Fresh Complaint

Fresh Complaint

Jeffrey Eugenides

Pub date
Fourth Estate
Trade Paperback Demy 135x216mm
304 pages

Book Overview

Jeffrey Eugenides’s bestselling novels have shown that he is an astute observer of the crises of adolescence, sexual identity, self-discovery, family love, and what it means to be an American in our times. The stories in Fresh Complaint continue that tradition. Ranging from the reproductive antics of “Baster” to the wry, moving account of a young traveler’s search for enlightenment in “Air Mail” (selected by Annie Proulx for The Best American Short Stories 1997), this collection presents characters in the midst of personal and national crises. We meet a failed poet who, envious of other people’s wealth during the real-estate bubble, becomes an embezzler; a clavichordist whose dreams of art collapse under the obligations of marriage and fatherhood; and, in “Bronze,” a sexually confused college freshman whose encounter with a stranger on a train leads to a revelation about his past and his future. Narratively compelling, beautifully written, and packed with a density of ideas that belie their fluid grace, Fresh Complaint proves Eugenides to be a master of the short form as well as the long.

About the author

‘What was it about complaining that felt so good? You and your fellow sufferer emerging from a thorough session as if from a spa bath, refreshed and tingling?’


[An] excellent short story collection … Eugenides deploys his pronounced gifts for comedy and characterisation at the same time as he builds an overwhelming atmosphere of suffocation’ Chris Power, Guardian

‘A very good short story writer…they are a breeze to read and Eugenides inhabits each new consciousness with easy confidence’ James Marriott, The Times

‘Enjoyable wry wit that make Fresh Complaint so entertaining … he’s a fine exponent of the satisfying denouement’ Ben East, Observer

‘Eugenides has always been known as a master of prose, a sharp and precise writer whose use of language is second to none (I guess that’s how you bag yourself a Pulitzer Prize!) and it’s wholly evident in this collection of 10 short stories, written over a period spanning almost 30 years…If you want a manageable yet unputtdownable reading experience for the week, it has to be thisSunday Times Style Magazine

‘Deftly drawn sketches … most concern the tribulations of growing older, and the infernal complications of family life as we adjust to the requirements of ever-changing circumstances’ Peter Aspden, Financial Times

‘The collection explores, with particular reference to America, the connection between the inner and outer life, with a suave wit and equanimity that make it deceptively conversationalLiterary Review

There is much to enjoy and admire; notably the fact there’s not a dud in the collection, an achievement that’s harder to pull off that it might seem’ Independent

‘I loved Fresh Complaint, a collection of short stories that chart the vagaries of modern life … witty, elegant and perceptiveRed Magazine

Praise for Jeffrey Eugenides:

‘Eugenides is a big and a big-hearted talent’ Jonathan Franzen

‘Eugenides is blessed with the storyteller’s most magical gift, the ability to transform the mundane into the extraordinary’ New York Times