Bret Anthony Johnston - Corpus Christi - Hodder & Stoughton

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    • ISBN:9781473611542
    • Publication date:12 Feb 2015

Corpus Christi

By Bret Anthony Johnston

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Short stories from the winner of the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award 2017.

'A gorgeous, accomplished debut' David Mitchell

By internationally bestselling author Bret Anthony Johnston, WINNER of the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award 2017.

In Corpus Christi, Texas - a town often hit by hurricanes - parents, children, and lovers come together and fall apart, bonded and battered by memories of loss that they feel as acutely as physical pain.

A car accident joins strangers linked by an intimate knowledge of madness. A teenage boy remembers his father's act of sudden and self-righteous violence. A 'hurricane party' reunites a couple whom tragedy parted. And, in an unforgettable three-story cycle, an illness heals a man's relationship with his mother and reveals the odd, shifting fidelity of truth to love.

Writing with tough humor, deep humanity, and a keen eye for the natural environment, Bret Anthony Johnston creates a world where cataclysmic events cut people loose from their 'regular lives, floating and spiraling away from where we had been the day before.'

Biographical Notes

Bret Anthony Johnston is the author of the award-winning Corpus Christi: Stories, which was described by David Mitchell as 'a gorgeous, accomplished debut', and was named a Best Book of the Year by the Independent and the Irish Times, and the internationally bestselling novel Remember Me Like This, a New York Times Editor's Choice and one of the Observer's best Holiday Reads 2014.
His work appears in the Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, the Paris Review, the Best American Short Stories, and elsewhere.
A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, he's the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship and a 5 Under 35 honor from the National Book Foundation, and the winner of the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award 2017.
Previously the Director of Creative Writing at Harvard, he is now the Director of the James A. Michener Center for Writers in Austin, Texas.

