Further Interpretations of Real-Life Events
By Kevin Moffett
(Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780062069221, 240pp.)
Publication Date: January 2012
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
Propelled by a multitude of idiosyncratic voices, the stories in Kevin Moffett's Further Interpretations of Real-Life Events are tragic in their conception and comic in their execution. Moffett casts light on characters in transitional states, stalled and puzzled. In "In the Pines," a Civil War reenactor visits an elderly woman recently relocated to a retirement home. In "Border to Border," an immigrant working at an amusement park faces a disconcerting choice when he loses one of his dental crowns. In "First Marriage," a honeymooning couple is stalled in Arizona by the stink of dead animal in their rental car. Even as they bumble and disappoint their way through these stories, these characters elicit from us a sympathyeven a self-identificationthat is something much stronger than pity. The result is an unsettling and unforgettable collection. Written with penetrating insight into our motivations and fears, Further Interpretations of Real-Life Events is a wise, funny, and haunting book that signals the emergence of a trailblazing talent.
Kevin Moffett's stories have appeared in McSweeney's, Tin House, American Short Fiction, and elsewhere, as well as in three editions of The Best American Short Stories. He is the winner of the Nelson Algren Award, a Pushcart Prize, and the 2010 National Magazine Award for the title story. He lives in Claremont, California.
“The first thing you notice reading the stories in Further Interpretations of Real-Life Events is the author’s extraordinary range--of expertise, technique, imagination and wit. There doesn’t seem to be much Kevin Moffett can’t do.”
“Kevin Moffett’s stories are stealth heartbreakers, as well as wonders of sly detail and perfect tone. He’s writing some of the best short fiction around.”
“These stories are as enormously funny as they are enormously sad. Moffett deals in wisdom, humor, and sympathy with extraordinary fluency; the results are always as unsettling as they are reassuring. And this seems to me about as close as you can come to writing the truth about life.”
“Humor is too often heartless, sheer cleverness lacking content. Kevin Moffett is a member of that delightful minority that takes up the ordinary to reveal the extraordinary. These stories are funny, insightful, and reveal, but never strive for, true depth.”
“Moffett’s work is melancholy and funny at the same time. . . . Language soars in unexpected directions. . . . This collection will leave readers grateful to have encountered characters who are as odd as they are, as sad as they may be, and as stupidly hopeful.”
-Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“One of the most delightful collections in recent memory. . . . It’s rare to see as bright a star as Moffett on the literary scene. With this lovely collection, he is one to watch.”