Sweet Nothing

Sweet Nothing

Stories

Book - 2015
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"Set on the dark side of Los Angeles, the masterful new collection from an award-winning and highly praised "natural-born storyteller" (Ron Rash). In these gripping and intense stories, Richard Lange returns to the form that first landed him on the literary map. These are edge-of-your-seat tales: A prison guard must protect an inmate being tried for heinous crimes. A father and son set out to rescue a young couple trapped during a wildfire. An ex-con trying to make good as a security guard stumbles onto a burglary plot. A young father must submit to blackmail to protect the fragile life he's built. SWEET NOTHING is an unforgettable collection that shows once again why T.C. Boyle wrote, "Lange's stories combine the truth-telling and immediacy of Raymond Carver with the casual hip of Denis Johnson. There is a potent artistic sensibility at work here" (on Dead Boys)"-- Provided by publisher.
"In these gripping and intense stories, Richard Lange returns to the form that first landed him on the literary map. These are edge-of-your-seat tales: A prison guard must protect an inmate being tried for heinous crimes. A father and son set out to rescue a young couple trapped during a wildfire. An ex-con trying to make good as a security guard stumbles onto a burglary plot. A young father must submit to blackmail to protect the fragile life he's built. SWEET NOTHING is an unforgettable collection that shows once again why T.C. Boyle wrote, "Lange's stories combine the truth-telling and immediacy of Raymond Carver with the casual hip of Denis Johnson. There is a potent artistic sensibility at work here" (on Dead Boys)"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Mulholland Books/Little, Brown and Company, 2015
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780316327541
0316327549
Branch Call Number: FICTION LANGE 2015
Characteristics: 259 pages ; 22 cm
Additional Contributors: Lange, Richard 1961- Must come down

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gendeg
Feb 27, 2015

Sweet Nothings is a fantastic distillation of L.A. in all its cultural shorthand. Lange has a wonderful ear for L.A.’s special brand of urban vernacular, especially the thought patterns of its denizens—a motley cast of characters from an ex-con security guard and a recovering drug addict, to a grandmother who witnessed a drive-by shooting and a prison guard. The settings are mostly in L.A. but not all; there are a few stories scattered in the surrounding desert (“To Ashes”) or in a different time (“The Wolf of Bordeaux”).

Lange drew me in—drew me in hard—with this short story collection. There’s something daring about Lange’s unfussy portrayals, too. You won’t find gimmicks or tricks here, just real storytelling. Real writing. Lange sounds like he’s writing from the gutter, from the ground littered with bullet casings and cigarette butts; he writes like he’s been there. So many authors strain to be gritty in order to be edgy in their narrative style, to affect a certain tone and voice, but you can always see the fakery; the words and stories feel too cosseted, seem too much like a facade. Sweet Nothings is old-fashioned and honest, but not safe—it's far from safe. Lange writes with precision, and he writes with a tenderness for his characters but also with a fury, too, that feels authentic. There's a veracity there that feels almost Frontline.

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