Jungle Wedding: Stories

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W. W. Norton & Company, 1999 - Fiction - 217 pages
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Few writers of fiction have demonstrated so early in their career such a firm grasp of the forms disaster can take as Joseph Clark does in Jungle Wedding. Fewer still have been able to balance their unnerving feeling for apocalypse with an equally unerring sense of the possibilities for grace and transcendence, however provisional.

In the title story a cutting-edge video artist is hired to document a shamanistic New Age wedding ceremony deep in the Central American jungle — and gets far more than he bargained for. In "Public Burning" a sociological experiment in the study and surveillance of an "average" American spirals down into a literally incendiary conclusion. "Wild Blue" is a tour de force narrative of one man's collision with the scarily dysfunctional American armed forces of the 1970s.

Other stories in Jungle Wedding hold out possibilities for communion, reconciliation, and absolution. In "Revenge" emotional rescue for a psychologically besieged divorcée arrives in the form of a clearly too-young lust object, while "Oasis" stages a haunting father-daughter reunion in terrain reminiscent of a Sam Shepard play. Whatever his subject, Clark stakes out his territory with an imaginative authority and vigor of language that is truly exciting.
 

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Contents

Jungle Wedding J
15
Public Burning fc
65
At Last the Ark 7
89
Random Access??
101
The LotusEater J
135
Beltway Dostoyevsky z 9 7
209
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About the author (1999)

Joseph Clark lives in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, with his wife, the poet Aliki Barnstone. A graduate of Bennington College, Clark has published stories in Story, GQ, Playboy, and Zoetrope.

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