One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories

B J Novak, Author
B.J. Novak. Knopf, $24.95 (270p) ISBN 978-0-385-35183-6
Open Ebook - 183 pages - 978-0-385-35184-3
Compact Disc - 978-0-8041-6473-3
Hardcover - 258 pages - 978-1-4087-0527-8
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Novak’s debut contains a buckshot 64 fun and funny short stories crammed into a single volume. Part Etgar Keret, part McSweeney’s, these tidy tales from the alum of TV’s The Office depart from the “how I became famous” comedian’s biography for a decidedly more literary turn. The collection’s opening story, “The Rematch,” is a clever sequel to a classic in which the hare pressures the tortoise into a rematch in an attempt to get past the most shameful defeat of his life. In another standout, “Sophia,” a young man custom-orders a sex doll, but is disappointed when he discovers that it possesses artificial intelligence (the first of its kind) and the capacity to feel love. The bulk of Novak’s stories are comedic, and more than a few are surprisingly tender. “A Good Problem to Have” features a confused senior citizen pushing into an elementary school classroom to explain how he invented the two-trains-leave-the-station math problem but never got credit for it. If the collection feels uneven at times, like a series of playful asides (a handful of the entries don’t reach beyond a few slight lines), perhaps that’s because Novak seems to have worked harder on the more substantial stories, which have the pleasing feel of being written by an author in complete control of his craft. First printing of 150,000 announced. Agent: Richard Abate, 3 Arts Entertainment. (Feb.)
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