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A Kind of Flying: Selected Stories by Ron…
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A Kind of Flying: Selected Stories (original 2003; edition 2003)

by Ron Carlson (Author)

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1005201,309 (4.05)None
Ron Carlson's stories, sometimes wicked or bittersweet, often zany, are rich with a hard-earned hopefulness frequently absent in contemporary fiction. In this generous gathering from collections no longer available, longtime fans and new readers alike can savor the development of a master of idiosyncrasy.Properly celebrated for his range, Carlson offers us a rural sheriff who's wary of UFOs ("Phenomena"), a lawyer on a mission in remote Alaska ("Blazo"), a baseball player turned killer-by-accident ("Zanduce at Second"), and a nineteen-year-old who experiences an unsettling sexual awakening during an Arizona summer ("Oxygen"). Here also is a man accusing Bigfoot of stealing his wife, followed by Bigfoot's incomparable response. Not least of the treasures is "The H Street Sledding Record," a story perfect for family holiday reading, in which a young father creates the magic of Santa by throwing manure on his roof on Christmas Eve.This book proves Carlson's axiom that "a short story is not a single thing done a single way," and it offers us--finally--a full view of his remarkable talents.… (more)
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Title:A Kind of Flying: Selected Stories
Authors:Ron Carlson (Author)
Info:W. W. Norton & Company (2003), 464 pages
Collections:Your library
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Tags:to-read, books-i-own, story-collections-anthologies

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A Kind of Flying by Ron Carlson (2003)

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It has it's moments. Some of the stories are excellent, many are just ok or good. the writing is almost always effortless and flows well. There is a distinct, modern 80's and 90's feel to them- clear, present and ever so slightly cynical or knowingly-jaded. Closing the collection and last pages of the book with a not-very-empathic or thoughtful depiction of sexual assault leaves a bad after-taste. ( )
  reg_lt | Feb 7, 2020 |
I've read a lot of single-author short story collections, and, as with almost any collection, the good ones have their 'wow' moments and their 'meh' moments. Carlson's "A Kind of Flying" is by far the most consistently strong collection of shorts I've read. I'd mark a dozen or so of the entries 'exceptional', and I there's not a single entry that I did not enjoy. Carlson seems quite comfortable in his own skin, and manages to give the sense that he's writing about what he knows, even when he's telling how "Bigfoot Stole My Wife".

Os. ( )
  Osbaldistone | Mar 3, 2014 |
Carlson writes from a decidedly masculine perspective. That's not generally my thing, but some of these stories are really lovely, and "What We Wanted to Do" is one of my all-time favorite shorts. ( )
  KateBond | Sep 20, 2013 |
After reading a couple of Carlson's novels, I wanted to read more of him but I still hesitated before getting this book. Short stories, no matter how well-written, are harder for me to dive into than novels. Reading this collection made me realize why: in many short stories, by the time I figure out who the character truly is and what their motivation is, I've reached the climax of the story and it's a few more pages and on to the next one.

These stories are different. Almost every one of them feels like the guy next door (even when the guy next door happens to be Bigfoot, or in a couple of case is the guy next door's wife) started a conversation with you over the side fence. By the end of the first paragraph you know these folks, and you know their story will take you somewhere you'll remember. From the baseball player who can't lose (Sunny Billy Day) to the man traveling to Alaska in search of a connection with the son he lost years before he died (Blazo); from men aching to become fathers (Life Before Science) or trying to re-establish relations with their wives amid young parenthood (Plan B for the Middle Class), to women struggling with the process of letting go of their teenaged sons (The Status Quo, The Summer of Vintage Clothing)--Carlson brings these characters to life and lets us ride along with them for a while. It's well worth the trip. ( )
  Alirambles | May 3, 2008 |
Carlson's collection that spans tales of early marriage and fatherhood, and then some. He's got a direct, strong, homey voice for his narrators most of the time, and the reader likes the characters (or at least this one does) although they sometimes do terrible things. He also has a penchant for the odd situation, the quick, short narrative that is more of a character sketch. So many echoes of Doug in this work! ( )
  slipstitch | Sep 5, 2006 |
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Ron Carlson's stories, sometimes wicked or bittersweet, often zany, are rich with a hard-earned hopefulness frequently absent in contemporary fiction. In this generous gathering from collections no longer available, longtime fans and new readers alike can savor the development of a master of idiosyncrasy.Properly celebrated for his range, Carlson offers us a rural sheriff who's wary of UFOs ("Phenomena"), a lawyer on a mission in remote Alaska ("Blazo"), a baseball player turned killer-by-accident ("Zanduce at Second"), and a nineteen-year-old who experiences an unsettling sexual awakening during an Arizona summer ("Oxygen"). Here also is a man accusing Bigfoot of stealing his wife, followed by Bigfoot's incomparable response. Not least of the treasures is "The H Street Sledding Record," a story perfect for family holiday reading, in which a young father creates the magic of Santa by throwing manure on his roof on Christmas Eve.This book proves Carlson's axiom that "a short story is not a single thing done a single way," and it offers us--finally--a full view of his remarkable talents.

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