Third Class Superhero
By Charles Yu
(Mariner Books, Paperback, 9780156030816, 192pp.)
Publication Date: September 2006
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Charles Yu experiments with form and genre to explore the stories we tell ourselves while navigating contemporary life. In "Third Class Superhero," a would- be good guy must come to terms with the darkness in his heart. A couple living in the Luxury Car Commercial subdivision in "401(k)" are disappointed when their exotic vacation turns into a Life Insurance/Asset Management pitch. The author struggles to write the definitive biography of his mother in "Autobiographical Raw Material Unsuitable for the Mining of Fiction." In these and other stories, Yu’s characters run up against the conventions and parameters of their artificial story lines while tackling the terrifying aspects of existence: mothers, jobs, spouses, the need to express feelings. Heartbreaking, hilarious, smart, and surprising, Third Class Superhero marks the arrival of an impressive new talent.
CHARLES YU's work has been published in the Harvard Review , Alaska Quarterly Review , the Mississippi Review , Mid- American Review , and elsewhere. He is the recipient of the Sherwood Anderson Fiction Award. This is his first book. He lives in Los Angeles.
PRAISE FOR CHARLES YU
"'Class Three Superhero' transcends what might have been a merely clever premise to speak to us about ambition, envy and the moral dilemmas that our own worst natures force on us. I admire it very much."--Jean Thompson, National Book Award Finalist
"Ambitious . . . funny and inventive."
"Rich with humor, invention, and humanity . . . Yu emerges as a first-class talent. A."
"Audacious . . . Smart, engaging and often deadpan funny."
"Reminds one of Kafka, if Kafka had had a geekish passion for science fiction and TV . . . hilarious."
"[Yu] show[s] that the short story is not only alive but being reinvigorated in excitingly diverse ways."