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Inappropriate Behavior: Stories
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Milkweed Editions 2014
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Description

The characters in Inappropriate Behavior teeter on the brink of sanity, while those around them reach out in support, watch helplessly, or duck for cover. In their loneliness, Murray Farish's characters cast about for a way to connect, to be understood, though more often than not, things go horribly wrong. Some of the characters come from the darkest recesses of American history. In 'Lubbock Is Not a Place of the Spirit,' a Texas Tech student recognizable as John Hinckley, Jr. writes hundreds of songs for Jodie Foster as he grows increasingly estranged from reality. Other characters are recognizable only in the sense that their situations strike an emotional chord. The young couple in 'The Thing About Norfolk,' socially isolated after a cross-country move, are dismayed to find themselves unable to resist sexually deviant urges. And in the deeply touching title story, a couple stretched to their limit after the husband's layoff struggle to care for their emotionally unbalanced young son. Set in cities across America and spanning the last half-century, this collection draws a bead on our national identity, distilling our obsessions, our hauntings, our universal predicament.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
03/17/2014
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781571319029
ASIN:
B00G1SRD82
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Murray Farish. (2014). Inappropriate Behavior: Stories. Milkweed Editions.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Murray Farish. 2014. Inappropriate Behavior: Stories. Milkweed Editions.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Murray Farish, Inappropriate Behavior: Stories. Milkweed Editions, 2014.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Murray Farish. Inappropriate Behavior: Stories. Milkweed Editions, 2014. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Jun 12, 2018 15:28:17
Date Updated:
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        Murray Farish's short stories have appeared in The Missouri Review, Epoch, Roanoke Review, and Black Warrior Review, among other publications. His work has been awarded the William Peden Prize, the Phoebe Fiction Prize, and the Donald Barthelme Memorial Fellowship Prize, among others. Farish lives with his wife and two sons in St. Louis, Missouri, where he teaches writing and literature at Webster University. Inappropriate Behavior is his debut.

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The characters in Inappropriate Behavior teeter on the brink of sanity, while those around them reach out in support, watch helplessly, or duck for cover. In their loneliness, Murray Farish's characters cast about for a way to connect, to be understood, though more often than not, things go horribly wrong. Some of the characters come from the darkest recesses of American history. In 'Lubbock Is Not a Place of the Spirit,' a Texas Tech student recognizable as John Hinckley, Jr. writes hundreds of songs for Jodie Foster as he grows increasingly estranged from reality. Other characters are recognizable only in the sense that their situations strike an emotional chord. The young couple in 'The Thing About Norfolk,' socially isolated after a cross-country move, are dismayed to find themselves unable to resist sexually deviant urges. And in the deeply touching title story, a couple stretched to their limit after the husband's layoff struggle to care for their emotionally...

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fullDescription

The characters in Inappropriate Behavior teeter on the brink of sanity, while those around them reach out in support, watch helplessly, or duck for cover. In their loneliness, Murray Farish's characters cast about for a way to connect, to be understood, though more often than not, things go horribly wrong. Some of the characters come from the darkest recesses of American history. In 'Lubbock Is Not a Place of the Spirit,' a Texas Tech student recognizable as John Hinckley, Jr. writes hundreds of songs for Jodie Foster as he grows increasingly estranged from reality. Other characters are recognizable only in the sense that their situations strike an emotional chord. The young couple in 'The Thing About Norfolk,' socially isolated after a cross-country move, are dismayed to find themselves unable to resist sexually deviant urges. And in the deeply touching title story, a couple stretched to their limit after the husband's layoff struggle to care for their emotionally unbalanced young son. Set in cities across America and spanning the last half-century, this collection draws a bead on our national identity, distilling our obsessions, our hauntings, our universal predicament.

