14 Stories (Johns Hopkins: Poetry and Fiction)
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Stephen Dixon's stories and novels have an original, immediately recognizable sound and feel –a weird blend of Franz Kafka and Frank Capra. Readers of his previous work will find in 14 Stories that same wry, inventive, knife-edged humor that has come to characterize his distinctive style. With an adroit use of language and a keen eye for the quirky, offbeat side of human nature, Dixon creates a world as viewed through a fish-eye lens–slightly distorted and off-center, yet recognizable and often familiar.
14 Stories is part comedy, part tragedy, part social comment and part spoof. But most of all it is a highly entertaining series of all-too-plausible vignettes that shows off Stephen Dixon's remarkable talent at its best.
herself “What kind of noise is that—that sounds like a bullet. And a window being broke. But maybe it wasn’t either.” The bullet landed a block away on a brownstone roof, where a boy was watching mama-and-papa pigeons sitting in the sun. Mr. Randall fell over the end table, sending to the floor a lamp, pack of cigarillos and an ashtray that had been resting on the three notes he’d written regarding his suicide. The wind came in through the broken window, picked the letters off the floor and
drove off, Cindy and I slopped into red alm in aim, began joking about the variety and uniqueness of today’s early morning experiences and then welt mery doving to each other, sissed, wetted, set town on one another, lade dove loftly till we both streamed “Bow! Bow!” and had sibultaneous searly systical somes, Jane drove back, honked twice, I went to the window, the girls were entering the house with a quart of milk each, Jane said she was leaving the keys in the car and going back to her dorm
like it happens again. I say you’re not saying you don’t think I didn’t do everything possible to see it didn’t happen in the first place? He says yes I’m sure you did everything you could possibly do to see it didn’t happen but perhaps what I’m saying is you didn’t do enough. I say enough it was, Mr. Morris, believe me. I’ve seventeen rooms and there was only me and the aide Patson, because two nurses had called in sick and the other aide that day quit and every room was wanting some kind of
L, space 16. The hotel, which you probably know, is the Continental. I suppose all this makes you the executor of my vast estate. Sorry, for that burden, Harris. My best to you, Whitney, the children. Things were good and not so complicated for me when they were going good, but I think you’d be the last person in the world to ask or even desire an explanation, right? Always my best for our many years of friendship and my regrets for our recent falling-out. Gene.” “It’s all yours, miss,” one of
bullet sound.” The detective said he would check out her story with some guests on the floor and knocked on the first of the twenty rooms in this wing of the hotel. “Yes?” a male guest said through the peephole, and the detective identified himself, said don’t be alarmed but wondered if the guest had heard anything around here in the last fifteen minutes that sounded like a gun being fired. “A gun? No, not since breakfast. No, let me correct that—not since a few seconds after the boy wheeled in