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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »Greetings from the Vodka Sea«

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Greetings from the Vodka Sea

Goose Lane Editions


Greetings from the off-kilter world of Chris Gudgeon. In his first-ever book of fiction, the bestselling author of The Naked Truth: The Untold History of Sex in Canada offers postcard glimpses into the quirky private lives of unusually twisted characters. A prim English bride honeymooning near the so-called Vodka Sea learns the hard way why it's better not to drink the water in foreign parts. A chess-playing doctor loses his wife to a charismatic psychologist during a sensuous group sex session masquerading as therapy. A social climbing adulterer contemplates the seduction of a middle-aged woman he once loved but who may now expose him. Personal histories rub up against present relationships. Paths cross, whether by accident or design. Polished veneers hide deeper truths. Bitterly funny and filled with lusty, rueful, comical, calculating, and even affectionate sex, Gudgeon's eleven cosmopolitan stories explore the chasm between loving and being loved in return. Life's randomness is offset by dark comedy and by an eerily familiar synchronicity.

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"Greetings from the Vodka Sea contains stories so unique that it's near impossible to draw them under one clean phrase... If you were to take your strangest obsession or most bizarre experience and put it on steroids, you would have a story for this book."

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"Although direct and unflashy on the surface, [they] have an edgy, sexually charged quality and an amoral point of view that can make the reader uncomfortable in an interesting way... an emotional dread that reminds me of the fiction of Paul Bowles... [Gudgeon] has some fascinating emotional territory to investigate."

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Ever since his first piece of fiction was published 25 years ago in the small literary magazine Thrust, Chris Gudgeon has been honing his literary craft. Although his influences range from Will Self and Tibour Smith to fifteenth-century Japanese pornography, Chris Gudgeon has written, in this instance, a collection of stories with subtle echoes of Kurt Vonnegut. In addition to The Naked Truth, Chris Gudgeon's works of non-fiction include An Unfinished Conversation: The Life and Music of Stan Rogers and The Luck of the Draw: True Life Tales of Lottery Winners and Losers, both national bestsellers, and Out of This World, a controversial biography of the poet Milton Acorn. A resident of Victoria, Chris Gudgeon writes regularly for radio, television, film, and print publications as diverse as Mad, the Globe and Mail, Canadian Wildlife, and Playboy.

 
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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »Song of Kosovo«

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Song of Kosovo

Goose Lane Editions


Some days, it doesn't pay to be a lapsed pretend Buddhist . . . particularly when you're charged with a lengthy list of war crimes. Vida Zankovic has done many things to stay alive. A wily young man caught in the insanity of the Balkan wars, Vida has dealt drugs, been forced to join the army, and then deserted when he tried to save a young boy trapped beneath a mountain of corpses. Being accused of genocide, however, forces Vida into a whole new level of surrealism. In Song of Kosovo, Chris Gudgeon exposes the universal human experience like never before, fashioning a satirical world where one earns a following as a levitating holy man while the US Air Force drops "bombs" of condoms, candy, and Ikea pillows to subvert the populace. Weaving strands of Balkan mythology and history, threading them through the life of a man who only wnats to live out his days with the woman he loves, Gudgeon crafts a tanscendent tale at once grotesque and absurd, satiric and tragic, touching and real. As much Catch-22 as De Niro's Game, Song of Kosovo is a unique examination of how ideas may rise above reality to drive world events and how a nation caught in the grip of conflict may ultimately earn a sense of itself.

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"Riotously funny."

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"Wow! I had no idea that Gudgeon was a Serbian name, but after reading Song of Kosovo, I almost believe it is. Zavida Zanković is a character you'll never forget. Chris Gudgeon skilfully brings his voice to life, singing the funny but sad "Song of Kosovo" to his elusive muse Nexhmije Gjinushi. Now there's a name that will trip most tongues."

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"A sly, frequently amusing and penetrating distillation of estrangement and social chaos set during the Balkan wars of the late 1990s ... This is not an attempt to reproduce the tragedy of war with documentary zeal; rather it is a literary journey emboldened by wit and artifice, a perfectly executed literary conceit."

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"Song of Kosovo is half galloping Bildungsroman, half treatise on the fraught interplay of truth, lies, and myth in what we end up calling history. ... One night, as the bombs fall on Belgrade before Zavida is kidnapped into service, his girlfriend asks him why they are still fighting. His answer: "Because the Americans and Russians ... are still in a pissing match, and Kosovo is their urinal." The moment pinpoints the novel's rage against corrupt leaders and global power plays, while the little people continue to die in their beds, their streets, and their barnyards."

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"A richly layered story of memory and its myths, of love and loss, with a vein of dark humour running through it. Soaked in history and deeply ironic. Splendid!"

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"What the author has created is not a work of documentary realism, but rather a collection of sense impressions of a country and a people undergoing catastrophic suffering. But Song of Kosovo is not a nihilistic book. By rejecting the dictates of strict reportage and producing instead an impressionistic work that combines history, myth, and legend. Gudgeon has written something that cleaves closer to emotional reality than naturalism ever could. The novel is tough, mordantly funny, but, above all, honest."

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"Song of Kosovo is a remarkable first novel. ... Chris Gudgeon has written a fever dream of a book ... It is exhilarating to see a new Canadian novelist attempt a work this ambitious. ... He has uncannily captured the tone of a European novel in translation. The nearest Canadian parallel might be Jack Hodgins' rollicking magic realism in The Invention of the World. There are also echoes of that great 18th-century picaresque, Tristram Shandy."

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Ever since his first piece of fiction was published 25 years ago in the small literary magazine Thrust, Chris Gudgeon has been honing his literary craft. Although his influences range from Will Self and Tibour Smith to fifteenth-century Japanese pornography, Chris Gudgeon has written, in this instance, a collection of stories with subtle echoes of Kurt Vonnegut. In addition to The Naked Truth, Chris Gudgeon's works of non-fiction include An Unfinished Conversation: The Life and Music of Stan Rogers and The Luck of the Draw: True Life Tales of Lottery Winners and Losers, both national bestsellers, and Out of This World, a controversial biography of the poet Milton Acorn. A resident of Victoria, Chris Gudgeon writes regularly for radio, television, film, and print publications as diverse as Mad, the Globe and Mail, Canadian Wildlife, and Playboy.

 
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