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Fun with Problems by Robert Stone
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Fun with Problems

by Robert Stone

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865207,180 (3.58)2

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Showing 5 of 5
The title of this collection comes from a quote "from a rehab video." The common thread of these stories is addiction. Drink, drugs, power. The characters are beyond fun, but have plenty of problems.

The stories are insightful, moving, and well-written. But almost never fun. ( )
  Hagelstein | Jan 7, 2011 |
leaves you wanting more

7.10 ( )
  aletheia21 | Jul 12, 2010 |
The stories in Robert Stone's newest collection, aptly titled Fun with Problems, run the gamut from west coast to east coast, from the drug-addled dregs of society to the troubled lives of dot-com millionaires. Stone's characters are equally at home listening to Mahler and alluding to Shakespeare as they are prone to drug-induced misbehavior and drunken rages. Lucy, the impulsive, self-destructive protagonist of High Wire, one of the strongest stories in the collection, could be speaking for all of Stone's characters when she describes herself as "in difficulty."

Stone's style is unrelentingly raw and testosterone-pumped. While potentially off-putting to some, I found Stone's writing to be refreshingly different from the norm, if occasionally overindulgent. Some of Stone's meltdown scenes—and there are many of them—stretch credulity (would the Secretary of Defense really lose his mind over a disparaging comment?). But, for the most part, Stone powerfully portrays humanity at its nadir. Certainly, these are not uplifting or hopeful stories. Rather, they seek to shed light on our darkest instincts and desires, and, on this point, they succeed magnificently.

This review also appears on my blog Literary License. ( )
1 vote gwendolyndawson | Dec 13, 2009 |
Showing 5 of 5
No book is for everyone, but some books can be fully taken in only when the reader is ready. “Fun With Problems” is a book for grown-ups, for people prepared to absorb the news of the world that it announces, for people both grateful and a little uneasy in finding a writer brave enough to be the bearer.
 
“Fun With Problems” is a grab-bag collection that’s full of Mr. Stone’s liabilities as a writer, with only a glimpse here and there of his strengths.
 
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0618386254, Hardcover)

In Fun with Problems, Robert Stone demonstrates once again that he is "one of our greatest living writers" (Los Angeles Times). The pieces in this new volume vary greatly in length—some are almost novellas, others no more than a page—but all share the signature blend of longing, violence, black humor, sex and drugs that has helped Stone illuminate the dark corners of the human soul. Entire lives are laid out with remarkable precision, in captivating prose: a screenwriter carries on a decades-long affair with a beautiful actress, whose descent into addiction he can neither turn from nor share; a bored husband picks up a mysterious woman only to find that his ego has led him woefully astray; a world-beating Silicon Valley executive receives an unwelcome guest at his mansion in the hills; a scuba dive guides uneasy newlyweds to a point of no return. Fun with Problems showcases Stone's great gift: to pinpoint and make real the impulses--by turns violently coercive and quietly seductive--that cause us to conceal, reveal, and betray our very selves.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:45 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A volume of short works includes the stories of a screenwriter's decades-long affair with a drug-addicted actress, a Silicon Valley executive who receives an unwelcome guest, and a scuba diver who guides uneasy newlyweds to a point of no return.

» see all 2 descriptions

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