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Eating Naked: Stories Paperback – July 6, 2001
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The first few stories I read in Stephen Dobyns', Eating Naked, I was really impressed. The stories flowed nicely, the characters were interesting, and the stories made you think.
Then, I realized, Dobyns has a fascination on marriages and/or relationships that are falling apart, cheating, and dreams of murdering a loved one (or used to be loved one). Having one or two or even three stories like this in a collection is fine, but having almost all of them repeating the same pattern, with just the characters and circumstances changing all the time, gets slightly tiring. I even had to check the author's bio to see if it said whether he was married or not because his characters seem so bitter about their marriages (possibly a reflection on his life?).
I was most impressed with the last story in the collection, mostly because it strayed a bit away from the theme of marriage as a wreckage in life, and centered on younger people. While the theme of ruined relationships was still there, it was tucked away a bit more than the others.
All in all, I did enjoy Dobyns as a writer, and would like to read some of his longer fiction. If you can get past all the stories being somewhat similar in nature, then Eating Naked is a great find.