Winner, 2017 APA Audie Awards - Best Short Story/Collections
A brilliant, inventive debut story collection in the vein of Kevin Wilson and Wells Tower.
Brimming with life and unforgettable voices, the stories in Austin Bunn's dazzling collection explore the existential question: what happens at the end, and what lies beyond it? In the wry but affecting "How to Win an Unwinnable War", a summer class on nuclear war for gifted teenagers turns a struggling family upside down. A young couple's idyllic beach honeymoon is interrupted by terrorism in the lush, haunting "Getting There and Away". When an immersive video game begins turning off in the heartbreaking "Griefer", an obsessive player falls in love with a mysterious player in the final hours of a world.
Told in a stunning range of voices, styles and settings - from inside the Hale-Bopp cult to the deck of a conquistador's galleon adrift at the end of the ocean - the stories in Bunn's collection capture the transformations and discoveries at the edge of irrevocable change. Each tale presents a distinct world, told with deep emotion, energizing language and characters with whom we have more in common that we realize. They signal the arrival of an astonishing new talent in short fiction.
Includes a bonus monologue, "Basement Story".
Bunn is a screenwriter (Kill Your Darlings), former journalist (New York Times Magazine, Wired and elsewhere) and performer, whose work has been performed at The Moth, WBEZ and public radio.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I kept listening and discovered the complex theme
The Brink: Stories by Austin Bunn reminds me of Forest Gump's box of chocolates - "You never know what you're gonna' get." When I started listening to the first story, I almost turned it off. I feared another "Catcher In The Rye" wannabe was coming at me. Fortunately for me, I kept listening and discovered the complex theme of a boy, a family and the world at the 'Brink" told in a way that had me wanting to slap and then kiss a number of the characters, including the world. Another story takes us on a honeymoon to a tropical paradise, and reminds us know how an ordinary person can become extraordinary given the proper mix of timing and circumstance, and how our actions, or lack thereof, can change worlds. Then there's the ship and her crew hundreds of years ago literally on the 'Brink' that is fascinating, beautiful and terrifying, 'the caramel, nut, mint cream' of the book. All of the stories are beautifully written and each has a unique voice and mood and took me on a literary adventure, more than just the boring commute I've experienced lately. It was both fun and, at times, disturbing to experience stories told from 'the other guy's' point of view. Back when I'd watch 'the news' and they'd interview a victim of a crime, and I'd wonder, 'But what about that other guy?" The one who watched it happen, or the person who had to clean up the mess. Some of these stories give you that experience and it's grand. Llight touches of grit and edge burnish the characters without making us want to face palm for them.
The gentle insertion of music that briefly spaces the stories was a very nice addition.
I'm always wary when the author is also the narrator and I have flashbacks of my "Lord Of The Flies" nightmare. But I was relieved and pleasantly surprised by Mr. Bunn. Good job! Amy McFadden, Luke Daniels, Mikael Narramore, Nick Podehl, Ralph Lister and Tanya Eby were all perfectly cast. The gender of the narrator matched each story and made it so much more 'real' and enjoyable. The production, mood and sound quality are perfection.
Audiobook was provided for review by the narrator.
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