Cover image for Honeymoon and other stories
Honeymoon and other stories
Canty, Kevin.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, [2001]

Physical Description:
161 pages ; 25 cm
Tokyo, my love -- Aquarium -- Flipper -- Honeymoon -- Carolina beach -- Red dress -- Sleepwalkers holding hands -- Little Debbie --Scarecrow -- Little palaces -- Girlfriend hit by bus.
Format :


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Material Type
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X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Kevin Canty is a master of the short story, a writer whose work has been compared to that of Flannery O'Connor and Raymond Carver, but always with the understanding that Canty's is strikingly new, cool, and real. Now inHoneymoon,after two novels, Kevin Canty returns to short fiction, his first collection since his debutA Stranger in this World,a book that was hailed as "Superb: These tautly structured stories breathe with sharp, distilled intelligence." Honeymoonis a book about love, about lovers and would-be lovers exploring unlikely alliances, all of them toeing a certain eventful edge, a decision between rational restraint and something altogether different. In the title story, a man leaves his lover's wedding with the bride's ex-girlfriend; in "Flipper" a young escapee from "fat camp" discovers a different kind of hunger while enjoying a pregnant teen's gifts of forbidden chocolate; in "Aquarium," a thirty-eight-year old woman who claims to "follow the straight and narrow" tries to resist seducing her fifteen-year-old nephew again. Revealing the hidden longings and quirky needs of both men and women with a tough sensitivity and deep, sometimes biting humor,Honeymoonpresents a masterful writer purely at home in his form, yet continuing to push himself and his stories to their limits with enthusiasm and daring.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Fans of well-wrought short stories will delight in Canty's newest collection. His sense of structure is so tight that the words thrum and vibrate as they are being read. These 11 stories explore the darker edge of the gray areas of human experience and relationships. The characters are satisfyingly complex and keep reaching toward life, even as they romance self-destruction. In "Aquarium," a woman who is in recovery for cocaine addiction enters into an affair with her nephew after he has been sent to her so that he can get off heroin. In "Carolina Beach," a lonely lawyer finds love with a woman dying of breast cancer. In the last piece, "Girlfriend Hit by a Bus," a man can only come to understand the death of his girlfriend by sleeping with one of her ex-lovers and realizing he can no longer share the story of such misbehavior with her. A highly accomplished sampling of a fine author's work. --Eric Robbins

Publisher's Weekly Review

The distinctive, idiosyncratic voices of antiheroes floundering in a world dissolving around them distinguish the 11 tersely lyrical stories of Canty's second short story collection. At the beginning of "Aquarium," 38-year-old Olive is in Seattle visiting her nephew who has been caught once again using heroin. They continue an affair, though Olive knows better. "[S]he can practically recite from therapy: It's OK to have this feeling... it's never OK to act." This, Olive thinks, is the secret of adult life, "the secret to OKness." The most successful stories here are about characters, like the protagonist of Canty's novel Into the Great Wide Open, who are painfully learning that being an adult requires pretense. In "Flipper," a fat kid escapes from fat camp and meets a pregnant teenager whose gift of chocolate provokes a larger hunger in him. In "Carolina Beach," Vincent, divorced, and Laurie, dying of cancer, go to a seaside resort seeking a respite from lives in which affection is something read about in a magazine. "Red Dress" is narrated by an 11-year-old who is tired of listening to "the oceanic hubbub below" at his parents' frequent parties and promotes himself to bartender. Then he gets that predictable unbidden glimpse and understands the "assertion of normalcy" behind his mother's casual, dry kisses on the top of his head. Cool, quick and brutal, these stories gives the lie to the heavy realities they chronicle, swooping deftly along a well-honed razor's edge. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This is Canty's second short-story collection, after A Stranger in This World: Stories (LJ 8/94). In Canty's terse, revealing tales, something always happens, with inevitable results. "Carolina Beach," an excellent vignette drenched in sadness, limns the story of a woman who may die of cancer and the man who wants to love her. "Red Dress" highlights an adolescent boy who sees his mother, with whom he never connects, change from housewife to glamorous hostess at the parties his parents give. "Flipper" explores the growing pains of a young boy who is sent to a "fatties" camp and is educated in unexpected ways. In the title story, "Honeymoon," when an ex-boyfriend and lesbian girlfriend leave their traitorous friend's wedding, sparks fly and solace comes in alcohol and the great outdoors. These are provocative stories of characters ungrounded, strangers to others and themselves, written with an honesty and in-your-face realism that can take your breath away. Recommended for all libraries with contemporary fiction collections. Mary Szczesiul, Roseville P.L., MI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Tokyo, My Love Some scenery, then: a sleeping city by the ocean, streetlights and foghorns, a wisp of fog curling down the hills (in fact cigar smoke, blown by a production assistant just off camera). Unbeknownst to the citizens, a group of lit windows in one of the tall towers, busy with buzzers and maps, people shouting in Japanese: the command post. The tiny princesses are kidnapped. The missiles are racing into place. I am the thing that happens next. I feel myself evolving. You of all cities, Tokyo--you must know what this feels like, the little fishing village somewhere near your heart, the layers of houses and shopping and industry accreting, century by century, to form your black pearl. . . . You are not what you were. You are not what you will be. The rockets are gathering in the suburbs, and I am changing. To go from one body to the next, to watch your wings develop out of nowhere, beautiful, spotted wings, to feel the many segments of your abdomen contract and swell, swallowing the hundred tiny legs--too many of them!--and then one morning the new strong legs under you, holding you up. I am beautiful. Your tanks can't stop me. I know: Two men with mustaches have the princesses locked in a cage somewhere in the city, two near-Americans in business suits, etcetera. The princesses will be fine in the end. They will sing to me again, and I will go back to my island. But all that is later. All that is plot. This is the moment that I love, this right now: the city sleeping, waiting, my body evolving, everything about to happen and the calm before. I can feel the city, there in the dark, waiting. I can feel how much you want me, Tokyo. Without me, without the thing that is about to happen, there's no escape from the chain of days, turning clothes into laundry and then washing the laundry, folding the clothes, stacking them away. Who could stand it? Who could love a life like that? Admit it: You know what I'm talking about. The thing inside you that wants a hurricane, a fire a flood, that wants to hear the beat of giant spotted wings, my wings, bearing down on the city, the jets of flame spewing from my mouth and the helpless tiny planes as I bat them to the ground. You want to see the tanks roll into the street, the long sentence of Japanese that translates somehow into the single word: "Fire!" Admit it: That's what you're doing here, isn't it? some tiny homeopathic dose of the hurricane you want, so that you don't choke on your own boredom. You want tanks and burning buildings, railcars flying, rocketry and gasoline, the prehistoric scream--out of my lungs, Tokyo--that will burst every ear that hears it. Not yet. This is my moment, the moment before. These are my beautiful wings, unfurling. You wait, unsleeping. You wait for me. I am the thing that happens next--to you, Tokyo. Tokyo my love. To you. Excerpted from Honeymoon: And Other Stories by Kevin Canty All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Tokyo, My Lovep. 1
Aquariump. 4
Flipperp. 26
Honeymoonp. 38
Carolina Beachp. 48
Red Dressp. 66
Sleepers Holding Handsp. 79
Little Debbiep. 95
Scarecrowp. 103
Little Palacesp. 111
Girlfriend Hit by Busp. 148