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Best known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer (also available in Vintage paperback), Steven Millhauser has always been most at home with the short story. This new collection of twelve stories puts his rich and varied talents on dazzling display, demonstrating why this singular writer is acclaimed as one of the most subtle, magical, and penetrating explorers of the American imagination.
Whether chronicling the phastasmagoric excesses of an amusement park entrepreneur in "Paradise Park," or the dangerously addictive delights of the largest department store ever conceived in "The Dream of the Consortium," Millhauser's fictions explore not only the magnificent obsessions of the unfettered imagination, but also the darker, subterranean desires that fuel them. From the odd corners of life that persist below the sunlit world in "Beneath the Cellars of Our Town," to views from the heavens in "Flying Carpets" and "Balloon Flight, 1870," he takes us on a tour beyond the everyday, to realms we recognize only in dreams.
In "The Way Out," an illicit affair leads an exhausted lover into a sunrise appointment with death. In "Claire de Lune" and "The Sisterhood of Night," he magically evokes the enigmatic otherness of the adolescent soul. Like the knife thrower in the title story, Millhauser's fictions beguile and beckon us into hitherto unexplored realms, where spectral truths, enchanting vistas, and the mysteries of art await us.