Saturday, August 14, 2010

Table of Contents: The Spot

The Spot: StoriesAuthor: David Means
Publisher/Year: Faber & Faber, 2010
Synopsis: The Spot is an old blacksmith shed in which three men tweeze apart the intricacies of a botched bank robbery. The Spot is a park on the Hudson River, where two lovers sense their affair is about to come to an end. The Spot is at the bottom of Niagara Falls, where the body of a young girl floats as if caught in the currents of her own tragic story. The Spot is in the ear of a Manhattan madman plagued by a noisy upstairs neighbor. The Spot is a suburban hospital room in which a young father confronts his son’s potentially devastating diagnosis. The Spot is a dusty encampment in Nebraska where a gang of inept radicals plot a revolution. The Spot draws thirteen new stories together into a masterful collection that shows David Means at his finest: at once comically detached and wrenchingly affecting, expansive and concise, wildly inventive and firmly rooted in tradition.

What Others Have To Say

The New York Times
"Rather than moving in linear time, the narration pirouettes again and again around that one point. Reading his work, we feel that whatever has occurred cannot be undone or bargained away..."

The L.A. Times
"For Means, part of the intent is to map this divide between illusion and reality, between how we see ourselves and who we are."

Book Slut
"Means wills incredible dynamicism out of the characters he has forced into depressed scenarios. For however many dead-ends and deaths fill The Spot, there’s a charm and lightness in the stories -- though those aspects often emerge at tragicomic moments."

The A.V. Club
"...Means doesn’t waste a word. There isn’t enough room. His awareness of that small space necessitates a density that novelists are free to ignore. And the brilliance of these tight tales is that they’re somehow about that too—a story’s obligation to repeatedly hold up to a reader’s scrutiny."

New Yorker Interview

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