I have always greatly enjoyed Joshua Ferris’s writing: it’s clean, lucid, and reflective of a life that was familiar to me: the travails of the creative/professional class (and those who love them) in contemporary New York. This collection of stories seems drawn from disparate points along Ferris’s evolution as a writer. My least favorite story seemed like it had been written for a creative writing class a long time ago; my favorite story (“The Dinner Party”) amazed me when I first read it in the New Yorker years ago and, happily, it still held up on re-reading.
Ferris writes about men behaving badly, men who are careless and blind to their own selfishness. As I read these stories it struck me that he was writing about a very narrow slice of life experience, and I missed the breadth that he’s demonstrated in his novels. However, I enjoyed these stories (some more than others), and Ferris remains one of my favorite contemporary writers.
Review Submitted by: Michael Dunn
Challenge: Published in 2017