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Fb2 The Evil B.B. Chow and Other Stories ePub

by Steve Almond

Category: Short Stories and Anthologies
Subcategory: Fiction
Author: Steve Almond
ISBN: 1565125290
ISBN13: 978-1565125292
Language: English
Publisher: Algonquin Books (April 28, 2006)
Pages: 248
Fb2 eBook: 1775 kb
ePub eBook: 1423 kb
Digital formats: lit mbr mobi txt

Steve Almond, the man whose candy jones fueled the bestseller Candyfreak, returns with a collection . The cast of characters in The Evil .

Steve Almond, the man whose candy jones fueled the bestseller Candyfreak, returns with a collection of stories that both seals his reputation as a master of the modern form and risks getting him arrested. Chow and Other Stories includes a wealthy family certain they have been abducted by space aliens.

Steve Almond, the man whose candy jones fueled the bestseller . The other 11 stories in this book are really engaging and funny, too. and risks getting him arrested.

Steve Almond's obsession to satisfy his sweet tooth fueled the intelligence and humor of 2004's "Candyfreak. It's not surprising, then, that the characters inhabiting the dozen stories in "The Evil . Chow" are "freaks," though of a less carb-addicted variety. Instead of chasing after elusive GooGoo Clusters and Owyhee Butter Toffees, "Chow"'s characters attempt to capture and retain love, redemption, and acceptance.

Steve Almond, the man whose candy jones fueled the bestseller Candyfreak, returns with a collection of stories that both seals his reputation as a master .

Steve Almond (born October 27, 1966) is an American short-story writer, essayist and author of ten books, three of which are self-published. Almond was raised in Palo Alto, California, graduated from Henry M. Gunn High School and received his undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University. He spent seven years as a newspaper reporter, mostly in El Paso and at the Miami New Times. Almond lives in Arlington, Massachusetts with his wife and three children.

Steve Almond, the man whose candy jones fueled the bestseller Candyfreak, returns with a collection .

Chow & Other Stories. Steve Almond, the man whose candy jones fueled the bestseller Candyfreak, returns with a collection of stories that both seals his reputation as a master of the modern form and risks getting him arrested

Chow & Other Stories. Steve Almond, the man whose candy jones fueled the bestseller Candyfreak, returns with a collection of stories that both seals his reputation as a master of the modern form and risks getting him arrested.

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Steve Almond, the man whose candy jones fueled the bestseller Candyfreak, returns with a collection of stories that both seals his reputation as a master of the modern form and risks getting him arrested. The cast of characters in The Evil B.B. Chow and Other Stories includes a wealthy family certain they have been abducted by space aliens, a sexy magazine editor who falls for a worldclass cad, and a beleaguered dentist who refuses to read his best friend's novel. Michael Jackson and Abraham Lincoln make cameos, as do a variety of desperate and beautiful loonies, all of whom are laid bare, often literally. In these twelve stories, Almond refuses to let his characters off the hook, or to abandon them, until we have seen the full measure of ourselves within their struggle.
Comments to eBook The Evil B.B. Chow and Other Stories
Cointrius
Steve Almond's obsession to satisfy his sweet tooth fueled the intelligence and humor of 2004's "Candyfreak." It's not surprising, then, that the characters inhabiting the dozen stories in "The Evil B.B. Chow" are "freaks," though of a less carb-addicted variety. Instead of chasing after elusive GooGoo Clusters and Owyhee Butter Toffees, "Chow"'s characters attempt to capture and retain love, redemption, and acceptance. Almond's humanity and empathy -- not to mention his sharp, elegant prose (the final paragraph of the title story could've been cribbed from Fitzgerald); his steady pacing; his handling of occasionally shocking (but never gratuitous) sexual material; and his ability to orchestrate surprising-yet-inevitable character reversals -- make this collection sweeter than "Candyfreak" and weightier than his first story collection, "My Life in Heavy Metal."

Razor-sharp humor balances the book's recurrent failed relationships, deaths, feelings of loneliness and acts of deceit, but Almond's more interested in epiphanies and ambiguity than cheap yucks. Plus, Almond demonstrates that the best humor stems from loss, which means that if we're laughing along with Maureen and Marco (from the title story) over the epithets she's assigned her exes -- "Behind the Music" Man, The Incredible Rowing Man, The Sperminator -- our tone is slightly shameful and nervous because we've all labeled our failures similarly, or, worse, we wonder how we've been labeled.

