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The Great Kisser: Stories

261 pages4 hours


A profoundly funny—and comically profound—story collection from one of the most original voices in contemporary American fiction

When his dying psychiatrist gives him the tapes to thirty years’ worth of therapy sessions, what else can Michael Goldberg do but listen? It is the story of his life, after all—never mind the fact that it’s narrated by a younger version of himself who has no idea what’s going to happen next.

Besides, as a man of letters best known for “My Mother Is Not Living,” the story that earned him a reputation as “the Jewish writer who hated his mother more than any other Jewish writer,” Michael has never been especially concerned with the niceties of literary convention. What he really wants, what he’s been looking for from New York to Hollywood and back again—from doomed high school romances to a late marriage begun in sin and overshadowed by tragedy, from boyhood days playing stickball in the streets of Queens to middle-aged afternoons behind a desk at the activist organization Jewish Punchers, sorting masses of data into one of two files: “Good for the Jews” or “Bad for the Jews”—are answers. To life’s great mysteries, sure, but mainly to the one question that always seems to be waiting for him, wherever he goes: How did I end up here?

What Michael discovers in his therapist’s tapes, and what David Evanier so masterfully portrays in this hilarious and heartbreaking collection, is a life that is no less inevitable for being unplanned, and no less extraordinary for being average.

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