Monday, April 23, 2007

Pg. 99: "A Circle Is a Balloon and Compass Both"

Today's feature at the Page 99 Test: Ben Greenman's A Circle Is a Balloon and Compass Both.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the author of Superbad and Superworse, a new collection of stories about giving, wanting, and the wonders of love.

A Circle Is a Balloon and Compass Both is a collection of stories about love, the most elusive and problematic of all phenomena. With a mix of traditional, literary prose and bold — some might even say irresponsible — experimentation, Ben Greenman explores the ins and outs of modern romance. Expect tears, nudity, and recrimination.

Both familiar in their humanness and wholly original, these imaginative stories take us all over the map in time, place, and circumstance. From the halfhearted summer affair between a part-time bartender and a married doctor in a Miami hotel to the cryptic pseudo-erotic love letters to a friend who is “more than a friend,” we experience the love of pop songs, the love of cohabitation in Chicago, and love that is so transporting it takes us to the moon — literally.

Among the early praise for the book:

“Just when you think Greenman has thoroughly excavated all available humor, he surprises with a snipe from an unforeseen direction.”
Time Out New York

“[Greenman] is not afraid to attach authentic sentiment and poke around at the poignant. It works, and it works quite well…. He constantly walks a narrative tightrope.”
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“It wouldn’t do not to mention the genius ‘Blurbs,’ which constructs an entire story out of made-up book-critic blurbs, including even one from this publication. Something extraordinary.”
Kirkus (starred review)

Ben Greenman is an editor at The New Yorker. His short fiction has appeared in the Paris Review, Zoetrope: All Story, McSweeney’s, Opium Magazine, the Mississippi Review, and elsewhere.

Visit Greenman's website and hear him read "Black, Gray, Green, Red, Blue: A Letter From a Famous Painter on the Moon" from A Circle Is a Balloon and Compass Both.

The Page 99 Test: A Circle Is a Balloon and Compass Both.

--Marshal Zeringue