The Palace Thief by Ethan Canin

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“Extraordinary for its craft and emotional effect . . . [Ethan Canin is] a writer of enormous talent and charm.”
The Washington Post

“Character is destiny,” wrote Heraclitus–and in this collection of four unforgettable stories, we meet people struggling to understand themselves and the unexpected turns their lives have taken. In “Accountant,” a quintessential company man becomes obsessed with the phenomenal success of a reckless childhood friend. “Batorsag and Szerelem” tells the story of a boy’s fascination with the mysterious life and invented language of his brother, a math prodigy. In “City of Broken Hearts,” a divorced father tries to fathom the patterns of modern relationships. And in “The Palace Thief,” a history teacher at an exclusive boarding school reflects on the vicissitudes of a lifetime connection with a student scoundrel. A remarkable achievement by one of America’s finest writers, this brilliant volume reveals the moments of insight that illuminate everyday lives.

“Captivating . . . a heartening tribute to the form . . . an exquisite performance.”
The Boston Sunday Globe

“A model of wit, wisdom, and empathy. Chekhov would have appreciated its frank renderings and quirky ironies.”
Chicago Tribune

About Ethan Canin

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Ethan Canin is the author of six books, including the story collections Emperor of the Air and The Palace Thief and the novels For Kings and Planets and Carry Me Across the Water. He is on the faculty of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and divides his time between Iowa and northern Michigan. He is also a physician.
Published March 6, 2013 by Random House. 224 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math, Law & Philosophy, Humor & Entertainment. Fiction

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It's here that the book is most ragged but also most genuine-seeming: the younger boy has available to him an X-raying psychology no grown-up character in Canin ever does (Canin must be the ultimate ``kid-brother'' writer)--and it's frustrating that this quicksilver perceptiveness is given so lit...

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Publishers Weekly

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The paperback release of Canin's thoroughly engaging short-story collection-a PW bestseller and one of PW's best books of 1994-marks the launch of the Picador imprint in the U.S. (Jan.)

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Publishers Weekly

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As for the question of character, hardly does a protagonist gain a slippery hold on the essence of another person's character, when a forced self-evaluation occurs: in ``City of Broken Hearts'' a recently divorced man considers his son as alien but in fact, the youth is the one person who sees th...

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Entertainment Weekly

That accountant, sitting next to Willie Mays at a baseball fantasy camp, slides from touching to mockable when he says, ''How can I describe what it was like to eat a Belgian waffle with such a man sitting nearby?'' It's a laugh line, but the laugh is too easy given the cool, almost brutal way C...

Mar 04 1994 | Read Full Review of The Palace Thief

The Independent

In 'City of Broken Hearts', the protagonist, Buck, whose wife has left him for another man and whose piously modern son lectures him on the new sexual etiquette, offers a variation on one of the central 'guyness' riffs.

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The Independent

As Abba recalls the moment when his and Eugene Peters' lives ceased to mirror each other, Canin has him say, with the odd, cliched formality of one ill at ease with self-expression: 'I began to pursue a career in accounting.

Feb 19 1994 | Read Full Review of The Palace Thief

Spirituality & Practice

Reviews Philosophy About Our Affiliates Books & Audios Recently Reviewed The four short stories which comprise this book are moral tales which compel us to look at the values which operate in our lives.

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