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The Roaring Girl

by Thomas Middleton And Thomas Dekker

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About Book

Erudite yet immediate, the dozen stories that make up this collection from Canadian writer Greg Hollingshead are set in the familiar urban and suburban worlds of everyday life. With a deceptively simple prose, a sharp ear for dialogue and the telling moments of existence, and a skewed sense of humor, Hollingshead peels back the surface to reveal the psychological terrors and injuries that inform his characters. The Roaring Girl, the author's first book to be published in the United States, was a bestseller in Canada, where it won the prestigious Governor General's Literary Award for fiction in 1995, putting him in the company of Canadian writers such as Michael Ondaatje and Margaret Atwood.

From Library Journal
The stories in Canadian writer Hollingshead's (Spin Dry, Mosaic, 1992) collection are all delightful, shimmering jewels whose easy, natural pacing; syncopated rhythm; quirkiness; and slightly absurdist qualities will make readers savor them immensely. Reading them is a little like sailing down a dangerous river on a tiny raft; suddenly, you find yourself in white water looking for refuge. In "The People of the Sudan," for instance, a couple who agree to transport a huge box intended for relief find out that they have accidentally stepped into an episode of The Twilight Zone. The hapless Alex, who has rented a cottage on a grand estate in "Rose Cottage," is thrown out into the cold when he tries to stop Nurse Cheam from physically abusing Lady Cooper, her charge and owner of the estate. But even when bad things happen to innocent folks, they have the uncanny ability to rise above it all with a homespun philosophy that is mercifully lacking in New Age mumbo-jumbo. Truly worth buying.?Lisa S. Nussbaum, Euclid P.L., Ohio
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

The New York Times Book Review, Christopher Atamian
Mr. Hollingshead's characters struggle valiantly to make sense of their lives, to raise their families and find some kind of transcendence. . . . The stories in The Roaring Girl are laden with . . . irony and resignation, but few surrender to despair.

From Booklist
With these bleakly funny short stories, Hollingshead enters John Cheever country and gives it a particularly nasty spin. For in lieu of Cheever's luminous, elegiac tales of suburban living, Hollingshead offers disjointed conversations and strange imagery. Two upscale couples sip martinis and make brutal small talk ("People only have to be themselves to be monsters"); a good-hearted woman is set upon by a couple of sleazy fund-raisers for the Christian Relief Fund, who mistakenly show her their kinky vacation photos instead of slides of the starving people of the Sudan; and two childhood friends reconnect over a long evening soaked in booze and desperation. These are adept, beautifully crafted stories with precious little heart, yet they are compulsively readable. Winner of Canada's Governor General's Award and a best-seller there, The Roaring Girl provides ample evidence of the author's large talent and unsettling vision. Joanne Wilkinson

From Kirkus Reviews
A welcome arrival from Canada, Hollingshead (in his first US publication) points out a new direction to readers tired of the nihilistic banalities of postmodernism. Immediately striking about Hollingshead (author of three story collections and a novel in Canada) is the gravity of his voice, which is authorial and strong even in its comic mode. The narration is unambiguous and sharp throughout this collection, even when the narrator--as is often the case--hasn't the first clue as to what's really going on around him. Thus, the homeowner protagonist of ``The Side of the Elements'' who sublets his house for a year and returns to find strangers holding a wake in his living room, can manage to be poised and philosophical in the midst of his confusion. The writer-in-residence of ``Rose Cottage'' is even more unflappable: After trying to come to the aid of a wealthy elderly lady whom he suspects of being beaten by her nurse, he finds himself passively succumbing to the advances of her middle-aged son. There is a tendency toward bizarre revelations among many of Hollingshead's characters. The real estate man of ``The Appraisal'' who comes to look at a house, take pictures and check the plumbing, talks like a character out of the Book of Revelations (``Maybe last year you could get more. Now nothing is selling. The West has entered a long economic as well as moral decline''). And the sleazy landlord of ``How Happy They Were,'' who guts his buildings, exploits his tenants, and blithely steals an exchange student's girlfriend, turns out to be a member of an exotic cult. Wild, weird, and wonderful: Hollingshead has perfectly fitted his voice to his subject and crafted these tales with astonishing skill. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Book Description
From ?an eerily original, powerfully moving distinctive voice? (Time Out) comes a collection of funny, disturbing suburban tales that invite comparisons to Raymond Carver and Flannery O?Connor. Winner of Canada?s Governor-General?s Literary Award.



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