Cover image for See you in paradise : stories
See you in paradise : stories
Lennon, J. Robert, 1970- , author.
Uniform Title:
Short stories. Selections
Publication Information:
Minneapolis, Minnesota : Graywolf Press, [2014]

Physical Description:
236 pages ; 21 cm
A collection of short tales draws on fifteen years of work to reflect whimsically on the pathos and surreality of American life as evidenced by a competitive adoption, a suicide, and a career stagnation.
General Note:
Fourteen short stories.
Portal -- No life -- See you in paradise -- Hibachi -- Zombie Dan -- A stormy evening at the Buck Snort Restaurant -- Wraith -- Accursed items -- Weber's head -- Ecstasy -- Total humiliation in 1987 -- Flight -- Future journal -- Farewell, Bounder.
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FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf

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The first substantial collection of short fiction from "a writer with enough electricity to light up the country" (Ann Patchett)

"I guess the things that scare you are the things that are almost normal," observes one narrator in this collection of effervescent and often uncanny stories. Drawing on fifteen years of work, See You in Paradise is the fullest expression yet of J. Robert Lennon's distinctive and brilliantly comic take on the pathos and surreality at the heart of American life.
In Lennon's America, a portal to another universe can be discovered with surprising nonchalance in a suburban backyard, adoption almost reaches the level of blood sport, and old pals return from the dead to steal your girlfriend. Sexual dysfunction, suicide, tragic accidents, and career stagnation all create surprising opportunities for unexpected grace in this full-hearted and mischievous depiction of those days (weeks, months, years) we all have when things just don't go quite right.

Author Notes

J. Robert Lennon is the author of "The Light of Falling Stars" & "The Funnies". He lives with his wife & children in Ithaca, NY.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Menace runs through many of the 14 stories in novelist Lennon's (Familiar) first collection, tales of quotidian suburban existence into which he often introduces a surreal element. In "Hibachi," the gift of the eponymous grill leads to an odd act of liberation for a frustrated wife. "Total Humiliation in 1987" features an unhappy family on vacation that finds another family's time capsule and thereby casts a pall on their own activities. In the entertaining title story, a young man of "good qualities" successfully romances a CEO's daughter only to find that he has made a deal with the devil. While "The Accursed Items" is a failed attempt at experimental fiction, "Weber's Head" generates dread and humor in equal measure as a man who rents out a room in his apartment gets more than he bargains for when he takes on the proverbial roommate from hell. Three of the best stories, "Zombie Dan," "The Wraith," and "Portal" are postmodern riffs on classic science fiction and horror themes. Although several individual stories score, the collection as a whole strikes the same note of suburban disaffection over and over again to the ultimate point of diminishing returns. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

Haunting, surreal, and often tinged with sf elements, Lennon's work is driven by a fertile, experimental imagination and an interest in examining suburban malaise. As evidenced in works such as Mailman and Familiar, he creates strange, unsettling, dystopian fictional worlds that may be real or may be manifestations of his protagonist's obsessions, pathologies, or damaged psychological states. Drawing on 15 years of work, this excellent collection includes a rich variety of short stories that explore these distinctive themes. Some of the stories are idea-driven, and they often highlight Lennon's interest in sf and flair for the macabre. "The Wraith," for example, is a potent and disturbing story about an unhappy suburban couple who suddenly find themselves living with a zombielike supernatural creature. Other entries are more character driven, and these are among the best in the collection. "Total Humiliation in 1987," for example, is an accomplished, emotionally moving psychological study of a marriage falling publicly and ignominiously apart in front of a couple's teenage children during a summer vacation. Lennon examines the suddenly unfathomable gulf that has grown between these parents with intelligence and pathos. VERDICT An eerie, disquieting, and powerful collection; recommended for fans of literary fiction. [See Prepub Alert, 6/2/14.]-Patrick Sullivan, Manchester Community Coll., CT (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.