Ultimately, though, Almond's stories have more to do with the ripple effect of isolated moments than with reductionist labels. In one of the collection's more powerful stories, "I Am As I Am," a single swing of a bat at a pick-up baseball game shows how fate and circumstance can shatter a boy's preconceived notions about security, permanence, community, and self. In "The Problem of Human Consumption," a widower and his daughter simultaneously and silently remember a day with the deceased wife/mother, but from very different perspectives. This memory at once explains the father & daughter's distance and their unspoken connection. "Human Consumption" also contains one of the book's many thematically resonant passages:

"These are the mysteries that consume [Paul] as he sits on his daughter's bed with his hands in his lap. They [the mysteries] matter as much as any of the others, the fact that people die for no good reason, that they choose to hate when love becomes unbearable, that a certain part of them, starved of happiness, gives up, shuts down, goes into hiding."

Where there's hiding there's seeking, and plenty of stories are about seeking for things lost long ago -- usually blind love or blissful naiveté. (In Almond's world the two are synonymous.) Though he keeps intrusions to a minimum, a narrator will occasionally note characters caught in a significant moment as it's happening, flash forward and then note both how the characters interpret the present moment from the future and how the moment impacted the arc of their life. This device is a huge risk because it flirts with one of fiction's deadly sins -- sentimentality. In this regard, Almond is like a trapezist who thrills his audience with feats of ever-increasing danger without ever falling, and this is what makes him an artist of distinction rather than just another talent. A line from "Summer, As in Love" shows that risk is where it's at: "...without risk there [is] no danger and...every story, in the end, is about danger."

Equally impressive is Almond's avoidance of contemporary lit's favorite safety net -- irony -- a pose often used by writers too clever for direct emotion and too distrustful of their audience's ability to distinguish sincerity from schmaltz. "The Idea of Michael Jackson's Dick," a story that takes place on the porch of a house in a "neat little southern city, where [three professors had] come to cash in on the emerging field of Cultural Studies," begs for a little ironic nudging and winking. Putting aside how easy it is to goof on MJ, the blend of tabloid rhetoric ("'He's got a dick...I've seen photos'"), factual errors ("Jackson [was]...beyond traditional categories of truth") and academese ("'Michael Jackson has become dependent on his own mortification...what's known as the Fame-Flagellation Nexus'") might lead you to believe that Almond's commenting on how Ph. D's turn their fetishes into careers. Instead, it's a heartbreaking exploration of the fragility of childhood, of how lost innocence can poison adulthood.

Almond provides the necessary details to create a solid impression in your mind, but leaves enough details out so you're forced to invest parts of yourself. Even after closing the book you'll find yourself dis- and reassembling the stories' pieces again and again, constantly revising your own final version. If this isn't the mark of a great book I don't know what is.
Talrajas
I'm normally not a big fan of short stories. I buy anthologies and feel lucky to find one story that doesn't bore me to tears.

So I guess I wasn't too disappointed when I attended a writing conference in New York to find that "The Evil B.B. Chow and Other Stories" had sold out and all that was left was "Candyfreak." It's hard to be bored by candy.

But I enjoyed reading "Candyfreak," so I tracked down a few of Steve Almond's stories online. Well, OK, several stories. None of which bored me, and a few of which I liked. I felt I owed it to him to buy his book(s).

My personal favorites here were "The Problem of Human Consumption" and "Summer, As In Love." Almond is at his best when writing about star-crossed and otherwise failed love affairs. These stories struck me as more romantic than the ones in his first collection, "My Life In Heavy Metal," which I suspect would have a greater appeal for young men (although I liked "Valentino").

On the lighter side, "The Soul Molecule" was also weirdly enchanting.

I have only a few niggling criticisms. The ending of the title story seemed too dramatic for the story. The main character in "I Am As I Am" seemed too adult in his viewpoint (which may have been intentional). And I won't even go into stallions versus soldering guns.

These were all petty in the scheme of things.

What I really didn't get was "Larsen's Novel." I mean, I (apparently) lead a more sheltered life than Larsen, but from the excerpts I guess his book was about as inspired as my own first endeavor. Is Almond hinting at something here? Like maybe this is why I can't sell my first novel? This is more truth than I'm prepared to handle in my current fragile state.
Nirn
A collection of stories that are funny and deep, surprising and inevitable. Almond's writing is full of heart. The stories will make you think about what it means to be human.
Kulwes
The collection of short stories are snappy enough to keep you turning the pages. Starting from the front of the book, the quality wanes as you go deeper. The other reviews go into greater detail about each story, so I won't repeat that here.

I picked up my copy for less than $3, so I'm not going to judge the book harshly. At that price, it was better entertainment than an in-flight movie or a magazine from the airport gift shop.
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