bretanthonyjohnston.com
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  • ISBN: 9781473611559
  • Publication date: 12 Feb 2015
  • Page count:
  • Imprint: Two Roads
A gorgeous, accomplished debut. — David Mitchell, The Independent (Books of the Year)
Stunning and complex... It's hurricane country, and Johnston's exquisitely drawn men and women are riders on the storm, coping with an iffy emotional landscape that mirrors Corpus Christi's own, where the past is too easily washed away and the ocean has no memory. — Los Angeles Times
Hard-eyed, life-affirming... These stories are relentlessly sober, large-hearted, and intense. In their pathos, to quote C. S. Lewis on Chaucer, "every fluctuation of gnawing hope, every pitiful subterfuge of the flattering imagination, is held up to our eyes without mercy" (The Allegory of Love); and yet their effect is spiritually bracing. We are human to the last. — Boston Sunday Globe
Fans of Raymond Carver's spare, carefully crafted stories will rejoice... [Johnston has] a pitch-perfect ear for dialogue and a dead-on eye for conjuring an entire universe with one simple detail... His ten stories are individual gems... Johnston's genius lies in weaving a web of optimism around a series of difficult topics. If [these stories] are read as they seem destined to be - obsessively, in one sitting - their rapt audience will turn the last page with a profound sense of calm. — San Francisco Chronicle
In the mold of Denis Johnson, Ian McEwan, and Barry Gifford, Johnston is a writer of stories that peel away the soul of a man, sometimes with quaking fingers, other times with a hunting knife. The stories are sometimes spastically violent, other times uncommonly delicate, but always memorable. — Pages
Compelling and haunting... Johnston's evocative descriptions of events, feelings, and Corpus Christi itself connect readers to his characters and their dilemmas and reactions to tragedy. — Library Journal
[A] promising debut collection... astutely observed... Johnston's Corpus is America in microcosm. But it is the emotional landscape that interests the author, not the physical, and, without lapsing into sentimentality, he evokes a peculiarly American brand of abject loneliness and tentative optimism. — Publishers Weekly
The world that Johnston brings us into is at once familiar and oddly surreal, for the author writes with great attention to detail and nuance. — Kirkus Reviews
[Bret Anthony Johnston is] a fresh young writer from Texas who writes as if he's a wise old man from the hard cities of the heart. His honesty is a beacon to the soul. — Chris Offutt, Tin House
Beautifully written... Johnston's stories extract truth through their bittersweet tone. — Deseret Morning News (Salt Lake City)
As refreshing as a cool breeze on a humid summer day - and as strong and surprising as a short-notice tropical storm... sharp, tough, and poignant... "Two Liars" and the title story, "Corpus Christi," are among the best short works to emerge from Texas in quite some time. A good story induces a polite nod; a great story can hurt your feelings. These stories can make a reader's blood ache. — Texas Books in Review
[An] engaging collection... In simple, unadorned prose [Johnston] goes to the heart of each loss and makes his readers care about lives that usually merit no more than a paragraph in the local paper. — Baltimore Sun
Excruciatingly beautiful... With a compassion that belies his years, Bret Anthony Johnston turns a questing eye on life's difficulties in his extraordinary debut collection... These thoughtful pieces contain the very gist of universal human experience - people straining to connect, people needing to understand. — Corpus Christi Caller-Times
Bret Anthony Johnston's premier collection, Corpus Christi, sways as easily as a palm in the wind... Beautiful, simple prose... The stories function like a five-car pileup. It is impossible to look away. — Mid-American Review
Ordinary people in ordinary circumstances are the catalysts for extraordinary fiction in this impressive debut collection of short stories. — The Dallas Morning News
Johnston is a remarkable writer. His economy of words and simplicity of expression are his power tools. How did one so young gain this enormous insight into the human heart and understanding of the human condition? Corpus Christi is a small masterpiece. — Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (Ontario, California)
Johnston's depiction of Corpus Christi, half-there, grey and dishevelled, is a brilliant background choice for the collection of stories whose characters are also neither here nor there. — The Texas Observer
A beautiful and auspicious debut, Corpus Christi points to a bright future both for the short story genre and for Johnston as a writer. If Corpus Christi is any indication, we can expect great things from both in years to come. — Arkansas Times
Taut, tender... acutely observed, true-to-life stories wrung completely of sentiment... Johnston has a long career ahead of him. — San Antonio Express-News
Johnston writes prose that is lurid, clean, and marked by precise images. His stories possess something tempestuous; they evoke that pre-storm air pressure, when the air gets thick and the sky turns a dark and sickly yellow... Astonishing revelations and emotional insight. — The Boston Phoenix
In the hands of South Texas native Bret Anthony Johnston, human emotions are exotic beasts and Corpus Christi is the zoo where he puts them all on display. The ten stories in this debut collection... are litera verité depictions of simple family relationships. — Texas Monthly
Simplistic and brisk on the surface, Johnston's debut collection of short stories is actually intense and lyrical, with compact, penetrating sentences and dialogue precise enough to have been lifted from a Dictaphone... Wryly comical... achingly beautiful. — LA Weekly
Johnston depicts [Corpus Christi's] inhabitants with lyricism and sympathy. — The Atlantic Online
Johnston... surrounds a study of loneliness with its most natural companions - memories, which he handles gently, sensitive to their decay... This is wonderful writing, easily evocative, and it makes memory almost tactile. — Austin American-Statesman
The humour here is tough and the emotions wrenching. Johnston's eye for humanity and the natural world around us is wonderfully keen. — The Birmingham News
Corpus Christi... is a breath of fresh air, an inspired work from a formidable new talent and proof that the art of the short story is still alive and well in the field of American fiction... Each well-honed story in Corpus Christi glimmers... These stories thrive, peopled with living and breathing characters and fraught with conflict and the kind of imagery that crawls under your skin and makes you shiver with despair and recognition... Just as Faulkner did with the fictional county of Yoknapatawpha, Johnston has given us a fully realized world in which his vivid characters seek to understand their stark, dirty, and even threatening surroundings. — The Chattahoochee Review
Johnston's stories read as if they were written by someone who's lived various lives and has had time enough to develop real wisdom, generosity, and the art of making strong, clean sentences. What I especially love about Corpus Christi is the fact that many of the characters walk the finest line between violence and love, and do so with a tenderness that is heartbreaking. — Jane Hamilton, author of The Book of Ruth and A Map of the World
Bret Anthony Johnston is a name to put on your list - that list of writers you always read first. He knows how you can despair of people and go on treasuring them - hard-living, hard-headed, unexpected people who look out of his stories like brightly lit signposts on a dark highway. "Look here," they say. "Right here." — Dorothy Allison, author of Bastard Out of Carolina
In his first collection of stories, Johnston eloquently depicts individual lives at once haunted and painfully enriched by memory, and by the losses of which memory is made. A wise and moving debut by a talented young writer. — John Burnham Schwartz, author of Claire Marvel
I'm looking forward to a week in southern Spain in the company of Remember Me Like This by Bret Anthony Johnston. It has a fascinating fictional premise: a missing child who comes back and a changed family who have to get used to the idea. I've dipped into it already and the writing is clear and beautiful. Besides, a novel that comes with effusive quotes from John Irving and Alice Sebold has to be pretty good. — Observer (Best Summer Reads 2014) on REMEMBER ME LIKE THIS
Johnston's excellent debut is primarily a literary novel, with old-fashioned virtues such as rich characterisation, strong structure and impeccable control of tone. Although it is reminiscent of John Updike, the mixture of summer heat and melancholy feels peculiarly Texan — The Sunday Times on REMEMBER ME LIKE THIS
enthralling and skillful... the book's beauty is in its complexity, in its characters' endless search for the truth... uncomfortably revealing... What Johnston captures and examines so expertly isn't the kind of sadistic cruelty familiar to anyone with a television, but a subtler, more quietly menacing variety, the eggshell tiptoeing, the killing kindness we unknowingly inflict when acting out of love and fear... Remember Me Like This isn't a novel about kidnapping. It's not a psychological study of Stockholm syndrome or a victimology. It's not a thriller, and it's not even really a mystery, unless it's an unsolved one, the exquisitely moral mystery of how we struggle to accept and love the people we call family, even when we can't fully know them — New York Times on REMEMBER ME LIKE THIS
Two Roads

