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Length: 336 pages5 hours


This exhilarating first book of fiction introduces Craig Boyko as a writer of astonishing range, inventiveness, and vision. Infused with a razor-sharp wit, Boyko’s stories illuminate those pivotal moments in every life when we discover how difficult it is to be true to ourselves — and to the people who think they know us best.

When a man grows tired of his outwardly comfortable life, a special “replacement program” allows him to go on — with one important difference. The promise of fame, immortality, and triple force fields enthralls a twelve-year-old when the boys in his neighbourhood vie for a coveted spot on an arcade game’s high-scores list. In a story set against the backdrop of Stalinist Russia, a seasoned political informant begins to question long-held beliefs after a series of charged encounters with a fallen aristocrat. When an elderly woman becomes convinced that traumas in her past lives are responsible for her ill health, her beleaguered husband is reluctantly pulled back into his own memories of their early life together. During the London Blitz, a professional skeptic attempts to refute the ESP experiments of a committed believer in the paranormal, only to have his own faith challenged by an unlikely source.

By turns humorous and elegiac, compassionate and intellectually playful, these stories lay bear the obsessions, longings, and frailties that define what it means to be human. With this audacious debut, Craig Boyko joins the front ranks of our most gifted and exciting young writers.

From the Hardcover edition.

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