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Johnny too bad : stories /
John Dufresne.
1st ed.
New York : W.W. Norton & Co., c2005.
xiv, 247 p.
More Details
New York : W.W. Norton & Co., c2005.
contents note
Lemonade and Paris buns -- I will eat a piece of the roof and you can eat the window -- You're at Macy's, killing time, when it hits you -- Based on a true story -- Epithalamion -- Electric limits of our widest senses -- Arlis & Ivy -- The dead of night -- Talk talk talk -- Congratulations, you may already be -- Johnny too bad -- Around the world -- Who are they who are like clouds? -- Breaking it down for you -- Close by me forever -- Died and gone to heaven -- Lefty -- Squeeze the feeling.
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A Look Inside
This item was nominated for the following awards:
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2005-01-01:
This latest from Dufresne (Louisiana Power & Light) is a novella intertwined with several short stories conceivably written by the narrator himself. Johnny's life is complicated by his dog, Spot, who rambunctiously steals the neighbor's Barbie doll, breaks up a dog party in the park, and bites the veterinarian, and by his relationship with Annick, which starts to fall apart as a hurricane approaches their Florida community. A woman he meets in a bar tells him that her affair with a married man has ended in his death, an event related in the next story. Other stories focus on love and hope: a woman in love with her boss agrees to marry an alien for money, and a trucker can't find a place to rest on his drive to his parent's home. In the end, the stories are intriguing, the characters worth knowing, and the adventures of John and Spot comical and moving. Recommended for larger fiction collections.-Joshua Cohen, Mid-Hudson Lib. Syst., Poughkeepsie, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2004-11-29:
A smalltown policeman obsessed with a crime of passion; a hyperactive hound who prefers a Barbie to a bone. The vagaries of man and beast are fodder for acclaimed novelist Dufresne (Louisiana Power & Light, etc.) in his energetic second collection. Southern Florida is the setting, a place whose sultry clime seems to foster off-kilter displays. (Indeed, Dufresne's relentlessly skewed perspective means these 18 stories are best savored over the course of several days.) Florida is "tough on fiction writers," says the narrator of "Squeeze the Feeling." "How do you compete with daily life?" Dufresne writes of the betrayals that level romantic relationships, wondering how "you could go from finishing each other's sentences to not talking for twenty years." In the 18 linked entries of the title story, a woman has a love child with Bigfoot, a dog named Spot performs Shakespeare (sort of: he runs for the door when an ersatz Lady Macbeth rubs her hands and orders him "out") and two lovers wait out a tornado by curling up in a tub. "Life doesn't get any sweeter when you grow up," laments betrayed husband Rance in "Talk, Talk, Talk." But in the writings of Dufresne, whose tales are marinated in melancholy and sprinkled with wit, it is the piquant nature of the journey that keeps readers engaged. Agent, Richard P. McDonough. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews,
Publishers Weekly, November 2004
Library Journal, January 2005
San Francisco Chronicle, February 2005
New York Times Book Review, April 2005
New York Times Book Review, June 2006
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Unpaid Annotation
A cross between William Faulkner and John Irving, Dufresne masterfully charts the power of truth and lies and the magic hidden in the mundane in this collection of colorful stories.
Unpaid Annotation
Here are people caught unawares by trouble and opportunity in the act of going about their daily lives. A romantic woman, involved with her married boss, is proposed to by a Bulgarian on a tourist visa in search of a green card and must choose between a wedding and a love affair. A doctor who has killed two women escorts a flamboyant woman home to tell her about his rage and her foolishness. Four young brothers wander into a man's backyard claiming to be foster children. They share lunch and search for the foster home that doesn't exist. After a man tells his wife that he's leaving her and his children for his new lover, he's found dead in the morning. It's up to our literary hero to solve the mystery--murder, he wrote. A cross between William Faulkner and John Irving, John Dufresne masterfully charts the power of truth and lies and the magic hidden in the mundane.

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