A Stranger in this World

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Doubleday, 1994 - Fiction - 180 pages
47 Reviews
A Stranger in This World marks the debut of a powerful new talent. With a voice akin to those of Denis Johnson and Richard Ford, westerner Kevin Canty is a versatile and intelligent writer whose stories both shock and transfix. In this extraordinary collection, he portrays - with frightening calm - the unpredictable darkness of everyday life.
Canty describes territory we all know well, but with a twist; his characters live on the verge of the unthinkable. Each voice rings unforgettably true: in "Pretty Judy," a young boy is caught in an obsessive sexual relationship with a mentally retarded neighbor; in "The Victim," a telephone sales operator's chance encounter with a deranged drunken driver leads her and her boyfriend to unimaginable actions. From the misadventures of an alcoholic plant worker trying to go straight ("Junk") to a stoned suburban lifeguard whose fantasies about a Mrs. Robinson-like older woman almost result in tragedy ("Blue Boy"), in this gripping and original collection Canty invites the reader into an uncharted world of risk-taking and danger.
Disturbing yet compellingly readable, these stories explore the gap between disappointment and hope, between life as it could be and life as it is, between - as the narrator of "The King of the Elephants" sees it - a horizon "full of Western stars, cold and distinct," and "this mottled, milky Southern sky."

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Review: A Stranger in This World: Stories

User Review  - Jason - Goodreads

This is a great collection of stories. Like all the so-called "dirty realists" much of the writing is spare, much of it deals with outsiders and the downtrodden. Yet these stories will surprise you in ... Read full review

Review: A Stranger in This World: Stories

User Review  - Goodreads

A powerful, beautiful collection of stories so searingly sad that it makes you wonder how the protagonists manage to keep themselves afloat at all. In this world there's no cheap grace, and possibly ... Read full review

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About the author (1994)

Kevin Canty is teacher at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

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