The Dinner Party

Joshua Ferris. Little, Brown, $26 (256p) ISBN 978-0-316-46595-3
The stories in this collection, the first from Ferris, bestselling author of Then We Came to the End, explore the fraying psychologies of their protagonists by way of dark humor and understated tragedy. In the excellent, surreal title story, the fissures in a childless couple’s marriage become unbridgeable divides after their close friends fail to attend a dinner party. A bereaved Florida widower is sent a prostitute as a birthday present in “The Valetudinarian,” an equally great story, while a desperate aspiring screenwriter struggles to make inroads at an industry party in “The Pilot.” Despite its magnificent start, subsequent entries like “Fragments” and “The Breeze” read like lesser versions of earlier, better stories. “More Abandon” is a deleted scene from the author’s debut novel that probably should have stayed on the proverbial cutting room floor. Nevertheless, even the weaker stories contain moments of sharp levity and intense insight, reminders of the heights the author can achieve when he is able to sustain his immense talent. Agent: Julie Barer, the Book Group. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/06/2017
Release date: 05/02/2017
Genre: Fiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-4789-7505-2
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-0-316-46597-7
Hardcover - 240 pages - 978-0-316-55663-7
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-316-46596-0
Compact Disc - 978-1-4789-2197-4
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