Music Through the Floor (eBook)


With Music Through the Floor, Pushcart Prize winner and former Wallace Stegner Fellow Eric Puchner makes an extraordinary debut: a collection of nine unforgettable stories -- strikingly original, fiercely funny, and quietly heartbreaking -- portraying a group of cultural misfits attempting to navigate mainstream America.

Lost, teetering on the edge of normalcy, Puchner's characters seek to define themselves in a frequently absurd and hostile world -- a world that threatens to make outcasts of us all. Caught up in loneliness or solitude, they can't quite hear the music of their own lives.

In "Children of God," a young loner becomes the caretaker and companion for two mentally retarded men, seeking solace in their outsider status. "Essay #3: Leda and the Swan" is told in the forlorn, be-nighted, and tragically funny voice of a high school girl who longs more than anything to be loved. In "Mission," an idealistic ESL teacher is faced with the inscrutable wrath of one of his immigrant students. And in the unsettling "Child's Play," Puchner explores the price of nonconformity by following a pack of boys wreaking havoc on Halloween.

Writing from an impressive range of perspectives -- men and women, children and adults, immigrants and tourists -- Puchner deftly exposes the dark, ten-der undersides of his characters with arresting beauty and precision. Here are people fumbling for identity in a depersonalized world, captured in moments that are hilarious, shocking, and transcendent -- sometimes all at once. Unfailingly true, surprisingly moving, and impossible to forget, these nine stories mark the arrival of a brilliant young writer and one of our most promising literary voices.

About the Author

Eric Puchner is an assistant professor of literature at Claremont McKenna College.  He has received a Pushcart Prize and a National Endowment for the Arts grant.  His short story collection, Music Through the Floor, was a finalist for the NY Public Library’s Young Lions Award.  He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, novelist Katharine Noel, and their children.

Praise for Music Through the Floor…

"Riveting...In this melodious collection, Puchner proves to be uncannily in tune with the heartbreak and absurdity of domestic life."

-- Los Angeles Times

"An awe-inspiring debut that introduces readers to Puchner's great strength: the ability to chronicle the oddest of behaviors with a humane, unsparing voice."

-- Entertainment Weekly

"Stories with style, heft, and real endings...Puchner puts the story back in short story."

-- San Francisco Chronicle Book Review

"This is the most auspicious debut of a short story collection that I have encountered in years....If there is any justice left in the world, this book will be widely read and celebrated."

-- Charles Baxter, author of The Feast of Love and Saul and Patsy

"Music Through the Floor is a compendium of everything we hope for from current fiction, delivered with a singular wit, energy, and ecstasy unique to Puchner's prose. The stories are infectious and irresistible, as if he's channeling Tristram Shandy, Dostoevsky, and South Park all at once."

-- ZZ PACKER, author of Drinking Coffee Elsewhere

Product Details ISBN-13: 9781416559764
Published: Scribner, 10/25/2005
Language: en