxiety and resentment mushrooms into malaise.” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) 

“Beautifully crafted short stories... O’Neill’s tales often echo [David Foster] Wallace’s mixture of humor and profundity, demonstrating a similar, almost preternatural eye for the absurdities of contemporary life.” (Alexander Moran, Booklist)

“Absorbing... In his typically sharp, smart language, [O’Neill] shows us characters undone by contemporary life, not grandly but in the small, essential ways that define our culture.” (Library Journal

What members say

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Just one complaint

There is no pause between the end of each story and the performer/reader announcing his or her name. It was odd and took something away from each story, which was a shame.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful