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Excitable Women Damaged Men Paperback – September 15, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The judgment Boyers (Salmagundi editor-in-chief) passes on his characters in the title of his first collection carries throughout the nine distanced, detached stories about the personal dilemmas of a series of troubled New Yorkers. In "An Excitable Woman," a grown son details the "principled unloveliness" of his elderly mother, who tests her family's love and loyalty with temper tantrums. Boyers offers a more elegiac—and condescending—take on female bitterness in "The French Lesson," about a young woman who leaves New York for Paris in the 1970s, but after a "twenty-year-long French experiment" that produces two children and an ex-husband, she is "as disappointed in the one place as in the other." In "Tribunal," Steve, a promiscuous young money manager, is outmaneuvered by Shula, a tough, divorced Israeli woman. Boyers cleverly captures how not only Shula's games but the cultural divide (Steve suffers an inferiority complex as one of the "uncircumcised") tantalize the young man. A young editor weathers the marital "thrust and parry and cut and slash and tear" of poet Robert Lowell and his wife, Caroline, in the contrived story "The Visit." Boyers writes with considerable authority, but his consistent lack of affection for his characters cools the collection. (Oct.)
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Boyers’...published stories are marvels of intensity, in which brilliant, hilariously neurotic people, hide from themselves...clueless...how to live. -- William Kennedy

Rage in all its ugly glory takes center stage in this delectable debut collection…Boyers’s stories [are] exquisitely crafted, acutely observed. -- Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2005

Robert Boyers is a highly individual literary critic, usefully eclectic in his approaches, whether to contemporary novels…or poems. -- Harold Bloom

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 172 pages
  • Publisher: Turtle Point Press (September 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 188558640X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1885586407
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 3.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,418,724 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Robert Boyers, the well established literary critic and editor of SALMAGUNDI MAGAZINE, turns out to be a high voltage fiction writer who makes us laugh out loud even as he describes his wound-up, often suffering, characters and puts them through their paces. The title story is almost shocking in its painful details from the life of a less than perfect adult son and his neurotically repellant mother. The vitality of every line of Boyers' prose keeps us turning the pages of this stunning collection of stories and his characters --who are sometimes both excitable and damaged--are always worth our sympathy and attention.
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