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Paper Trails: True Stories of Confusion, Mindless Violence, and Forbidden Desires, a Surprising Number of Which Are Not About Marriage Hardcover – February 6, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
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[Dexter’s pieces] read like finely honed short stories....Their spare, haunting scenes echo Hemingway, their insights Faulkner. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
PAPER TRAILS is what great newspaper writing is all about. (Washington Post Book World)
“Pete Dexter is a master story teller in all forms... This is the work of a great American writer.” (Michael Connelly)
“A jewel box of muscular writing…” (Denver Post)
Superb...Remarkable...The simple clarity of [Dexter’s] prose is like an Edward Hopper painting. (New York Sun)
With authority and a strange grace, Dexter has crafted a powerful true portrait of the underbelly of the American Dream. (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“Lovers of fine writing ought to give a serious consideration to Pete Dexter’s new book.” (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
“Paper Trails is a master class in tight, effective writing.” (St. Petersburg Times)
“The author’s true eye for detail makes for easy reading.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Laugh-out-loud stories…Ideal for... writers and any book lover who appreciates a good story.” (Library Journal)
“Compact and illuminating…” (Sunday Oregonian)
“Paper Trails will stir nostalgia for those who remember a time when newspapers prided themselves on cutting loose, colorful writers…” (Columbus Dispatch)
“A book full of good reading…” (Rocky Mountain News)
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
In the great tradition of writers like Jimmy Breslin, Mr Dexter writes with a keen eye, sardonic wit, and a gift for detail and opinion in rough-edged, highly-descriptive, and presumptive prose. The stories keep coming, letting the reader sometimes read between the lines and fill in missing details: here's how he describes how he rushed from Florida to Philadelphia in mid-winter to accept a much-needed new job: "I arrived three days later with one pair of boots, no coat, running as close to empty as I've ever been", a whale of a winter image in 21 words. You fill in the rest; unshaven, dirty laundry in the back seat? The book is loaded with these.
The specific stories are varied: a salute to a TV newsman murdered on his knees in a foreign country (no, not that newsman and not that country!), the escapades of two friends nicknamed Low Gear and Minus (no kidding!), a mother cat in a dangerous world, a beer throwing contest (seriously!Read more ›
(And best of luck to Mrs. Dexter.)
It's a page flipper and difficult to put down.
The book is a collection of eighty-two of his well-received journalistic efforts. The essays are from newspapers and magazines that are astute enough to realize there are many readers who are tired of droning news items and who welcome some clever, diverse observations and musings. Dexter has handled that craving for decades.
Most of the entries are short. There are some towards the end of the book that tend to be wordy. I’m not sure where they came from. But, for the most part, the entries are concise and easily ingested. Most of them also contain irreverent remarks and humor that skewer conventional thinking, politics, bigwigs, and even Mrs. Dexter, his often put-upon and remarkably understanding wife. I love Mrs. Dexter.
Dexter calls the book “true stories of confusion, mindless violence, and forbidden desires, a surprising number of which are not about marriage.” There are so many of these true stories here that I hesitate to pick out my favorites. So I’ll just mention a few. There’s one where Mrs. Dexter catches Pete making love to his pillow. And another where Pete stuffs a raw egg down Mrs. Dexter’s pants to demonstrate a chicken’s egg factory process to a grandchild. There are several about inscrutable cats, insufferable editors, the never-ending search for girls, southern low-lifes, drinking adult refreshment, and juvenile pranks, most of which he instigated.
He gets a little more serious as he discusses inane lawyers, civil rights, down-on-their luck folks, and mindless violence, but his views on all these popular subjects mesh very well with mine.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's my misfortune that I only knew Pete Dexter as a superb novelist; it's my great luck to have found this collection of his even greater talent as a journalist.Published 25 days ago by Amazon Customer
This is a true American gem. It's an easy read because the stories are short. But, every story is insightful, compelling, and worthwhile. Love this book.Published 5 months ago by Anonymous
Very good columns--thoughtful, incisive...enjoyed very muchPublished 9 months ago by Thomas Peacock
Working in the Southern New Jersey /Philadelphia area in the late 70's/early 80's ,discovering a columnist like Dexter in the Philadelphia Daily News made day-to-day life w/o the... Read morePublished 9 months ago by BDavidMc
Dexter's stories range from slice of life rural to gritty city experiences. His description of characters and settings is unbelievable. Brings me back to Philly in the 80s. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Michael p. Morley
These aren't quite essays, not quite short stories, but something very special in between. Dexter is able to take a good hard look at the stories around us and see the noble... Read morePublished 11 months ago by J. Tierney
I love it! The book is easy to read and has interesting stories. Dexter is a very good writer. Read the book!!Published 12 months ago by peaceandlove
Enjoyed the fact that you could hope from one thought story WTO another without being displaced.Shows how unpretentious the author is. And, what style he's writing for.Published 19 months ago by TROYWD22