Into the Great Wide Open

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Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, 1996 - Fiction - 244 pages
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Building on the success ofA Stranger in This World, the widely praised collection of stories that was one of the most exciting literary debuts of recent years, Kevin Canty has written a blistering, unforgettable first novel. Set in the sprawl of suburbia, with its shattered families and hollow lives, Into the Great Wide Open is the story of two young people fleeing their families' emotional abandonment to find refuge in each other. Smart but scarred, Kenny Kolodny yearns to awake from the nightmare of his smashed-up family: his mother is in an institution and forever away; his father is an abusive alcoholic; his brother lives abroad. Seventeen and alone, he hangs on the periphery of his world, until he makes a passionate connection with the troubled, beautiful, fiercely independent Junie Williamson. Kenny discovers in their highly charged, intensely erotic relationship a reality--and a capacity for caring--he has not known before. In prose startling for its diamond-hard edges and bravura lyricism, Kevin Canty revives the heady carnival of adolescence, evoking its confusing emotional landscape and its heightened sensuality, too soon lost. Into the Great Wide Open is a haunting, mesmerizing novel by a writer of deep sensitivity and undeniable talent. From the Hardcover edition.

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Into the great wide open

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If there were resumes for dysfunction, Kenny Kolodny's would read fairly typically. His mother is in a mental institution, and his father has a serious drinking problem. All of this leads Kenny to ... Read full review


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About the author (1996)

Kevin Canty teaches fiction writing at the University of Montana.

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