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After winning international acclaim with his first novel, the Man Booker-nominated Hystopia, David Means returns to the form that made his name in Instructions for a Funeral, a collection of fourteen masterful stories that run the gamut from the playful to the personal. ‘The Terminal Artist,’ originally published in Vice, skirts reportage in grappling with the revelation that the death of a hospitalized loved one was in fact a murder; ‘The Tree Line, Kansas, 1934,’ from the New Yorker, is a wry anatomy of the moments before an FBI raid goes spectacularly wrong; while ‘The Chair,’ from The Paris Review, gives us a clear-eyed look at fatherhood, with all its paradoxes, recriminations, and rewards gloriously intact.
Means’s work has earned him comparisons to Flannery O’Connor, Hemingway, Sherwood Anderson, Denis Johnson, Poe, Chekhov, and Carver – but his place in the American literary landscape is fully and originally his own.
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