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Copy Cats Paperback – October 1, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 252 pages
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press (October 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0820337080
  • ISBN-13: 978-0820337081
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,318,832 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This mixed bag comprises an impressive extended piece of fiction and seven uneven short stories. In "Click," the well-developed long story, an emotionally scarred photographer threatens his relationship with his fiancé while working on a documentary about a prostitute with whom he becomes involved. The shorter stories feature more distant protagonists who often fight themselves as they work through personal or professional dilemmas. "Code" follows a corporate drone trying to interpret the signals of impending layoffs and business failure in his dying company's final days. "The Ugliest Boy" offers a twisted view of adolescent romance as a handsome boy who was once raped by two men struggles to date a beautiful rich girl while her brother, a disfigured and deeply damaged burn victim, looks on as an unusually interested observer. In "Crybaby," a young man realizes that the book he wrote, based on people from his childhood, has irrevocably altered his relationships when he returns to his old neighborhood. While each of the shorter stories has considerable charm, the longer piece gives Crouse enough space to slowly develop complex characters and a compelling plot while many of the central figures in the shorter pieces remain shadowy. Crouse's fluency with the darker sides of the average human life, however, makes this a promising, though inconsistent, debut.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Crouse's voice has a cool, measured urgency to it that invites his readers not to miss the most delicate flickers of language as he describes his characters' often confused or detached states of mind. The people in his stories might be out of work or hold jobs at copy shops, but they are alive to the possibility that choice—to act or even to stay still—is always present. Watching them as they make those decisions provides subtle suspense as the collection unfolds. Lucidly written, darkly funny, these stories possess a crystalline acuity. An elegant debut."--Charlotte Bacon, author of There Is Room for You


"Crouse seems to have been charged by his characters to reveal the ‘real stories in the world,' to penetrate the sheen and drive a spike down there and 'poke around to tap into them.' Crouse does so with elegant lucidity. His stories of characters who often struggle to hold to their lives with the most tenuous grips are told in high contrast black-and-white. Every detail is accorded an almost palpable texture from the gray-purple filling in the Danish in an office kitchenette to the obsessively overpolished shine of an automobile hubcap. Every character is granted some moment of sympathetic tenderness whether he deserves it or not. Every story rewards the reader with fresh insights into characters made from the people who surround us every day."--Frank Soos, author of Unified Field Theory: Stories


"The title . . . provides a sly hint at a unifying element in this clever collection. In Copy Cats, author Crouse imbues characters with a penchant for succumbing to the cat's infamous curiosity. . . . While something like curiosity, or a hunch, loosely unite the stories in Copy Cats, as a collection they gather to create a deeper effect—something more like intuition. Crouse's characters possess a common spirit that inspires them to follow, and then to understand, something meaningful in their midst.”--Mid-American Review


"Startlingly realized and undeniably affecting."--Virginia Quarterly Review


"Richly complex and deeply felt."--Kirkus Reviews


"Stark stories in which the bleak and the beautiful are tethered by tender, tenuous strings . . . The collection of seven stories and one novella effectively walks a tightrope between dark and light, the bleak and the bright . . . Crouse is gifted at crafting scenes that resonate in multiple ways. In the worlds he creates, nothing is black and white. Like the sound of metal on bone, Crouse's stories are in many ways 'too close to real.' But it's for that reason, for the chilling truths and the dark revelations, that the reader can recognize the light hidden beneath."—Boston Phoenix


"[It] comprises an impressive extended piece of fiction. Crouse's fluency with the darker sides of the average human life . . . makes this a promising debut"--Publishers Weekly

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Customer Reviews

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I loved every single story in this collection.
Laurel Hatfield
This could have been me, we will likely think during one story or another, before turning the page and feeling smug and warm inside our homes.
Reader and Reviewer
The truth and reality the characters live in are presented very simply.
A. Breese

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Tigh M. Rickman on January 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover
When one reads Copy Cats it is little wonder why Mr. Crouse was selected to receive the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction. In this collection he peoples his stories with characters that have one foot in 'normalcy' and the other firmly embedded on the fringe. In other words while most all of them are eccentric they are still identifiable to the reader and it becomes very easy to understand their motivations even when (if taken out of context) their actions would seem bizarre. This opens a door to the reader and lets them into a world that isn't so far removed from their own, one that lies right under the surface of their day to day lives. In my opinion this is his greatest strength as a writer.

