A book of brilliant, adventurous stories from the award-winning Doug Dorst.
With the publication of his debut novel, Alive in Necropolis, Doug Dorst was widely celebrated as one of the most creative, original literary voices of his generation-an heir to T.C. Boyle and Denis Johnson, a northern California Haruki Murakami. Now, in his second book, The Surf Guru, his full talent is on display, revealing an ability to explore worlds and capture characters that other writers have not yet discovered.
In the title story, an old surfing-champion-turned-surfwear- entrepreneur sits on his ocean-front balcony watching a new generation of surfers come of age on the waves, all but one of whom wear wet suits emblazoned with the Surf Guru's name. An acid-tongued, pioneering botanist who has been exiled from the academy composes a series of scurrilous (and hilarious) biographical sketches of his colleagues and rivals, inadvertently telling his own story. A pair of twenty-first- century drifters course through a series of unusual adventures in their dilapidated car, chased west out of one town and into the next, dreaming of hitting the Pacific.
Dorst's characters have all successfully cultivated a particular expertise, and yet they remain intent on moving toward the horizon, seeking hope in something new. Likewise, each of Dorst's stories is a virtuoso performance balancing humor and insight, achieving a perfect pitch, pulsing with a gritty and punchy, distinctly American realism- and yet always pushing on into the unexpected, taking us some place new.
About the Author
Doug Dorst is the author of three books, most recently the novel S, which he co-authored with J. J. Abrams. He is the author of the novel Alive in Necropolis, which was honored as San Francisco’s 2009 One City One Book selection and as a runner-up for the 2009 PEN/Hemingway, Shirley Jackson, and IAFA/Crawford Awards, and a short story collection, The Surf Guru. His stories have appeared in McSweeney’s, Ploughshares, ZYZZYVA, and other journals. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a three-time Jeopardy! champion, Dorst lives in Austin and teaches writing at Texas State University in San Marcos.
Praise for The Surf Guru…
"The Surf Guru is one of the best collections I've read in years. Formally innovative, full of humor and terror and compassion in equal measure, and spanning an astonishing range of settings and characters, these stories renewed my faith in the short story as an art form. Dorst's work is utterly unique and visionary."
-Dan Chaon, author of Among the Missing and Await Your Reply
"The stories in The Surf Guru are unusual not just for the frequent genius of their conceits, but for the tremendous sympathy they demonstrate toward characters who struggle with love, loneliness, and disappointment. Doug Dorst writes with a big, unbridled imagination and a big, commiserating heart, and the results, by turns devastating and hilarious, are always deeply moving."
-Chris Adrian, author of The Children's Hospital and A Better Angel