The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night

Jen Campbell
Authors:
Jen Campbell

Modern fairy tales of magic, outsiders and lost souls. 'WHAT A BOOK. IT'S SO STRANGE AND MAGICAL AND THE WRITING IS JUST BEAUTIFUL. I LOVED IT.' Louise O'Neill 'ENCHANTING AND ILLUMINATING' Carys Bray, author of A Song For Issy Bradley 'LIKE WALKING THROUGH A MIRROR.' Rachel Joyce, author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry 'THIS BOOK IS FULL OF CHARACTER AND MAGIC, AND I FOUND MYSELF MESMERISED' Claire Fuller, author of Our Endless Numbered Days 'A GEM OF A BOOK ... DEEPLY MOVING' Stylist Book Wars v THE BOOK OF DUST. 'THESE STORIES ARE WEAVED TOGETHER LIKE SILVERY FISHING NETS. LIKE SHIMMERING, JEWEL-BRIGHT WORLDS' Helen McClory 'These days, you can find anything you need at the click of a button. That's why I bought her heart online.'Spirits in jam jars, mini-apocalypses, animal hearts and side shows. A girl runs a coffin hotel on a remote island. A boy is worried his sister has two souls. A couple are rewriting the history of the world. And mermaids are on display at the local aquarium.The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night is a collection of twelve haunting stories; modern fairy tales brimming with magic, outsiders and lost souls. 'I'm fascinated by storytelling, and particularly fairy tales. How humans have always tried to explain things that they can't possibly understand with, sometimes outrageous, stories' Jen CampbellFrom the author of Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops series and The Bookshop Book.

Two Roads

Remember Me Like This

Bret Anthony Johnston
Authors:
Bret Anthony Johnston

'I love this novel' John Irving - 'Excellent' Sunday Times - 'enthralling' New York Times A powerful and affecting novel of a family which has moved readers everywhere. What happens to a family when a lost child returns? In the four years since Justin's abduction his family has become a group of separate units, each nursing their pain and guilt. Now, when they should be at their happiest, how can they forgive each other and become a family again? A gripping literary novel with the pace of a thriller, Remember Me Like This introduces Bret Anthony Johnston as a gifted storyteller. With his sophisticated and emotionally taut plot Johnston reveals how only in caring for each other, can we save ourselves.

Alexei Sayle

Alexei Sayle is a comedian, actor, presenter and writer. His television work as a writer and performer includes The Young Ones, Alexei Sayle's Stuff, and The All New Alexei Sayle Show and Alexei Sayle's Liverpool for BBC 2. He has written for many newspapers and magazines and appeared in numerous films, from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade to Gorky Park. He is currently writing his memoir, STALIN ATE MY HOMEWORK, which will be published by Sceptre in 2010.

