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Dangerous Men

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


Geoffrey Becker’s Dangerous Men was selected by Charles Baxter as the winner of the fifteenth annual Drue Heinz Literature Prize. His manuscript was selected from nearly three hundred submitted by published writers.

In these tightly drafted stories, Becker creates a wide variety of distinct voices, peculiar characters, and odd stettings, with tantalizing emphasis on lonliness, loss, and the ever-present struggle to find one’s place in the world. “It was wrong to think that our presence would linger on, though it was to this notion that I realized I’d been grasping all along,” the music-student narrator of “Dangerous Men” says after an evening involving drugs, a fight, and a car accident, “the idea that in some way we were etching ourselves onto the air, leaving shadows that would remain forever.”

Many of the pieces incorporate music into the storyline. Music is a gathering point in his characters’ misfit lives. In “Magister Ludi,” a seventeen-year-old girl meets up with an older local guitarist whom her younger brother has invited over to their house when their parents are gone, and plays him for her own ends: “She makes Riggy drive right through the center of town, hoping that someone will see them - one of her friends, or one of her parents’ friends even, it doesn’t matter. She just likes the idea of being spotted in this beat-up car alongside someone so disreputable.”

In “Erin and Malcom,” a bass player with an injured hand who still lives with his estranged wife, a singer, and her pet ferret, finds out how out of tune his life really is: “Something has gone wrong - he could see it in the way she looked at him over her morning bowl of cereal, and the way she didn’t as she peeled herself out of her Lycra pants and leopard shirts at night.”

Yet , even when the music seems quiet, there are tales of choice and happenstance. “El Diablo de La Cienega,” set in New Mexico, is about a boy who accepts the challenge of a mysterious figure to a game of basketball, for very high stakes indeed. Charles Baxter - one of America’s great story writers - calls the story “a small masterpiece. It has formal perfection, like a folktale. I thought it was wonderful.”

With leaps from the funny to the sad and the revelatory, these amazing stories explore dreams and longing with remarkable insight and imagination. These are stories you will not forget.

From Publishers Weekly

Oct 09, 1995 – Most of the male characters who appear in the 11 stories in this collection--which won the 1995 Drue Heinz Literature Prize--are as dangerous to themselves as they are to others. In the title story, Becker achieves the perfect blend of humor and menace as three tripping teenagers stumble though Boston on the night of Nixon's resignation, undecided about whether to go ``fag''-bashing or do their music homework. Violence--or the threat of it--figures heavily in these stories. In ``Magister Ludi,'' Duney, a straight-laced high-school senior, goes to a quarry for a swim with Riggy, an older musician whom she barely knows; when his pursuit of her threatens to turn forceful, she gets scared until she realizes she can swim circles around him (``she thinks she has never felt more in control in her life''). In ``Taxes,'' Pretzel, a black teenager who runs errands for an elderly Jewish man, must decide whom to defend when his brother tries to rob his employer. On the goofier side, there's ``The Handstand Man,'' in which 30-something Jimi-John Houser tries to save a dying romance by turning the living room of his tiny New York City apartment into a beach. Becker's cast includes aging, struggling musicians, drifters and petty criminals. In smooth, careful prose, he delineates his ethnically diverse characters with lucid empathy and renders moments of their lives taut and compelling.
Dangerous Men
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Fiction & Literature
  • Published: Oct 15, 1995
  • Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
  • Seller: University of Pittsburgh Press
  • Print Length: 176 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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