We're All in This Together
A Novella and Stories
By Owen King
(Bloomsbury USA, Hardcover, 9781582345857, 256pp.)
Publication Date: June 16, 2005
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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Imaginative, gripping stories and a funny, poignant novella set in Maine after the 2000 presidential election make up this exciting literary debut.
Owen King is a writer interested in the choices we make when we're most conflicted. A young husband must decide whether or not to commit a ghoulish crime; a baseball player in a fantastic 1930s Coney Island is assailed by the guilt of an illicit romance; a nineteenth-century itinerant dentist finds himself snowed in with a group of trappers for a long evening of primitive surgery and laughing gas reveries. Whether they're set in the past or the present, tinged with the macabre, the solemn, or the absurd, all of the stories in this collection carry the weight of real emotion and revelation and showcase King's impressive versatility.
In his novella, King tells the story of George, the teenage son of a single mother, and the only grandson of a family of union organizers in Maine. George's grandfather Henry, obsessed with the outcome of the 2000 election, has planted a giant billboard of homage to Al Gore in his front yard that he suspects has been defaced by the paperboy, now a sworn enemy. Meanwhile, George's mother is about to marry Dr. Vic, who, besides being possessed of an almost royal obliviousness, may even have voted for George W. Bush. George is a nervous accomplice to his grandfather's increasingly unhinged behavior, and a righteous adversary at war with his mother over her marriage. George's struggle is a funny and moving parallel for our times: How will we fight? All together, or all alone? Funny, insightful, and always entertaining, We're All in This Together launches the career of an extraordinarily talented writer.
Owen King grew up in Bangor, Maine. He is a graduate of Vassar College and holds an M.F.A. from Columbia University, and his stories have appeared in Book Magazine and the Bellingham Review. He has been nominated for a National Magazine Award and is a recipient of the John Gardner Award for Short Fiction. He currently resides in Brooklyn.
"The title novella of King's first collection is its heart and soul: a powerful exploration of the flimsiness of political moral certainty....The novella...like all great storytelling, has real strength. Newcomer King is a talent to watch." Kirkus Reviews
"[T]he novella is terrific; the accompanying stories less so ? [King's] is a voice well worth hearing....Read this book for the novella alone. It wouldn't have taken many more pages to have made it into a worthy first novel, and it shines with promise." Hartford Courant
"King possesses a rare understanding of the macabre side of our workaday lives....We're All in This Together has enough moments of crystalline insight into human folly to prove he's finding a voice and an artistic sensibility all his own." Andrew Ervin, The Washington Post
"Owen King knows a thing or two about our yen for hate, and he has made it a potent subtext of his literary debut....Some day, when historians are frantically looking for artifacts of our Age of Hate, I think they will stumble upon We're all in this Together." Denver Post
"Owen King manages to take all of these characters and their idiosyncratic lives and weave stories that are darkly hilarious, truthfully touching, and leave the reader in no doubt that we really are all in this together." San Antonio Express-News
"Compelling, imaginative…this original collection heralds the arrival of the next generation."
"Beneath the pyrotechnics of his incredible imagination, King never forgets that he's here to tell meaningful, poignant stories."
-Anthony Doerr, author of The Shell Collector and About Grace
"Owen King decisively stakes out his own territory with prose so imaginative and confident and well-crafted, he seems to have been down to that midnight Delta crossroads and gotten much the best of the bargain."
-William Gay, author of Provinces of Night and The Long Home
"A remarkable new writer."
-Binnie Kirsehnbaum, author of An Almost Perfect Moment