Alyson Richman

Alyson Richman is the author of The Mask Carver's Son, Swedish Tango, The Last Van Gogh and THE LOST WIFE. The daughter of a painter and an engineer, Richman's novels combine a love of art and research, and have been published in more than ten languages. She lives in Long Island, New York with her husband and two children.www.alysonrichman.comwww.twitter.com/alysonrichman

Amy Engel

Amy Engel is the author of the YA novels THE BOOK OF IVY and THE REVOLUTION OF IVY. She lives in Missouri with her family. THE ROANOKE GIRLS is her first novel for adults.

Andrew Michael Hurley

Andrew Michael Hurley has lived in Manchester and London, and is now based in Lancashire. His first novel, The Loney, was originally published by Tartarus Press, a tiny independent publisher based in Yorkshire, as a 300-copy limited-edition, before being republished by John Murray and going on to win the Costa Best First Novel Award and Book of the Year at the British Book Industry Awards in 2016.

Anna Jacobs

Anna Jacobs grew up in Lancashire and emigrated to Australia, but still visits the UK regularly to see her family and do research, something she loves. She is addicted to writing and figures she'll have to live to be 120 at least to tell all the stories that keep popping up in her imagination and nagging her to write them down.She's also addicted to her own hero, to whom she's been happily married for many years.She is the bestselling author of over sixty novels and has been shortlisted for several awards. Pride of Lancashire won the Australian Romantic Book of the Year Award in 2006, and The Trader's Wife is on the shortlist for the 2012 award.You can find out more on her website, www.annajacobs.com or on her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/Anna.Jacobs.Books.

Anya Seton

Anya Seton was born in New York City and grew up on her father's large estate in Cos Cob and Greenwich, Connecticut, where visiting Indians taught her Indian dancing and woodcraft. One Sioux chief called her Anutika, which means 'cloud grey eyes', a name which the family shortened to Anya. She was educated by governesses, and then travelled abroad, first to England, then to France where she hoped to become a doctor. She studied for a while at the Hotel Dieu hospital in Paris before marrying at eighteen and having three children. She began writing in 1938 with a short story sold to a newspaper syndicate and the first of her novels was published in 1941. She died in 1990.

Belva Plain

Belva Plain's first novel, EVERGREEN, was published in 1978 and became an international bestseller. Over the course of a career spanning three decades she published over twenty bestselling novels in 22 languages. She died at the age of ninety five in 2010.

Catriona McPherson

Catriona McPherson was born in the village of Queensferry in south-east Scotland in 1965 and educated at Edinburgh University. She left with a PhD in Linguistics and spent a few years as a university lecturer before beginning to write fiction. The first Dandy Gilver novel was short-listed for the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Dagger 2005 and the second was long-listed for the Theakston's Crime Novel of the Year Award 2007. In 2012 DANDY GILVER AND THE PROPER TREATMENT OF BLOODSTAINS was nominated for a Historical Macavity Award. Catriona writes full-time and divides her time between southern Scotland and northern California.www.dandygilver.comwww.catrionamcpherson.comwww.twitter.com/CatrionaMcP

Chrissie Manby

Chrissie Manby is the author of twenty romantic comedies including A PROPER FAMILY HOLIDAY, THE MATCHBREAKER and SEVEN SUNNY DAYS. She has had several Sunday Times bestsellers and her novel about behaving badly after a break-up, GETTING OVER MR RIGHT, was nominated for the 2011 Melissa Nathan Award. Chrissie was raised in Gloucester, in the west of England, and now lives in London. Contrary to the popular conception of chick-lit writers, she is such a bad home-baker that her own father threatened to put her last creation on www.cakewrecks.com. She is, however, partial to white wine and shoes she can't walk in. You can follow her on Twitter @chrissiemanby, or visit her website www.chrissiemanby.co.uk to find out more.

Clare Morrall

Clare Morrall's first novel, Astonishing Splashes of Colour, was published in 2003 and shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize that year. She has since published the novels Natural Flights of the Human Mind, The Language of Others, The Man Who Disappeared, which was a TV Book Club Summer Read in 2010, The Roundabout Man and After the Bombing.Born in Exeter, Clare Morrall now lives in Birmingham. She works as a music teacher, and has two daughters.

