Tyrants by Marshall N. Klimasewiski

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Brilliantly evocative stories about tyrannies—political and intimate, historical and domestic—and about the unpredictable delinquencies of lust.

The grouped stories in Tyrants trace the many forms of emotional inheritance—cultural, romantic, and historical. Some deftly portray both time and place, while others mine interpersonal relations with such intimacy and truth that they could be set anytime, anywhere. In the first sequence of stories, a son inherits and reconsiders his father’s convoluted and extravagant notions about love, sex, wealth, and fatherhood. In the second, an American man and his Korean wife confront the cultural implications of a romantic, self-imposed exile. And in the historical fictions that complete the collection, love and flight, ambition, exploration, and exile intertwine in a helium balloon above Sweden, in an Italian airship at the North Pole, and in Stalin’s dacha during the Nazi invasion. Marshall N. Klimasewiski’s talent for “deft psychological triangulations” (New York Times Book Review) and for capturing “the subtle dynamics between people” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch) is on full display here.

About Marshall N. Klimasewiski

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Marshall N. Klimasewiski's stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and Best American Short Stories. He teaches writing at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives.
Published February 17, 2008 by W. W. Norton & Company. 218 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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The stories that bookend this collection, “Nobile’s Airship” and “Aëronauts,” track the rise and fall of two ambitious, tragic explorers: Italian airship captain Umberto Nobile and Swedish polar explorer Salomon August Andrée, respectively.

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