One of The Washington Post’s 50 Notable Works of Fiction in 2017
The first collection of short stories from the critically acclaimed, prize-winning author of To Rise Again at a Decent Hour.
These eleven stories by Joshua Ferris, many of which were first published in The New Yorker, are at once thrilling, strange, and comic. The modern tribulations of marriage, ambition, and the fear of missing out as the temptations flow like wine and the minutes of life tick down are explored with the characteristic wit and insight that have made Ferris one of our most critically acclaimed novelists.Each of these stories burrows deep into the often awkward and hilarious misunderstandings that pass between strangers and lovers alike, and that turn ordinary lives upside down. Ferris shows to what lengths we mortals go to coax human meaning from our very modest time on earth, an effort that skews ever-more desperately in the direction of redemption. There’s Arty Groys, the Florida retiree whose birthday celebration involves pizza, a prostitute, and a life-saving heart attack. There’s Sarah, the Brooklynite whose shape-shifting existential dilemma is set in motion by a simple spring breeze. And there’s Jack, a man so warped by past experience that he’s incapable of having a normal social interaction with the man he hires to help him move out of storage.
The stories in The Dinner Party are about lives changed forever when the reckless gives way to possibility and the ordinary cedes ground to mystery. And each one confirms Ferris’s reputation as one of the most dazzlingly talented, deeply humane writers at work today.
One of the most anticipated books of 2017–New York Magazine, The Washington Post, New York Observer, The Millions, Book Riot’s “All the Books” Podcast, and Fuse
Praise for Joshua Ferris’s THE DINNER PARTY:
“A magnificent black carnival of discord and delusion….For some accomplished novelists–and Ferris is one of the best of our day–short stories are mere doodles, warm ups or warm downs, slight variations on themes better addressed at length. Not so for Ferris. Dynamic with speed, yet rich with novelistic density, his stories make The Dinner Party a full-fledged feast.”―Will Blythe, New York Times Book Review
“Plenty of novels, memoirs and cultural studies have explored the end of men or the failings of masculinity. But Ferris, a darkly comic writer who feels like the novelist equivalent of the filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen, has managed to write a series of stories on the subject that feels fresh. His male characters mess up, in small and spectacular fashion, but their misdeeds often prompt our sympathy, thanks to Ferris’s insightful narration.”―Ian Shapira, The Washington Post
“Ferris finesses the line between tragedy and comedy, and his sly wit often surfaces in sarcastic, offbeat ways…The Dinner Party provides a fine showcase for his work.”―Heller McAlpin, NPR.org
“Ferris is an incisive observer, and his descriptions of even the most quotidian situations are elegant and fresh.”
―Eliot Schrefer, USA Today
“Everything comes mordantly alive in the priceless imagination of Ferris….His perverse short narratives do not disappoint.”―Janet Maslin, New York Times, Books to Breeze Through This Summer
“Observational and piercing, Ferris’s short stories expose how fraught and emotionally explosive the search for connection with other human beings can be.”―Angela Ledgerwood, Esquire, 20 Best Books of 2017 (so far)
“The Dinner Party is a collection of stories about quiet, domestic chaos… I love it. The titular story finds a couple awaiting the arrival of dinner guests who never materialize…. equal parts Cheever and Carver….a strong set of stories about infidelity, jealousy, and neurotic insecurity.”―Kevin Nguyen, GQ, Best Books You’ll Read In May
“This collection hits the sweet spot between character realism and existentially wry musings on modern life… In the past, Mr. Ferris has drawn favorable comparisons with Jonathan Franzen, but this collection shows Mr. Ferris as the funnier of the two. None of Mr. Franzen’s novels has been as light or enjoyable to read.”
―Nathan Pensky, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“[Ferris] isn’t merely a master of description, but he’s got a way of telling us everything we need to know about a character with just a few spare words.”―Moira Macdonald, The Seattle Times