Emporium

Emporium

Stories

Book - 2002
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Garnering advance praise from the likes of Ron Carlson, Mark Richard, and Jennifer Egan, Adam Johnson's Emporium marks the debut of a startling new voice in American fiction. Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Olen Butler raves, "Adam Johnson is the most exciting young writer I've ever read. . . . He gives extraordinary fictions that are at once universal and dazzlingly original." The voices that inhabit Adam Johnson's debut collection are all on intimate terms with loss. Their worlds are dyed by the indigo of loneliness and the invisible ink of abandonment. Yearning for connection, all of these characters seek meaning in landscapes made uncertain by the voids where parents and lovers should be: a father searches a darkened zoo for his troubled son; in a condemned Kmart, a girl bares her bulletproof vest to the aim of her boyfriend's pistol; a physicist pines for an astronaut trapped on the moon. In other stories, a cancer victim controls a satellite, a sniper trains his scope on the girl of his dreams, and a young woman waits for an Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agent to kick down the doors to her heart. Through thrilling prose and fearless scenes, Johnson shows that Christian power-lifters and depressed robots are no more surreal than fathers who vanish or mothers who waste away.
Publisher: New York : Viking, 2002
ISBN: 9780670030729
0670030724
Characteristics: 245 p. ; 22 cm

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ranXerox
Mar 14, 2012

A decent collection. If you like Lipsyte or Saunders, you'll probably like this. Personally, I'm about up-to-here with insightful, wise and the ultra-ironisms of American teenagers. Like the other authors noted above, Johnson's characters are chiefly limited to uber-awareness or blithe stupidity and frankly, though these types work in short stories for a limited engagement, I'm booking off. Maybe it was the Philip Roth novel I read recently, but the "yearning detachment" left me cold.

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