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reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Publishers Weekly
      • content: "The characters in Farish's debut collection react to the erosion of normalcy in myriad ways, from stress to psychosis.... masterful."
      • premium: False
      • source: Elizabeth McCracken
      • content: “The best first collection I have read in years. Darkly funny, heart-wrenching, and altogether brilliant, its pleasures are both old-fashioned--riveting plots, beautiful language--and entirely contemporary: nobody writes better than Farish about the particular anxieties of our time in history. This is a terrific, strange book."
      • premium: False
      • source: Janet Peery, author of The River Beyond the World and What the Thunder Said
      • content:
        "The characters in these gripping and accomplished stories are rough customers--bad company, some of them--hellbent toward outer darkness. With fierce intensity and no slight streak of prophecy, Farish charts the paths they follow through a world gone haywire. These stories will be compared with works by Barry Hannah and Denis Johnson."
      • premium: False
      • source: Ken Kalfus, author of Equilateral
      • content: "Inappropriate Behavior is a collection of lovely surprises: the tartly fresh, felicitous phrase, followed by the astonishing plot turn, and then by the lightning-streaked illumination of character. I think you will like this book."
      • premium: False
      • source: Lee K. Abbott, author of All Things, All at Once
      • content: "A few facts about Murray Farish. First, he is wise, wickedly so, about the betimes corrupted creatures we are and about the hopes that bedevil us, not to mention the whichaway we go through time and the lies we need to tell ourselves when the bogey-men leap out from the shadows. Second, he's a deft and careful a craftsman between margins as you'll find at the keyboard nowadays, his stories models of clarity and design and artistic felicity. Finally, he, as the writer, does all the work so that we, his readers, experience all the pleasure, no matter how crosswise or inappropriate the behaviors found between 'once upon a time' and 'the end.' Do yourself a favor: put some Farish fiction between your ears."
      • premium: False
      • source: T. M. McNally, author of Low Flying Aircraft, winner of the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction, and The Goat Bridge
      • content: "Farish writes with a fiercely humanistic and moral rigor: we suffer together; we live together. We want, each of us, to be happy. There are scenes here that will still your heart with the quiet beauty of their soul-wisdom. The heartbreaking and beautifully constructed title story is the most authentic treatment of the Great Recession that I have read yet. Meticulous, richly detailed, and openly generous to the lives of the emotionally and socially displaced--these stories are the gift of a serious and electric talent."
      • premium: False
      • source: Eric Lundgren, author of The Facades
      • content: "Murray Farish is up to something risky in Inappropriate Behavior. Set in the marginal cities and simmering towns of the south and midwest, the fictions anchor themselves in startling images: a man crawling across a corporate parking lot, a married couple raptly watching a teenage girl's window, a diner waitress walking away from a car wreck. In a voice that is by turns funny, incisive, and lyrical, Farish plumbs the peculiar darknesses of American history and private life--these stories are nocturnal expeditions that leave an afterglow."
      • premium: False
      • source: Sarah Bagby, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kansas
      • content: "Interesting and accomplished, this collection of stories explores the intersection of abhorrent behavior and the facade of ordinary life. Murray has mastered the short story and this collection is solid--not a weak one in the bunch."
      • premium: False
      • source: Pierre Camy, Schuler Books, Grand Rapids, MI
      • content: "As the title suggests, this collection of short stories deals with what our society considers "inappropriate behavior," whether it be obsessive, cruel or violent. The stories, with characters ranging from irate co-workers to crazy college students with guns, are all the more disturbing and powerful as they describe situations that are far from the ordinary. Farish delivers a superb observation of contemporary America where the border between sanity and insanity is tenuous and blurry at best."
      • premium: False
      • source: Nancy Simpson-Brice, Book Vault, Oskaloosa, Iowa
      • content: "What is your "inappropriate behavior" of choice? Debut author Murray Farish, in this hip collection of stories, exposes an America living on the edge--the edge of the law, the edge of grief, the edge of society. Portraying characters who appear as real as a next-door neighbor, each unique story will make you wonder just what is happening behind closed doors. Highly original and focused on the unusual,...
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        December 16, 2013
        The characters in Farish’s debut collection react to the erosion of normalcy in myriad ways, from stress to psychosis. “The Passage,” the first and strongest story, is about a student setting off on a freighter from New Orleans to study in France, joined by a mysterious cabinmate. With its ambitious stab at deep U.S. insecurities, this short, shattering story sets a high bar that the rest of the collection struggles to reach. Another successful story, “The Thing About Norfolk,” is a tale of ghosts and erotic obsession that works beautifully—up until the too-blatant conclusion. “Mayflies,” about an aging waitress’s attempt to save a young woman from a circumscribed life, is also a standout. A corporate cog tells of his workplace’s decent into chaos in “Ready for Schmelling,” which, despite inspired moments, reads like a sketch waiting to be expanded; and “Lubbock Is Not a Place of the Spirit,” an attempt to get inside the head of John Hinckley Jr., who attempted to assassinate President Reagan in 1981, feels like a stunt. Farish is at his best—and in the case of the “The Passage,” he’s masterful—in the stories in which the cracks are just beginning to form in the facade of normal life.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        February 1, 2014
        Edgy writing in an unnerving collection of short fiction. The title sets the tone for these stories, as each confronts some facet of inappropriate behavior, whether in the reader's opinion or in the judgment of posterity. Several of the stories focus on historical figures before they gained their notoriety, people we would most likely not want to encounter in daily life. Lee Harvey Oswald is here, as is John Hinckley Jr., the attempted assassin of President Ronald Regan. David Ferrie, the odd informant tied by some to the JFK conspiracy, also makes a visit in the hallucinations of a damaged high school girl. Though well-done, the best of the lot are those created from pure imagination. Farish works best when he is left to his own devices. "Ready for Schmelling" is a strange and humorous account of life in a large corporation that touches the absurd and hints of Kafka. He mixes farcical comedy in "The Thing about Norfolk" with true anguish in the disappointment of small-town life in "Mayflies." Violence haunts these pages, and insanity is the ghost in the machine. The titular story is almost a tour de force on the state of young American families facing unemployment, medical costs, the inability of social institutions to handle specific human problems, and the anxiety of coping with a behaviorally disturbed son in the face of all these obstacles. Almost. Its penultimate section is a steady barrage of questions about life and substance in America that generates frightening momentum as it moves over several pages. Stop there. It loses its punch with the actual ending. This collection of stories is intriguing but misses as standout fiction through uneven writing and trying too hard to be oddly curious.

        COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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