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Interstate: A Novel Paperback – Bargain Price, January 31, 1997


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HOLT, HENRY * & CO (January 31, 1997)
  • ISBN-10: 0805050280
  • ASIN: B000C4T1YA
  • Product Dimensions: 12.3 x 8.2 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,477,363 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Dixon's 1991 novel, Frog, earned him NBA and PEN/Faulkner nominations. His latest, Interstate, is equally distinctive and imaginative in portraying human peculiarities and the search for order in the seemingly irrational and meaningless contemporary American universe. The novel brilliantly explores the alterations of memory, trauma and guilt in parents whose children have been casualties of violence. Like all of Dixon's work, it is a demanding read; the edgy, insistent, run-on dialogue, in particular, requires focused attention. The story is told eight times. While the inciting incident remains the same, with each retelling, new dimensions are added to or subtracted from the plot and characters. The question Dixon raises is what really haunts us: What would you do if the unthinkable happened? The critical event is this: a father is driving home on the highway with his little girls in the back seat; some men in a minivan drive up alongside and shoot through the window, killing one of the girls. In offering different scenarios from this point on, Dixon challenges the reader to leap imaginatively into the experience. One father risks his marriage, his relationship with his remaining child and his freedom to find the killer. Another makes his dead child's memory into a religion, praying the hospital will tell him "she's saved," although he knows she's dead. With each variation Dixon implicitly asks: How can you be sure the incident happened the way you remember, or the way you've been told? Reading Interstate is like being a passenger in a car speeding along the highway of the mind, swerving in and out of what is real and imagined, on the edge of losing control yet not losing it, because the driver knows what he's doing. With characteristic directness, Dixon's crisis-mode narrative runs together in one seemingly jumbled, breathless rush, with evocative thoughts causing memories to surface not just in the minds of the narrators but in the reader's mind as well. Jarringly perceptive and darkly compelling, this novel will confirm Dixon as a writer of stature. Author tour.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Now here's a novel idea: a work in which each of eight chapters consists entirely of a single long paragraph. But there's a method to Dixon's seeming stylistic madness, and this follow-up to his acclaimed Frog (a finalist for both the National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner award; reviewed in LJ 1/92) is in fact a case of form following function. The eight narratives are alternative replays of a terrible, defining moment that transpires in the book's opening pages: an act of random violence in which a man and his two daughters are shot at by punks in a passing van, and one of the girls is killed. Dixon's dense, plain-spoken prose perfectly mirrors the chaotic workings of a mind riddled with rage and guilt, where every thought and utterance is second-guessed. A timely, disturbing work that belongs in every fiction collection.
-?David Sowd, formerly with Stark Cty. District Lib. Canton, Ohio
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Stephen Dixon is the author of twenty-seven works of fiction including, most recently, Phone Rings and Old Friends (both published by Melville House). His novels Interstate and Frog were both finalists for the National Book Award. Frog was also a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award. His work has received the O. Henry Award, the Best American Short Stories award, the Pushcart Prize, The American Academy Institute of Arts and Letters Prize for Fiction, and he has been a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Chiang Hai Tat on May 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
dixon is a one-in-a-kind writer. a friend pointed out to me: he's either doing something radical or just doing something no other writer wants to do. so love him or hate him, he's the type who doesn't give a damn. this book, like most of his other novels, could be quite torturous to read, but the reader will find it rewarding upon finish reading it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By T. Sims on September 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
Dixon's INTERSTATE is an intersting read...a novel that held my interest even though I didn't think it could. Confusing at first, but soon finds it's own rhythm, and begins to work on a complete unique path of logic. The first work of Dixon's I've read, I will probably attempt to read the masive FROG, based on the weird strength and twisted characterization found in INTERSTATE.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tom Sanchez on July 24, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
(nb: I received a review copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley)

Stephen Dixon's "Interstate" takes eight different passes at the same story, and each of them is remarkable in its own vision.

Imagine you're a father, driving home with your two young daughters after a long weekend in New York City. Somewhere on a desolate stretch of Interstate, a car pulls alongside you, and the passenger and driver seem intent on scaring you. They force you over to the rightmost lane. The passenger pulls out a gun and waves it at you. You yell to the backseat for your girls to get on the floor. The other car pulls ahead. Then the passenger fires. You stop and find your younger daughter has been wounded. Critically. How do you deal with this? How do you cope with the horrifying pain that's to come?
And what if one tiny thing changed during the lead-up to that event?

"Interstate" is eight different vignettes relating to this story. Each captures a moment on the timeline on this horrible day. Nathan and Lee are married, with two lovely daughters, Margo and Julie. The family has spent three days at Lee's parents' NYC apartment, and Nathan has to drive the girls home for school; Lee wants to stay a couple more days.

On the ride home, the tragic shooting occurs. We catch Nathan and Margo at different points on the timeline in relation to the crime, from a stream-of-consciousness real-time account, to events leading up to the event, to the horrific immediate aftermath--the i-dotting and t-crossing, if you will.

Other chapters show what might have happened if the proverbial butterfly had flapped its wings another way, and the shooting were avoided. Would life continue happily? Questions arise as to just how happy the family's life is anyway.
Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Daniel J. Weber on August 2, 2009
Format: Paperback
I was recently asked to list 15 books that made an impact on
me. This is the one book most of my friends had never heard
of. After 20 years it still haunts. This is any parents nightmare,
but I think more importantly a genuine reflection on how the human
mind can handle/adjust/rewrite a personal tragedy on its worst level.
I think one of the unusual pleasures is that I picked this book up
not knowing the captivating structure, so if possible I would advise
anyone buying this to just dive right in without reading
any more reviews. Truly an undiscovered gem that has only gotten
more powerful and relevant over time.
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