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List: A Novel (Paperback)
  • List: A Novel (Paperback)
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List: A Novel (Paperback)

(author)
£18.95
Paperback 224 Pages / Published: 28/02/2014
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In these glimpses of middle America, lists guide the stories - ordering the characters' lives, capturing their obsessions, cataloguing their complaints, accounting for their desires, and serving as prayers toward ways of life that might work.

Here the man, the woman, the boy, and the girl struggle through the home improvement projects, the conflicts at work and school, the job loss, the illesses, and the confrontations with ageing that constitutes their claustrophobic days. Their lives revolve around gadgets, mad cleanliness, bland vans, and deadly entropies that make up the suburban middle class.

The man digression-addled, searches in vain for a screw with which to hang a single print. The woman packs her family off to a water-park vacatio to escape from her illness. The boy starts speaking his mind at school. The girl hangs on behind the scenes. They try to convince themselves something can always change, but the narratives they inhabit prove it can't, it doesn't, things will just keep on, and with a decided list.

List's sections are variations - spare, quietly comic, haunting, and addictively readable - often written in short declarative sentences, and all about gaps, about what isn't said between people, about developments that never transpire, about white spaces on the page that make those absences present.

When all is said and done, List is a curative mix of satire and sympathy. While the stories empty out the ambitions and materialism of the middle class, they also create an emotional landscape replete with the hilarity and humility of very human vulnerability. The great gift of these stories is their alchemy of innovation, judgment and commiseration.

Publisher: The University of Alabama Press
ISBN: 9781573661775
Number of pages: 224
Weight: 308 g
Dimensions: 216 x 140 x 15 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"The fictions comprising Matt Roberson's "List--"spare, comic, haunting, addictively readable--revolve around the gadgets, mad cleanliness, and bland vans unable to hold off the deadly everydaynesses called the suburban middle class. The characters find themselves shell-shocked by the vacant lists their worlds have become. They try to convince themselves something can always change, but the narratives they inhabit prove it can't, it doesn't, things will just keep on keeping on."
--Lance Olsen, author of "Calendar of Regrets"
The fictions comprising Matt Roberson's "List"spare, comic, haunting, addictively readablerevolve around the gadgets, mad cleanliness, and bland vans unable to hold off the deadly everydaynesses called the suburban middle class. The characters find themselves shell-shocked by the vacant lists their worlds have become. They try to convince themselves something can always change, but the narratives they inhabit prove it can't, it doesn't, things will just keep on keeping on.
Lance Olsen, author of "Calendar of Regrets""
The stories in List succeed by mixing the sting of satire with its antidote, a healthy dose of sympathy. While the stories skewer the ambitions and materialistic desires of readers, they also create an emotional landscape replete with the hilarity and humility of human vulnerability. This collection has a heart as big as the great Midwest. Lynne Kilpatrick, author of In the House"
Matthew Roberson's precise and melancholy List anatomizes the thing- and desire-cluttered world of the middle American suburbanite, a Garden of Earthly Delights perpetually overshadowed by precariously balanced piles of tools, diapers, bills, humiliation, toys, death, Xanax, kids, pets, half-finished home improvement projects, Viagra, LPs, nostalgia, and the vague sense that maybe things could still work out. Roberson demonstrates once again that he is a master of contemporary sadness. Michael Mejia, author of Forgetfulness"
The fictions comprising Matt Roberson's Listspare, comic, haunting, addictively readablerevolve around the gadgets, mad cleanliness, and bland vans unable to hold off the deadly everydaynesses called the suburban middle class. The characters find themselves shell-shocked by the vacant lists their worlds have become. They try to convince themselves something can always change, but the narratives they inhabit prove it can't, it doesn't, things will just keep on keeping on.
Lance Olsen, author of Calendar of Regrets"
"The stories in List succeed by mixing the sting of satire with its antidote, a healthy dose of sympathy. While the stories skewer the ambitions and materialistic desires of readers, they also create an emotional landscape replete with the hilarity and humility of human vulnerability. This collection has a heart as big as the great Midwest."--Lynne Kilpatrick, author of In the House
"Matthew Roberson's precise and melancholy List anatomizes the thing- and desire-cluttered world of the middle American suburbanite, a Garden of Earthly Delights perpetually overshadowed by precariously balanced piles of tools, diapers, bills, humiliation, toys, death, Xanax, kids, pets, half-finished home improvement projects, Viagra, LPs, nostalgia, and the vague sense that maybe things could still work out. Roberson demonstrates once again that he is a master of contemporary sadness." --Michael Mejia, author of Forgetfulness
"The fictions comprising Matt Roberson's List--spare, comic, haunting, addictively readable--revolve around the gadgets, mad cleanliness, and bland vans unable to hold off the deadly everydaynesses called the suburban middle class. The characters find themselves shell-shocked by the vacant lists their worlds have become. They try to convince themselves something can always change, but the narratives they inhabit prove it can't, it doesn't, things will just keep on keeping on."
--Lance Olsen, author of Calendar of Regrets

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