By Stephen Dixon

Stephen Dixon's tales and novels have an unique, instantly recognizable sound and believe –a bizarre combination of Franz Kafka and Frank Capra. Readers of his earlier paintings will locate in 14 Stories that very same wry, creative, knife-edged humor that has come to signify his unique variety. With an adroit use of language and a willing eye for the quirky, offbeat facet of human nature, Dixon creates a global as considered via a fish-eye lens–slightly distorted and off-center, but recognizable and infrequently familiar.

14 Stories is a component comedy, half tragedy, half social remark and half spoof. yet so much of all it's a hugely wonderful sequence of all-too-plausible vignettes that indicates off Stephen Dixon's outstanding expertise at its most sensible.

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Sample text

My fleet. I'm glad you asked me that," Boo Boo said, and started to lower herself into the dinghy. " Lionel ordered, but without giving over to shrillness, and keeping his eyes down. " Boo Boo's foot was already touching the bow of the boat. She obediently drew it back up to pier level. " She got back into her Indian squat. " Lionel's answer was complete, but, again, not loud enough. " said Boo Boo. " Boo Boo, keeping her eyes steadily on the boy, said nothing for a full minute. "I'm sorry to hear it," she said, finally.

She then blew a note on her pitch-pipe, and the children, like so many underage weightlifters, raised their hymnbooks. They sang without instrumental accompaniment--or, more accurately in their case, without any interference. Their voices were melodious and unsentimental, almost to the point where a somewhat more denominational man than myself might, without straining, have experienced levitation. A couple of the very youngest children dragged the tempo a trifle, but in a way that only the composer's mother could have found fault with.

Really? " "Heavens, no. I'm going to sing jazz on the radio and make heaps of money. " She touched the top of her soaking-wet head with the flat of her hand. " she asked. I said I'd been through it on the train a few times but that I didn't really know it. I offered her a piece of cinnamon toast. "No, thank you," she said. " I bit into a piece of toast myself, and commented that there's some mighty rough country around Ohio. "I know. An American I met told me. " Her governess was now urgently signalling her to return to her own table--in effect, to stop bothering the man.

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