The Secret Goldfish by David Means
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Synopsis

It is a less and less well-kept secret that David Means is one of our best fiction writers. In the past few years he has won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, been a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and received critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic. Readers familiar with Means's electrifying work will recognize the vision at play in The Secret Goldfish -- a trio of erotically charged kids go on a crime spree in Michigan; a goldfish bears witness to the demise of a Connecticut marriage; an extremely unlucky man is stalked by lightning -- but this new work is funnier, more generous, and bigger in its reach.

Each story stands on its own, and yet linked together they produce a quintessentially American experience -- not the stars-and-stripes-on-the-bumper-sticker kind, but the stoned-and-bored-and-looking-for-trouble kind. Means's writing is shot through with emotion and beauty. A subversive humor -- and an almost religious fervor -- drives these stories, and Means's miraculously precise observations bring them to life.

Eileen Battersby of the Irish Times wrote, "The roll-call of honor, from Eudora Welty to John Cheever, John Updike, William Maxwell, to Richard Ford, Tobias Wolff, and Annie Proulx is long and rich. Just when it seems that things could get no better, along comes David Means." This is a brilliant lineage, and yet David Means writes like no one but himself.

 

About David Means

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David Means is the author of A Quick Kiss of Redemption and The Secret Goldfish. His stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, Esquire, The O. Henry Prize Stories, and The Best American Short Stories. He lives in Nyack, New York, and teaches at Vassar College.
 
Published October 4, 2005 by Harper Perennial. 224 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Secret Goldfish

Kirkus Reviews

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But a few of the tales, notably “Counterparts,” “Petrouchka With Omissions,” and the title story, which is told through the eyes of the family pet, are middle-class in orientation and focus on marital infidelity instead of violence.

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The Guardian

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The Secret Goldfish by David Means Fourth Estate £14.99, pp224 In his prize-winning debut short story collection, Assorted Fire Events, American writer David Means announced himself as a brutal anatomist of character: 20 deaths in 13 stories.

Feb 13 2005 | Read Full Review of The Secret Goldfish: Stories

The Guardian

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The Secret Goldfish by David Means 213pp, Fourth Estate, £14.99 David Means's first book of short stories, A Quick Kiss of Redemption (1991), met with lukewarm reviews and is no longer in print.

Feb 19 2005 | Read Full Review of The Secret Goldfish: Stories

Publishers Weekly

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Means, author of the acclaimed story collection Assorted Fire Events , probes a broad range of social registers, from junkies and criminals festering in the postindustrial decay of northern Michigan's iron range to the chilly adulteries of the artsy New York haute bourgeoisie, linking them into a...

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London Review of Books

What would be the merest dab of implication in another writer – one fouled cosmos gently twinned with another – is here turned into a frank split-screen narrative: the two stories almost run alongside each other and the narrative is briefly turned over to the fish, from whose sunken perspective w...

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The Paris Review

I keep reading novels that feel, even if they're trying new tricks, like old news, and often resort to cliché to keep moving: out of the corner of his eyes, his heart was pounding in his chest, that kind of thing.

Jun 22 2010 | Read Full Review of The Secret Goldfish: Stories

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