The Dead Fish Museum

The Dead Fish Museum

Book - 2006
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"Each of these eight burnished, terrifying, masterfully crafted stories is set against a landscape that is both deeply American and unmistakably universal. A son confronts his father's madness and his own hunger for connection on a misguided hike in the Pacific Northwest. A screenwriter fights for his sanity in the bleak corridors of a Manhattan psych ward while lusting after a ballerina who sets herself ablaze. A Thanksgiving hunting trip in Northern Michigan becomes the scene of a haunting reckoning with marital infidelity and desperation. And in the magnificent title story, carpenters building sets for a porn movie drift dreamily beneath a surface of sexual tension toward a racial violence they will never fully comprehend. Taking place in remote cabins, asylums, Indian reservations, the backloads of Iowa and the streets of Seattle, this collection of stories, as muscular and challenging as the best novels, is about people who have been orphaned, who have lost connection, and who have exhausted the ability to generate meaning in their lives. Yet in the midst of lacerating difficulty, the sensibility at work in these fictions boldly insists on the enduring power of love."--Publisher's description.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2006
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9781400042869
1400042860
Branch Call Number: FICTION DAMBROSIO
Characteristics: 236 pages ; 22 cm

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santiano9
Apr 15, 2015

The storylines were interesting and well crafted, but just too depressing. A happy ending is not always required but some hope would be nice.

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lukasevansherman
Jan 23, 2015

I recently read erstwhile Northwesterner Charles D'Ambrosio's excellent collection of essays, "Loitering," and was quick to search out more of his writing. Published in 2006, his book of short stories, "The Dead Fish Museum," highlights the same tenderness, subtle wit, and insight of his essays. Sort of in the so-called "dirty realism" vein, there are echoes of Carver's tough minimalism, Hemingway's Nick Adams's stories of hunting and fishing, and the squalid grace of Johnson's "Jesus' Son." His characters, even if there are successful, like the protagonist of "Screenwriter," dwell on the margins, whether it be of society or their own grip on sanity. He deserves the attention that the vastly overrated George Saunders hogs.

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