Cool for America

Andrew Martin. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $27 (272p) ISBN 978-0-374-10816-8
Martin (Early Work) captures young adults’ aimless searches for stability in this bleak, revealing collection. In “The Changed Party,” during a rained-out vacation on the Jersey shore, Lisa and Gary, freshly reunited following a separation, discover their eight-year-old daughter Amanda’s compulsive habit of picking through the garbage and are troubled by a friend’s drinking. In the title story, an unnamed assistant professor spending the summer in Missoula, Mont., wrestles with a powerful attraction to his friend’s wife, who helps him recuperate from a broken leg. In “The Boy Vet,” a baby-faced veterinarian pressures a softhearted literature PhD dropout to pay for emergency surgery on a stray dog. The protagonist of “Bad Feelings” distracts himself from his mom’s surgery by going to “the third sequel to a blockbuster adaptation of a young adult book series” despite having not seen the others, and loses his keys in the empty theater. Moments of cynical humor pop up amid drug use, tumultuous relationships, or other self-defeating outlets for the characters’ creative and personal frustrations. Though the people begin to blend together, each story has at least one or two standout, bleakly funny lines. Martin’s sardonic tales are decent, if not breathtaking. (July)
Reviewed on : 04/28/2020
Release date: 07/07/2020
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-1-250-79864-0
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