"A magnificent black carnival of discord and delusion....For some accomplished novelists--and Ferris is one of the best of our day--short stories are mere doodles, warm ups or warm downs, slight variations on themes better addressed at length. Not so for Ferris. Dynamic with speed, yet rich with novelistic density, his stories make The Dinner Party a full-fledged feast."―Will Blythe, New York Times Book Review
"Plenty of novels, memoirs and cultural studies have explored the end of men or the failings of masculinity. But Ferris, a darkly comic writer who feels like the novelist equivalent of the filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen, has managed to write a series of stories on the subject that feels fresh. His male characters mess up, in small and spectacular fashion, but their misdeeds often prompt our sympathy, thanks to Ferris's insightful narration."―Ian Shapira, Washington Post
"Ferris finesses the line between tragedy and comedy, and his sly wit often surfaces in sarcastic, offbeat ways...The Dinner Party provides a fine showcase for his work."―Heller McAlpin, NPR.org
"Ferris is an incisive observer, and his descriptions of even the most quotidian situations are elegant and fresh."
―Eliot Schrefer, USA Today
"Everything comes mordantly alive in the priceless imagination of Ferris....His perverse short narratives do not disappoint."―Janet Maslin, New York Times
"Observational and piercing, Ferris's short stories expose how fraught and emotionally explosive the search for connection with other human beings can be."―Angela Ledgerwood, Esquire
"The Dinner Party is a collection of stories about quiet, domestic chaos... I love it. The titular story finds a couple awaiting the arrival of dinner guests who never materialize.... equal parts Cheever and Carver....a strong set of stories about infidelity, jealousy, and neurotic insecurity."―Kevin Nguyen, GQ
"This collection hits the sweet spot between character realism and existentially wry musings on modern life... In the past, Mr. Ferris has drawn favorable comparisons with Jonathan Franzen, but this collection shows Mr. Ferris as the funnier of the two. None of Mr. Franzen's novels has been as light or enjoyable to read."
―Nathan Pensky, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"[Ferris] isn't merely a master of description, but he's got a way of telling us everything we need to know about a character with just a few spare words."―Moira Macdonald, Seattle Times
"Ferris's three novels have earned him a reputation as a high-concept high-wire artist, always working the line between comedy and tragedy, the domestic and the outlandish. His stories, by comparison, are compact gems of timing and everyday absurdity, and finally, here they are in one place. Hollywood satire, marriage-ending secrets, cracked minds, broken families: Ferris renders contemporary life as a parade of sad clowns."
―New York Magazine
"A collection that show[s] humanity at its most awkward and insightful."
―New York Observer
"Ferris has a sure hand when it comes to the nuances of interpersonal relationships. He knows the thin line between awkward and easy, and when silence between two people can be a sign of strain or comfort. Ferris walks this territory so well that we often see our own complicated selves reflected in his writing... Though Ferris' assured collection may seem laced with hints of despair, the stories are full and rounded, sad but often also tinged with humor and rich in empathy."
"Ferris has mastered a kind of fictional sucker punch, and he'll get you every time."
"[These stories] explore the fraying psychologies of their protagonists by way of dark humor and understated tragedy. In the excellent, surreal title story, the fissures in a childless couple's marriage become unbridgeable divides after their close friends fail to attend a dinner party... contain moments of sharp levity and intense insight...[Ferris is an] immense talent."
"Ferris invites you to make a meal out of his mordant tales about life's quicksilver changes."
―Sloane Crosley, Vanity Fair
"This season's standout short-story collections are masterful exercises in brevity, proving that sometimes less really is more.... Novelist Joshua Ferris returns with his first, highly anticipated story collection. Each entry showcases his customary wit and understanding."
―Thomas Gebremedhin, Wall Street Journal Magazine
"Throughout these 11 stories, the range of settings and characters makes for a recurring sense of surprise...Reading a collection of short stories by an emerging master of the form is one of the great literary pleasures, especially when the writer treats them as a set of variations on a powerful theme. A steady ground bass pulses through all of Ferris' narratives: the fatefulness of our lives, the uncanny and often hilarious ways in which our fragile hearts and massive egos determine our destinies."
―Michael Alec Rose, BookPage
"The collection pulls together stories that promise the, 'deeply felt yearnings, heartbreaking absurdity, and redemptive humor of life,' for which Ferris is so well known."
"The title story, a remarkable, John Cheever-esque tale, shows a couple preparing dinner for their friends ....[These stories] widen Ferris' range and prove stunning feats of compassion, such as "The Valetudinarian," which follows an early retiree and widower as he blunders with a prostitute. He collapses, and when his neighbor steps in to help, she is "struck dumb by his perfect helplessness." It's Ferris' great gift, and, indeed, readers will surely be struck dumb with empathy for these memorable cranks and depressives."
―Josh Cook, Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Displays his gift for dark humor."
―Michael Schaub, A Best Book of May pick in Men's Journal
"Ferris's pitch is perfect. These moments of crisis and compassion, humanity and wit, are perfect episodes of some television series that doesn't need serialization to make you want to keep coming back for more. They aren't chapters, leading to some conclusion, they are moments, shading, changing, building lives."
―Greg Hudson, Sharp
"Exposes the true, and sometimes absurdly comic, wiles of men who flail through life in remarkably routine fashion."―The Fader
"Tales of divorce and marriages falling apart weave together a complex understanding of human emotion that surpasses the family drama settings and reminds us why Joshua Ferris is a talent to be reckoned with."
―Ilana Masad, Read it Forward, Favorite Reads of May 2017
"Joshua Ferris is the master of capturing the ennui of the modern world without getting bogged down by the details-even his most minute or quotidian observations carry with them the sweeping and even, sometimes, spiritual."
―Jaime Green, Google Play Summer Reading
"Ferris reveals himself as an heir to the work of John Cheever... The Dinner Party's lightning flashes of insight are yet further evidence of [Ferris's] talent."
―Harvey Freedenberg, Book Reporter
"[Ferris] brings wit and grace to the dark corners of human nature and shines a light into the beautiful complexity of ordinary lives."
―Noelle Phillips, Denver Post
"Compelling...Ferris' writing is dark, funny and cold."―Trine Tsouderos, Chicago Tribune