Amor and Psycho: Stories
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From the author of Daughters of the Revolution and The Bostons (winner of the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for fiction) come eleven stories about sex and death, violence and desire, love and madness, set in a vast American landscape that ranges from the largest private residence in Manhattan to the lush rain forests and marijuana farms of Northern California.
In “Francis Bacon,” an aspiring writer learns essential lessons from an aging pornographer. In “The Snake,” a restless Jungian analyst sheds one existence after another. In “The Boundary,” a muralist falls in love with a troubled boy from the rez. In the surreal “She Bites,” a man builds an architecturally distinguished doghouse as his wife slowly transforms. And in the transcendent, three-part title story, two best friends face their strange fates, linked by a determination to wrest meaning and coherence from lives spiraling out of control.
At once philosophical and compulsively readable, Amor and Psycho dives into our darkest spaces, confronting the absurdity, poetry and brutality of human existence.
labors in childbirth, or babies too big for the child-size birth canals of the youngest or most malnourished girls. This damage had rendered many incontinent; they’d lost the wall between vagina and anus, and lived in shame. “You should come,” Carrie said. “Then you’d see.” SCARFACE KNEW about bonobos from watching the Discovery Channel. Bonobos were his favorite kind of ape. They could pick up a teacup with their toes and drink from it. They didn’t force the females to have sex with them—they
favorites, smart, assertive kids—Javier, Alicia, Salvador, Nick—who basically just needed an adult to say their names and mean it. THEN AUNT BEA DIED and left me a little money. I took every penny and booked a trip to Africa to visit Carrie over the spring break. At first, I hardly recognized my sister: She looked like a nun. Her face had the planes and angles of a clenched fist, especially under the white hat she wore. The dry air and exposure to injustice had puckered her like a raisin. She
fighting,” Sura told her. “It’s never a good time. But when you go, you’ll see—it’s a good time.” She hadn’t been since 1972. Now who knew when she’d go back? SURA COULDN’T SHOP after chemo—she went home and went to bed—but the next afternoon she drove to Home Depot and picked out forty dollars’ worth of hot-weather blooms, showy things that looked good right now, but tomorrow, who knew? She’d rushed out in a hurry, put a pink bandanna on her head; she was bald as an egg. The woman who rang her
could we forget that day, now so many months ago, when the president had brought Federico to us as a last resort? We received him at first with chill hauteur, and Federico said, “What can I do to win your hearts?” Someone said, “Never underestimate the power of an apology.” Federico apologized immediately and from his heart for the injustices that had been done to us because of the institute’s financial position, which he was already on the point of correcting, well in advance of the final
might serve his discipline. I ripped a photo of Bacon’s studio from the catalogue and laid it on the pile of company scrip. The scrip looked like play money—or like a child’s certificate of achievement. We’d use it all, Laya and I—we’d eat and drink and make a little mess of the evening. With a fuzzy resolution born of several ounces of Russian vodka and a gnawing hunger, I promised the ladies of the multiple tits that one day I’d tell their stories, too. Sometime later, a dry finger touched my