Eating Naked by Stephen Dobyns

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From the bestselling author of The Church of Dead Girls and Boy in the Water, a collection of award-winning stories that probe our strange and unpredictable emotional lives.

In his first collection of stories, Stephen Dobyns, peerless chronicler of the menace and unease that lurk in small-town America, turns his attention to the dark, inescapable forces that test the patience, fidelity, and even good sense of the most ordinary people.

The sixteen stories in Eating Naked-two of which appeared in The Best American Short Stories-range from surreal to poignant, from chilling to comic. At the center of them all are men and women challenged by their own uncontrollable, illogical natures: poets with free-floating guilt, spouses with unacceptable sexual compulsions, farmers with midlife crises, gas men with erratic timetables. Marriages unravel, well-laid plans dissolve, and placid lives are turned upside down by something unforeseen-be it as mundane as a chance conversation, as inevitable as death, as improbable as a murderous pig. Now writing in a new form, Dobyns once again reveals his psychological acuity and grasp of social frailty. Sharp, funny, and profound, Eating Naked gets to the heart of a world in which order and reason rarely prevail over human peculiarity and longing for the astonishing and the unexpected.

About Stephen Dobyns

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Stephen Dobyns is the author of nine volumes of poetry, a book of essays (Best Words, Best Order), and nineteen novels, including The Church of Dead Girls and Boy in the Water. His short stories have won a Pushcart Prize and appeared in The Best American Short Stories of 1993 and 1999.
Published May 11, 2000 by Metropolitan Books. 256 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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When her poet husband Jason dies after a freak encounter with a falling pig, his widow, stung by the way everyone refashions Jason as the poet who was killed by a pig, eventually uses his risible reputation to escape the burden of grieving.

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Other stories feature a cuckolded poet who tries to get revenge by kidnapping his wife, only to be cut to the quick by her insults, and a gas man who breaks his leg while reading a meter and gets stuck in long conversation with a cruel man caring for his dying wife.

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