TOM BARBASH / Stay Up with Me -- in conversation with McSweeney's Jordan Bass

Thursday, September 12, 2013 - 7:30pm
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 San Francisco Chronicle review

 

 

“One of the most satisfying cover-to-cover short story collections I can remember.” -- Dave Eggers 

 

The stories in Tom Barbash’s evocative and often darkly funny collection explore the myriad ways we try to connect to one another and to the sometimes cruel world around us. The newly single mother in “The Break” interferes with her son’s love life over his Christmas vacation from college. The anxious young man in “Balloon Night” persists in hosting his and his wife’s annual watch-the-Macy’s-Thanksgiving-Day-Parade-floats-be-inflated party, while trying to keep the myth of his marriage equally afloat. “Somebody’s Son” tells the story of a young man guiltily conning an elderly couple out of their home in the Adirondacks, and the young narrator in “The Women” watches his widowed father become the toast of Manhattan’s mid-life dating scene, as he struggles to find his own footing.

The characters in Stay Up with Me find new truths when the old ones have given out or shifted course. In the tradition of classic story writer like John Cheever and Tobias Wolff, Barbash laces his narratives with sharp humor, psychological acuity, and pathos, creating deeply resonant and engaging stories that pierce the heart and linger in the imagination.

 

"Tom Barbash's wise and bittersweet stories map the gulfs between us, and the unexpected connections. I tried to keep track of my favorite one, but it was always the story I'd just finished." -- David Mitchell

 

 

Tom Barbash is the author of the award-winning novel, The Last Good Chance, and the nonfiction book, On Top of the World: Cantor Fitzgerald, Howard Lutnick, and 9/11: A Story of Loss and Renewal, which was a New York Times bestseller. His stories and articles have been published in Tin House, McSweeney’s, VQR, and other publications, and have been performed on National Public Radio for its Selected Shorts Series. He currently teaches in the MFA program at California College of the Arts.

Come have a drink with us all!

 

 

Jordan Bass is the executive editor of McSweeney's Publishing, where he's helped to edit and design dozens of books, both fiction and nonfiction, since 2004.