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Selected Blackouts, John Goldbach (Insomniac)

Debut collection of short stories uncomfortably raw but honest


Full of honest but not overly sentimental emotion, Selected Blackouts is a strong debut collection of short stories based mainly on adolescence and young adulthood. A blackout theme ties the book together subtly but neatly. "How Much Do They Know?" is a painfully detailed interior monologue about romance and secrets within a group of friends, over Christmas dinner. "Wedding" reveals a character simply by describing a reality-TV show through her eyes. Covering territory from blackouts during babysitting jobs to incompatible vegetarianism, bush parties and awkward visits home for the holidays, Goldbach's stories are concise and often uncomfortably raw.

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