Scott Snyder's protagonists inhabit a playfully deranged fictional world in which a Wall Street trader can find himself armed with a speargun, guarding a Dumpster outside a pawnshop in Florida; or an employee at Niagara Falls (his job: watching for jumpers) will take off in a car after a blimp in which his girlfriend has escaped. But in Snyder's wondrous imagination there's a thin membrane between the whimsical and the disturbing: the unlikely affair between a famous actress--in hiding after surgery--and a sporting goods salesman takes an ominous turn just as she begins to heal; an engaged couple's relationship is fractured when one of them becomes obsessed with an inmate at the women's prison next door. Dark, funny, powerful, this debut collection underscores the remarkable gifts of a fiercely original young writer. From the Hardcover edition.
Happy fish, plus coin
The star attraction of 1919.
"Snyder's delightfully deranged world contains characters living a circuslike existence. Crammed with acrobatic imaginings, the stories in this collection blur the line between the absurd and the profane. In one tale, a young man mistakenly crashes his two-seater plane into a farmhouse wedding and takes off with the bride; in another a loner captures the affection of a famous star whose face is a mass of bruises and cuts. Blue Yodel follows a bereft Niagara Falls jumper watch guard in hot pursuit of his fiancee, who has taken off in a blimp across the vast middle states. In Happy Fish plus Coin, a trust-fund runaway meets an inspirational speaker who, like a cat with nine lives, keeps surviving horrendous accidents. Blimps, walkie-talkies, and metal detectors take on whimsical yet potent meaning. The dialogue is snappy, the characters sharp, and the story lines consuming, offering, at every turn, a new twist from the predictable, not unlike that of The Confessions of Max Tivoli (2004). Snyder is masterful, and the fact that he draws on uniquely American symbols, stories, and songs makes Voodoo Heart outstanding and unusual, and a spectacular debut. --Emily Cook Copyright 2006 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"Reading Scott Snyder's accomplished first story collection, Voodoo Heart, is a little like watching a magician pull rabbits out of a hat. No matter how many times you've seen the trick performed, you still marvel that someone has figured out not only how to do it but, more important, how to persuade the audience that no one has ever done it exactly that way before. Snyder's particular sleight of hand enables him to make the unlikely seem disturbingly familiar; he bends and stretches the laws of ordinary causality just enough so that, when his narratives snap back, there's a twang that reverberates after the final line. His protagonists are young romantics worried about the conflict between authenticity and adventurousness, torn between a self-protective longing for solitude and a longing for some deeper loyalty to another human being. What they mistake for life-changing passion may turn out to be simple-and terrible-misunderstanding, and a chance encounter may initiate a chain of events that will alter them forever. Many reside just outside odd or intentional communities (a boot camp for troubled teens, a summer haven for overweight kids) in which they take an almost anthropological interest. Others are in transit or in flight, reluctant to confront that what looked like a whimsical job opportunity or a brief vacation from ordinary life may in fact be a permanent dead end. In the title story, a young couple renovates an abandoned Florida mansion that borders on a women's prison-a proximity that intensifies the hero's most secret and desperate concerns about his true nature. In another tale, an equally conflicted young man meets a celebrity convalescing from drastic plastic surgery and becomes involved in a meteoric affair that flames out as her recovery changes his sense of what it means to be injured. In "Dumpster Tuesday," a guy who seems to have everything (or just enough) loses it all when his girlfriend leaves him for a brain-damaged, improbably charismatic country singer, and in "About Face," a trumpet player working at a juvenile detention center learns a painful lesson about illness, compassion and the mysteries of sex. Suffused with sly humor, sympathy and high spirits, the stories in Voodoo Heart are giddy with the thrill of discovering what can be done with words, what you can make happen on the page. The result is as irreducible and rewarding as making playing cards disappear or pulling gold coins out of thin air. Francine Prose's most recent book is Caravaggio: Painter of Miracles. Her new book, Reading like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and Those Who Want to Write Them will be published in the fall. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
|| New York :Dial Press,2006
278 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm