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Trouble: Stories Paperback – September 12, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
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“Trouble is a wittily demented and off-beat collection of stories about the peculiar joys and perversions of the ordinary lives of an eclectic group of boys and men. . . . Wildly entertaining and remarkably funny. . . . Reminiscent of such great, dark storytellers as T.C. Boyle and even Ray Carver.” —Artvoice
“Trouble is a great collection of stories, full of the true adventures of life and what it means to be a man.” —Hannah Tinti, author of Animal Crackers
“These gorgeous stories, written with wit and precision, are energized by Patrick Somerville’s improvisational humor and the authentic sympathy he brings to the tempest of ordinary lives. It is hard to think of another book quite like this one. Every story is provocative, revelatory, and satisfying.” —Stephanie Vaughn, author of Sweet Talk
“Wonderful. Here are stories packed with big-hearted humor, serious compassion, and plenty of loopy narrative thrust to keep you turning the pages. Patrick Somerville’s characters exist in a modern world where love and cruelty are indistinguishable, and he imbues their struggle with real grace. Oddly tender, dementedly funny, this book is a pleasure to read.” —Gabe Hudson, author of Dear Mr. President
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Top Customer Reviews
"The essence of trouble," Somerville has written, "is the connection of the emotional and the rational. You make decisions you would not make under normal circumstances." He is especially good at depicting young people, and his story "English Cousin" will have you crying in laughing fits at the dumb and dumber antics of exchange student Bill and his American cousin Terry. If there was an English Anti-Defamation League they'd be planting pickets around Somerville's house and office. As I say he's great with the young, it's when he ventures into the minds and hearts of older men that he's out of his depth. It must be the hardest thing being a fiction writer, having to recreate the inner life of people who are so different than you--men writing women, white writing black, rich people writing poor, whatever.Read more ›
I've come to understand that reading is a kind of treasure hunt where the gold is the human condition laid bare, not in a cruel or cynical way, but with humor and compassion. This is what Mr. Somerville's writing is. I have not enjoyed a collection of stories so much since Vonnegut.
I am very excited to have discovered this wonderful author. I look forward to reading Cradle.
Somerville achieves great versatility in this book as his topics range from the all-encompassing vulnerability of puberty in 'Puberty,' to the fantastically funny look at the pros and cons of possessing the "deathblow" technique within the corporate snackfood world in 'Trouble and the Shadowy Deathblow.' Then from the heartbraking decline of a once-great cousin amidst tragedy in 'Black Earth, Early Winter Morning,' and a middle-aged widower's unraveling despite the sexual comfort of a runaway teenage girl in 'The Cold War,' to a sweet eulogy of sorts by a young man reflecting on his deceased dentist in 'So Long, Anyway.'
But perhaps the greatest aspect of the stories in 'Trouble,' is Somerville's ability to finish a story satisfactorily. His stories have endings, endings visible enough to touch. Illuminating endings without pretentiousness, that reinforce and reward the reader for reading the story all the way through. Endings that make the reader feel as though they've done something, or learned something, vaguely important just by reading Somerville's stories.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is my favorite of Mr. Somerville's works and his earliest short story collection. It reveals wisdom seldom seen in such a young author. Read morePublished on April 28, 2013 by Steve1290
Darkly funny and filled with characters I couldn't get enough of. A fantastic collection for anyone that likes short fiction. Reminds me a little of Steve Almond.Published on December 19, 2012 by Elliot
I loved the variety of stories here--the middle-aged melancholy of "The Cold War", the kookiness of the title story, along with how well Somerville depicts the awkward nature of... Read morePublished on October 11, 2009 by Zachary Cole