John Goldbach's utterly original debut collection offers funny and penetrating tales of people struggling with faith, addiction, sex and mortality. Written in a fresh and assured style, these stories follow characters through crack-ups, meltdowns and blackouts.
A man faces the existential void as he tries to quit smoking with a self-help book; an overheated cooking show host battles the Cancún sun with increasingly elaborate blender drinks; and small-town teenagers asphyxiate themselves for something to do. Generous and knowing, the eleven stories in Selected Blackouts read with all the strange clarity of coming to.
Praise for Selected Blackouts
"Selected Blackouts illuminates the alternating currents of youthful highs and lows fueled by nicotine and booze and evasive sensuality with occasional sudden sex and attempts to quit all the delightful vices, but vices remain way too delightful. This is sort of Salinger updated, fast-forwarded a few years, and intoxicated, with joyful results."
Josip Novakovich, author of April Fool's Day and Infidelities
"Selected Blackouts is a strong debut, strange and wry and full of offhand beauty. John Goldbach probes the bleakness with subtlety and fresh humor. So choke yourself and pass out. When you wake up, buy this book."
Sam Lipsyte, author of The Subject Steve and Home Land
"A nuanced and unflinching portrait of young men and women is revealed in these brilliant, sometimes caustic stories full of old rivalries and new demons, written with a flawless ear for dialogue and a subtle, intelligent prose that hits the heart with tragic insight every time. Goldbach is who everybody should be reading."
Lee Henderson, author of The Broken Record Technique and The Man Game