Stacey Richter, Pushcart Prize winner and a Village Voice Writer on the Verge, delivers an alluring literary debut that marks the arrival of a new voice in fiction. Combining acute observations with profound compassion, Richter chronicles the obscure narratives of American life from rock-groupie love to Internet dating to drug-hungry Health Ed teachers.
"The Beauty Treatment" is narrated by a teenager who has had her face slashed by her best friend. Theirs is a brand of girlfriend rivalry common at any high school, but with Richter's remarkable agility and unique language, their story becomes an epic of empathy and forgiveness.
Any self-respecting Scandinavian Satanic heavy metal band -- even one with a chick keyboard player -- always knows it must "corrupt the world / spread the metal." But by the end of "Goal 666," the Lords of Sludge are possessed by a different kind of uncontrollable urge.
In "Sally's Story" a family's decline parallels their greyhound's rise to fame in the art world, and in "Rats Eat Cats" a depressive young woman tries to find sanctuary in a living art project in which she becomes a reclusive Cat Lady ("an old woman who lives 'by herself' with as many as seventy-five cats in a one-bedroom apartment") only to fall in love with her neighbor and arch enemy, the Rat Boy.
"A Prodigy of Longing" renders the impossible domestic situation of a child genius navigating the terrain occupied by his father and stepmother -- both believers in alien abduction -- and the biker boy next door.
An honest and affecting explorer of human experience, Richter turns tales from the fringe into stunningly intimate depictions of loss and loneliness. Her voice is distinctly original and deeply funny.
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There’s also a certain amount of art-world surrealism: “Sally’s Story” describes the art career of a family dog who becomes famous for her sculptures and performance art, while “Rats Eat Cats” is the grant application (addressed to an arts committee) of an eccentric lady who lives alone with doze...| Read Full Review of MY DATE WITH SATAN: Stories
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