More importantly perhaps is Mr. Crouse's dedication the form. Short fiction rarely gets its due and as a genre is flooded with works by authors established in other mediums who are merely dabbling. However from his stories it is obvious that Mr. Crouse has dedicated himself whole heartedly to the short story and is well on his way to becoming one of the champions of the style.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Reader and Reviewer on January 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
A winter walk with a part-time prostitute on Salisbury Beach. A confrontation with a homeless man on Boylston Street. A never-ending party with aging burnouts inside a tattered old Victorian in Lawrence.

David Crouse excels at placing his readers within the "serene suburban quiet" that makes it "feel like something horrible [is] going to happen."

In his debut short-story collection, Copy Cats (University of Georgia Press), the 38-year-old native of Haverhill presents stark stories in which the bleak and the beautiful are tethered by tender, tenuous strings - all within the outskirts of Boston. The collection of seven stories and one novella - which won a 2005 Flannery O' Connor Award for short fiction - effectively walks a tightrope between dark and light, the bleak and the bright.

-Nina Maclaughlin (The Boston Phoenix)

The characters in the seven short stories and one novella that make up ''Copy Cats" share a discomfort, a disconnect -- sometimes traceable to some defining trauma, sometimes not -- that will be apparent to readers of short-story masters from Franz Kafka to Richard Yates. There's also more than a hint of the stomach-clenching despair that marked the stories of another Haverhill writer, the late Andre Dubus.

-James Sullivan (The Boston Globe)

This collection of stories is the 2005 winner of the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction, but don't read it just for that. Read it because Copy Cats offers eight of the most captivating, well-written, and intellect-inspiring stories you're likely to read all year.

Crouse captures people at the breaking point. People on the verge of madness, of losing jobs or walking out on them. People who ruin relationships or families.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Earl C. Clark on November 27, 2005
Format: Hardcover
"Write what you know."

This is the gospel preached by creative writing teachers the world over. It is the regurgitated soundbite provided by best selling authors when asked to offer advice to the up and coming writer. But it is also a credo that, when taken to its extreme, can limit the creative prospects of a budding young talent. Too often the novice (and even his literary cousin, the lazy old pro) limits himself to tales about artists and writers, about professors and students, about creative, misunderstood intellectuals sipping Merlot at dinner parties whilst troubled by matters no more dramatic than whether or not they'll get tenure, than whether or not they'll get away with sleeping with their secretary. In short, the novice writer too often restricts his dramatis personae to the privileged, educated subculture to which he himself belongs, and forgets that there is a whole other world out there, waiting to be explored -- a world populated by undereducated, thoroughly average people who hide their remarkable stories behind unassuming veneers that only a truly dedicated wordwright could ever crack. And so, the general reader is left with a sense that her own story is not fit to be told, not WORTH being told. She rarely ventures into the realm of literary fiction, sticking instead to the mysteries and fantasies in whose pages she can truly lose herself, feeling as if her own true story is one that will never be told.

In his refreshingly unique debut, COPY CATS (The University of Georgia Press, 2005), David Crouse, a professor of creative writing at Chester College of New England, successfully bucks this trend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Laurel Hatfield on October 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I loved every single story in this collection. My favorites were "Swimming in the Dark" and the story another reviewer mentioned, "Crybaby".

I'm not sure what the reviewer from Publisher's Weekly was going on about but if these character's are "shadowy" it is because they are complex and rendered with a subtle touch. You have to do some work "reading between the lines" with these stories but I think an intelligent reader will find a lot to like. The book reminded me of a cross between Alice Munro and Chuck Palahniuk-which is not as crazy as it sounds.

I hope this guy has a novel come out soon.
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