Heads up, fans of Kevin Wilson and Wells Tower–Here’s a debut story collection out of the George Saunders school of “slap you awake” imaginative fiction. The scenarios are wide-ranging, grounded in the everyday about almost immediately veering into the fantastical and absurd as a way of revealing our humanity in a fresh light. They are dark, wildly inventive, with a wide range of voices and startling perspectives.
Bunn’s stories have been published in The Atlantic, The Pushcart Prize and Best American Fantasy. He is probably best known as the screenwriter of Kill Your Darlings, a film about the young Allen Ginsberg and starring Daniel Radcliffe.
“Bunn’s debut story collection mixes genres and styles in 10 ambitious, impressive tales. Among the strongest are “Getting There & Away”—a near perfect story that involves a honeymoon, a lost ring, an explosion, and the Bali nightlife—and “Ledge,” concerning a ship in the late 15th century that discovers the literal end of the Earth and a passageway between the living and the dead…. This is a compelling collection, and several of the stories are breathtaking.”
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
The isolated, often sexually charged characters in Bunn’s shimmering debut collection seek to shed the detritus of their insufferable existence for a fresh beginning, only to find the struggle to attain a new life even more challenging. Humorous and affirming… Each of Bunn’s 10 stories is permeated by a comic sense of the inevitable hope in a future even his characters know is unlikely.”
“In this wide-ranging collection, characters must cope with changing, hazardous landscapes and wrestle with fundamental truths about themselves. The stories in Bunn’s collection are a disparate bunch, ranging from realistic period pieces to studies of intimacy and sexuality to fundamentally altered takes on history….Some of this collection’s most impressive moments come when delving into emotionally messy terrain. The protagonists of ‘Everything, All at Once’ and ‘Curious Father’ deal with the implosions of their marriages in very different ways: in the case of the former, via investigating her mother’s romantic history; in the case of the latter, via a late-in-life reckoning with his sexuality. Bunn’s compelling stories are at their best when navigating chaotic landscapes, whether emotional or literal.
— Kirkus Reviews
The Brink: Stories (9780062362612) by Austin Bunn. $14.99 trade paperback original. 4/28/15 on sale.