Welcome Thieves (Hardcover)
Algonquin Books, 9781616208134, 274pp.
Publication Date: March 1, 2016
Black humor mixed with pathos is the hallmark of the twelve stories in this adult debut collection from a master writer of comic and inventive YA novels. A young man spends a whole day lying naked on the floor of his apartment, conversing casually with his roommates, pondering the past, considering the lives being lived around him. In the odd and funny, sad yet somehow hopeful conceit of Sean Beaudoin's story "Exposure," are all the elements that make his debut collection, Welcome Thieves, a standout. In twelve virtuosic stories, Beaudoin trains his absurdist's eye on the ridiculous perplexities of adult life. From muddling through after the apocalypse ("Base Omega Has Twelve Dictates") to the knowing smirk of "You Too Can Graduate with a Degree in Contextual Semiotics," Beaudoin's stories are edgy and profane, bittersweet and angry, bemused and sardonic. Yet they're always tinged with heart. Beaudoin's novels have been praised for their playfulness and complexity, for the originality and beauty of their language. Those same qualities, and much more, are on full display in Welcome Thieves, a book that should find devout fans in readers who worship at the altar of George Saunders, Kurt Vonnegut, and Sam Lipsyte. "A deviously spellbinding collection of short stories in which strange and beautiful worlds, creations of Sean Beaudoin's dark and sometimes brutal imagination, emerge as part of a tapestry so finely woven that we don't see the thread. In the end, we can only stand in awe of Beaudoin's immense talent." --Garth Stein, author of A Sudden Light