A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
Bradford Morrow’s stories have garnered him awards such as the O. Henry and Pushcart Prizes and have given him a devoted following. Now gathered here for the first time is a collection of his most darkly comic, masterfully written tales.
A young man whose childhood hobby of collecting sea shells and birds’ nests takes a sinister turn when he becomes obsessed with acquiring his brother’s girlfriend, in “The Hoarder” (selected as one of the Best American Noir Stories of the Century). An archeologist summoned to attend his beloved sister’s funeral is astonished to discover it is not she who has died, but someone much closer to him, in “Gardener of Heart.” A blind motivational speaker has a crisis of faith when he suddenly regains his sight, only to discover life was better lived in the dark, in “Amazing Grace.”
In all of these stories, readers will find themselves enthralled and captivated by one of the major voices in contemporary American fiction.
Conjunctions founding editor Morrow (The Diviner's Tale), creates beautifully dark and soulfully intimate stories in his first collection, featuring characters who, though hardly citizens of virtue, reveal their true colors with little remorse. Each tale is told close at hand, with first-person narrators drawing the reader into their confidence, making readers complicit in shadowy inner workings that they don't completely understand. A man who enjoys collecting trinkets sets his sights dangerously on his brother's girlfriend in "The Hoarder." A blind man, in "Amazing Grace," regains his sight only to realize that the enlightened life he had imagined for himself is actually shrouded in darkness. After misplacing his mind, a man finds that, "whereas before he was dependable (had been with the same accounting firm for fifteen years, was the star shortstop on their interleague softball team), he now became not just unreliable, but entirely unpredictable," in "Mis(Laid)." In the sinister "Tsunami," a wife and mother relays the details of her unraveled marriage, remaining matter-of-fact: "This story doesn't get any better, so if you wanted to stop here I certainly wouldn't blame you. I can even tell you what happens so you won't have to bother." Morrow's stories are hauntingly honest and linger in the consciousness.