Starred Review. Ten years after his first collection, The Point, D'Ambrosio checks in with a gemlike set of eight stories in which wayward, self-deceiving characters set out to make order of their customary chaos—and realize they are more likely to find unhappy company than catharsis. In "Screenwriter," a major Hollywood player and lifelong depressive falls in love with an elfish, self-mutilating dancer during their stay in a psych ward, where she reminds him that the mechanics of love and mental illness are similarly repetitive. In "Up North," a woman's rape at 18 is at the root of her marital infidelities. During a trip to her family's hunting lodge, her husband is wracked by the need to discover the rapist (one of her father's hunting buddies, but which?) and accept the unhappy terms of his marriage. "The Bone Game" follows Kype, the listless heir to a huge fortune made in a forgotten past, and freeloader D'Angelo as the two drive west to spread Kype's maverick grandfather's ashes. When they pick up a Native American hitchhiker and detour to her Reservation, Kype's dissipation-as-coping-mechanism takes on a harsher, and deeper, cast. D'Ambrosio's dark, intense prose drives these stories like coffin nails. (Apr. 21)
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“These evocative stories are dark and graceful, as deeply nuanced as novels. D’Ambrosio evokes lives of regret and resignation, and there’s never a false note, only the quiet desperation of souls seeking the elusive promise of redemption.” —The Miami Herald“Charles D’Ambrosio works a rich, deep, dangerous seam in the brokenhearted rock of American Fiction. His characters live lives that burn as dark and radiant as the prose style that conjures them, like the blackness at the center of the candle’s flame. No one today writes better short stories than these.” —Michael Chabon“D’Ambrosio, who should be ranked up near Carver and Jones on the top tier of contemporary practitioners of the short story, manages to channel Carver’s deftly elliptical manner and Jones’ wounded machismo. Yet in this collection he marks out his own territory, using only the most steadfast and difficult of a writer’s tools–craft and character–and his own marvelously skewed lens.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review
“The stories that make up The Dead Fish Museum are lithe masterpieces of emotional chiaroscuro.” —Elle“Impossible to put down. D’Ambrosio’s prose is fluid, even insinuating. Sentence leads on to sentence with a momentum that mimics the twisted logic of madness, the small steps and sudden turns that lead people from well-lit streets and into dark alleys.” —The Seattle Times“Every other sentence is a masterpiece. Not a museum—type masterpiece, to be admired but not touched, to be treasured but not explored, but one you could find on a nature trail, created by the author but guided by the hand of God. . . . A reader will gain something rare after reading this book: a sense of wonder at the resilience of a human soul.” —Bloomsbury Review
D'Ambrosio is a masterful author and the reader will find it hard to come away from this collection without exemplars of fine writing. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Davey Jones
One of the great American short story writers of our time. The guy is a legend and for good reason.Published 16 months ago by The Caster Kid
I learned about Charles D'Ambrosio at The Ripe Fruit School of Creative Writing in San Francisco. We read Up North, a story published by the king of short story publishing, The... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Thomas H. Adams
Read this amazing collection. Nothing more to say, except maybe: start with "Drummond & Sons," an unexpected look at how to love someone who is not the person you wanted or... Read morePublished 24 months ago by Dale Eastman
Charles D'Ambrosio, The Dead Fish Museum (Knopf, 2006)
The people who inhabit Charles D'Ambrosio's stories (which I can't yet figure out is they're interconnected or... Read more
Charles D'Ambrosio's collection will not disappoint. I have been a fan since reading his collection "The Point" in the 90s, one of my all-time favorites. Read morePublished on December 24, 2008 by J. Spear
A voice of his own, deeply melancholy but capable of setting up characters in intriguing situations with deeply felt human conflicts. Not as funny as Boyle, but who is?Published on November 11, 2008 by Richard Delman
From beginning to end this collection of stories was funny, moving, and soulful, especially the stories: "The Screenwriter" and "The Bone Game", which were so strange yet loving... Read morePublished on May 6, 2008 by Archer C.