Nine Inches, Tom Perrotta’s first true collection, features ten stories—some sharp and funny, some mordant and surprising, and a few intense and disturbing. Whether he’s dropping into the lives of two teachers—and their love lost and found—in “Nine Inches”, documenting the unraveling of a dad at a Little League game in “The Smile on Happy Chang’s Face”, or gently marking the points of connection between an old woman and a benched high school football player in “Senior Season”, Perrotta writes with a sure sense of his characters and their secret longings.
Nine Inches contains an elegant collection of short fiction: stories that are as assured in their depictions of characters young and old, established and unsure, as any written today.
The main selling point of any short story collection is, arguably, this: if you don’t like one story, you can simply skip ahead to the next one. Most best-selling authors with name-brand recognition have published at least one volume of short stories. A well-regarded humorist like David Sedaris is blessed with a trademark wit that can turn almost any subject matter into absurdist gold. But the art of crafting short stories effectively is not necessarily a skill inherent to even the most talented novelists. Perrotta is a successful author, with memorable hits like Election (1998) and Little Children (2004), both of which were turned into acclaimed Hollywood films. Its eyebrow-raising title aside, Nine Inches (a reference to the minimum distance that chaperones must maintain between the hormonal kids at a middle-school dance) isn’t going to ignite anyone outside of Perrotta’s loyal fan base. These stories of unhappy suburbanites are serviceable but lacking a killer emotional hook, with the exception of “One-Four-Five,” a true standout about a sad-sack pediatrician who becomes obsessed with blues music while going through a midlife divorce.–Chris Keech
“The acclaimed novelist displays perfect tonal pitch in this story collection, as nobody explores the darker sides of suburbia with a lighter touch.”–Kirkus Reviews (starred)
“Told with wit and grace, Perrotta’s story collection lays bare the shifting relationships we all suffer and seldom comprehend, presenting characters who are ambushed by the hidden intentions of people they thought they knew.”–Publishers Weekly
Product Details Print Length: 257 pages Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1250034701 Publisher: St. Martin’s Press; 1 edition (September 10, 2013) Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc. Language: English ASIN: B00CQYAVP2