“Extraordinary for its craft and emotional effect . . . [Ethan Canin is] a writer of enormous talent and charm.” –The Washington Post
“Character is destiny,” wrote Heraclitus–and in this collection of four unforgettable stories, we meet people struggling to understand themselves and the unexpected turns their lives have taken. In “Accountant,” a quintessential company man becomes obsessed with the phenomenal success of a reckless childhood friend. “Batorsag and Szerelem” tells the story of a boy’s fascination with the mysterious life and invented language of his brother, a math prodigy. In “City of Broken Hearts,” a divorced father tries to fathom the patterns of modern relationships. And in “The Palace Thief,” a history teacher at an exclusive boarding school reflects on the vicissitudes of a lifetime connection with a student scoundrel. A remarkable achievement by one of America’s finest writers, this brilliant volume reveals the moments of insight that illuminate everyday lives.
“Captivating . . . a heartening tribute to the form . . . an exquisite performance.” –The Boston Sunday Globe
“A model of wit, wisdom, and empathy. Chekhov would have appreciated its frank renderings and quirky ironies.” –Chicago Tribune
Ethan Canin is the author of six books, including the story collections Emperor of the Air and The Palace Thief and the novelsFor Kings and Planets and Carry Me Across the Water. He is on the faculty of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and divides his time between Iowa and northern Michigan. He is also a physician.