AN OBSERVER BOOK OF THE YEAR
AN EVENING STANDARD BOOK OF THE YEAR
‘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?’
The first-ever collection of short stories from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jeffrey Eugenides presents characters in the midst of personal and national emergencies.
We meet Kendall, a failed poet who, envious of other people’s wealth during the real estate bubble, becomes an embezzler; and Mitchell, a lovelorn liberal arts graduate on a search for enlightenment; and Prakrti, a high school student whose wish to escape the strictures of her family leads to a drastic decision that upends the life of a middle-aged academic.
Jeffrey Eugenides’s bestselling novels Middlesex, The Virgin Suicides and The Marriage Plot have shown him to be an astute observer of the crises of adolescence, self-discovery and family love. These stories, from one of our greatest authors, explore equally rich and intriguing territory.
Narratively compelling and beautifully written, Fresh Complaint shows all of Eugenides’s trademark humour, compassion and complex understanding of what it is to be human.
About the author
Jeffrey Eugenides was born in Detroit and attended Brown and Stanford Universities. His first novel, The Virgin Suicides, was published to great acclaim in 1993, and he has received numerous awards for his work. In 2003, he received the Pulitzer Prize for his novel Middlesex, which was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and France’s Prix Médicis. The Marriage Plot was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and won both the Prix Fitzgerald and the Madame Figaro Literary Prize. Eugenides is a professor of creative writing in the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton.
- ‘[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’ Guardian
- ‘A very good short story writer…they are a breeze to read and Eugenides inhabits each new consciousness with easy confidence’ The Times
- ‘I adored Fresh Complaint … beautifully written and couldn’t be more topical’ Observer, Books of the Year
- ‘Eugenides has always been known as a master of prose, a sharp and precise writer whose use of language is second to none …If you want a manageable yet unputtdownable reading experience for the week, it has to be this’ Sunday Times Style Magazine
- ‘The ten stories that make up Fresh Complaint, Eugenides first collection, boast a wide range of themes – a collage of the writer’s myriad of interests and voices’ TLS
- ‘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’ Financial Times
- ‘The collection explores the connection between the inner and outer life, with a suave wit and equanimity that make it deceptively conversational’ Literary Review
- ‘These are poignantly told, but it’s the characters who are feeling an emotional lack that make the biggest impact’ Daily Mail
- ‘Jeffrey Eugenides’s beautifully written collection of short stories Fresh Complaint is not only the best thing I’ve read all year – it also couldn’t be more 2017, featuring transgender teenagers, rape allegations on campus and much more besides’ Rohan Silva, Evening Standard, Books of the Year
- ‘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