Cover image for Guess again : short stories
Guess again : short stories
Cooper, Bernard, 1951-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster, [2000]

Physical Description:
208 pages ; 23 cm
Night sky -- Intro to acting -- What to name the baby -- X -- Bit-O-Honey -- Hunters and gatherers -- A man in the making -- Exterior decoration -- Graphology -- Between the sheets -- Old birds.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



From the O. Henry Prize and PEN/ Hemingway Award-winning author of "Truth Serum" and "Maps to Anywhere" comes a masterful, exquisitely crafted collection of short stories.

Bernard Cooper's fiction probes some of the most perplexing experiences of modern American life: the unpredictable nature of love, the riddle of sexuality, the intricacies of family relationships, and coping with loss in the age of AIDS. With his razor-sharp wit and unsparing honesty, Cooper peels back layers of the familiar, exposing the surprising truths that shape our lives.

In "Bit-O-Honey, " a middle-aged barber visits his estranged father on Halloween, disguised as a trick-or-treater; a young pregnant woman in "What to Name the Baby" negotiates life with her father and his elderly lover while traveling in a cramped Winnebago; and in "Hunters and Gatherers, " a Mormon couple orchestrates a misguided party game while hosting a dinner for the few homosexuals they know.

Whether Cooper is writing about a dying man's acts of vandalism, a divorce under house arrest, or a young boy's sexual awakening, his stories contain startling insight into the workings

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

This respected essayist's (Maps to Anywhere) fiction debut contains 11 exquisitely crafted stories, most previously published in such prestigious literary journals as Ploughshares, the Paris Review and the North American Review. Although many of the central characters are gay, the themes presented here are universal: love, loss, sexuality and aging parents, with the occasional specter of AIDS hovering on the periphery. Cooper handles all with compassion and bittersweet humor. In "Hunters and Gatherers," a Mormon husband and his wife attempt to reconcile his bisexuality with their faith by holding a bizarre dinner party for the few gay people they know. "What to Name the Baby" finds Laura, young and unmarried, unexpectedly giving birth while traveling in a cramped Winnebago with her father, Frank, and his gay lover. One year later, Frank keeps a promise to show the baby the redwoods, but "huddled in the midst of a green indifference," the baby is more interested in the loved ones gathered about her than the magnificent trees. In the opening story, "Night Sky," a man dying of AIDS visits his ex-wife, who is under house arrest for vandalizing her new ex-husband's property. At the end, they forgo their problems of the present for the larger picture: "But for now we lay back on a stranger's lawn, pointing to what we guessed were red dwarfs, stars formed long before the earth, their matter decaying so slowly it defies all measure of time." Cooper's love for his characters is evident in their self-deprecating humor and the poetic imagery of his writing. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

An award-winning author (O. Henry Prize, PEN/Hemingway Award), Cooper presents us with a delightful collection of stories showcasing many of life's rites of passage. From first childhood crush, to burgeoning teen sexuality, to early twenties and beyond, this collection makes life's gains and losses starkly real. The theme of loss and/or betrayal by one's spouse is raised several times. In one, after the death of her husband, Libby discovers a detailed list of men in his papers. She then must face the loss of the man she thought she knew as well as the actual physical loss. In another, Ray deals with the mental deterioration of his partner, Cliff, long before Cliff dies, looking for the occasional glimpses of the man he fell in love with. While many of the stories are about loss, they are all about growth. A superior collection.DT.R. Salvadori, Margaret E. Heggan Free P.L., Hurffville, NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.