Cynthia Bond

Writer and educator Cynthia Bond has taught writing to homeless and at-risk youth throughout Los Angeles for over fifteen years.She attended Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, then moved to New York and attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Cynthia acted for many years in New York with the Negro Ensemble Company. A PEN Rosenthal Fellow, Cynthia founded the Blackbird Writing Collective in 2011.At present, Bond teaches therapeutic writing at Paradigm Malibu Adolescent Treatment Center. A native of East Texas, she lives in Los Angeles with her daughter.Ruby, an Oprah Book Club 2.0 pick, is her first novel and it was shortlisted for the 2016 Baileys' Women's Fiction prize.cynthiabond.comfacebook.com/cynthiabondrubytwitter.com/cynthiabond

Daniel Polansky

Daniel Polansky was born in Baltimore, Maryland. He can be found in Brooklyn, when he isn't somewhere else. His debut novel, THE STRAIGHT RAZOR CURE, received great acclaim. TOMORROW, THE KILLING is the second novel in his 'Low Town' series, with the third publishing in 2013.

David Mitchell

Born in 1969, David Mitchell grew up in Worcestershire. After graduating from Kent University, he taught English in Japan, where he wrote his first novel, Ghostwritten. Published in 1999, it was awarded the Mail on Sunday John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. His second novel, number9dream, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and in 2003, David Mitchell was selected as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists. His third novel, Cloud Atlas, was shortlisted for six awards including the Man Booker Prize, and adapted for film in 2012. It was followed by Black Swan Green, shortlisted for the Costa Novel of the Year Award, and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, which was a No. 1 Sunday Times bestseller. Both were also longlisted for the Booker. In 2013, The Reason I Jump: One Boy's Voice From the Silence of Autism by Naoki Higashida was published in a translation from the Japanese by David Mitchell and KA Yoshida. It was an immediate bestseller in the UK and later in the US as well.

David Nicholls

Galaxy Book Award-winner (ONE DAY), Richard & Judy bestseller (STARTER FOR TEN), BAFTA Award nominee (GREAT EXPECTATIONS) and now Man Booker Longlisted (US) author David Nicholls trained as an actor before making the switch to writing. As well as his multimillion-copy bestselling novels STARTER FOR TEN, THE UNDERSTUDY and ONE DAY, David is a scriptwriter whose credits include the TV series Cold Feet, Rescue Me, I Saw You, the TV movies The 7:39 and Aftersun, and screenplays for Far From the Madding Crowd, Great Expectations, Tess of the D'Urbervilles and When Did You Last See Your Father? He has also written the screenplays for the film adaptations of his own novels, STARTER FOR TEN (2006) which starred James McAvoy, ONE DAY (2010), starring Jim Sturgess and Anne Hathaway, and the forthcoming THE UNDERSTUDY (release TBC).

Davina Langdale

Davina Langdale studied Zoology at Bristol University, and worked with 93 chimpanzees and a hippo in Northern Zambia. She returned to the UK to take a postgraduate diploma in journalism at the London College of Printing, and after a brief stint in that field she realised that fiction was her true love. The Brittle Star is her first novel.

Declan Hughes

Declan Hughes was born in Dublin, where he lives with his wife and daughters. He has worked as a playwright and director and co-founded the award-winning Rough Magic Theatre Company, where he was artistic director and writer-in-residence. The first in the series of Ed Loy mysteries, The Wrong Kind of Blood, won the Shamus Award for best first novel and the third, The Dying Breed, was nominated for the prestigious Edgar Allan Poe award for best novel.

Dorothy L Sayers

Dorothy L Sayers was born in Oxford in 1893, and was both a classical scholar and a graduate in modern languages. As well as her popular Lord Peter Wimsey series, she wrote several religious plays, but considered her translations of Dante's Divina Commedia to be her best work. She died in 1957.www.sayers.org.uk

Dreda Say Mitchell

Born and bred in the East End of London, Dreda Say Mitchell has seen it all from the inside. After a string of jobs as a waitress, chambermaid and catering assistant she realised her dream of becoming a teacher. During this time she saw a new generation of East Enders grappling with the same problems she had but in an even more violent and unforgiving world. Dreda's books are inspired by the gritty, tough and criminal world she grew up in. She still lives in London's East End. Her debut, RUNNING HOT, was published in 2004 and won the Crime Writers' Association's John Creasey Memorial Dagger Award for best first novel. She is the author of eight more novels and is currently writing the FLESH AND BLOOD series, set on 'The Devil's Estate' in Mile End. In 2016, she became a Reading Ambassador for the Reading Agency to promote literacy and libraries.Website: www.dredasaymitchell.com Facebook: /dredasaymitchell Twitter: @DredaMitchell