How

Geoff Wyss

The Ohio State University Prize in Short Fiction

 

5/07/2012
Fiction/Short Stories (single author)
120 pp. 6x9



$24.95 paper 978-0-8142-5183-6
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Table of Contents

 

“Wyss’ stories, so rich in compassion, so wise about their characters frailties, have the mature amplitude one associates with Catholic writers such as Walker Percy and J. F. Powers. Like those towering 20th century masters, Wyss creates characters in the round: silly, noble, small-minded, happy, cruel, compromised, chagrined and funny, often simultaneously. . . . Wyss’ love of language matches his generous passion for people. In fact, those twin joys can’t be separated in How, and that’s why this slim book ranks with the finest contemporary fiction.” —New Orleans Times-Picayune

“Geoff Wyss will stop you in your tracks with his voice, his humor, and a punch-in-the-gut kind of wisdom. These are portraits of deeply flawed human beings who find themselves on embarrassing and confusing paths. Wyss’s writing has an exuberance about it, an energy and specificity that draws us in and encourages empathy not only for his characters, but for one another.” —Barb Johnson

If every story is born of a question—How did we get here? How do you make your arm do that?—the stories in Geoff Wyss’s How search for answers to the mysteries of an astonishing range of characters. The narrator of “How I Come to Be Here at the GasFast” explains why he hasn’t left a truck stop in the two days since he scratched a winning lottery ticket. In “How to Be a Winner,” a sports consultant browbeats a high school football team with his theory of history and a justification of his failed coaching career. Lost in the mazes they’ve made of themselves, Wyss’s characters search for exits on ground that shifts dizzyingly from humor to pathos, from cynicism to earnestness, from comedy to tragedy, often within the same sentence. Although propelled by a razor-sharp, contemporary voice, Wyss’s stories—many set in a New Orleans unknown to television and tourists—have more in common with Chekhov and O’Connor than with “Treme.”

Geoff Wyss (Facebook) published his first novel, Tiny Clubs, in 2007. His stories have appeared in New Stories from the South 2006 and 2009; Image; Glimmer Train; and Tin House. He lives in New Orleans.


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