Jeffrey Eugenides's bestselling novels have shown him to be an astute observer of the crises of adolescence, self-discovery, family love, and what it means to be American. The stories in Fresh Complaint explore equally rich - and intriguing - territory.
Ranging from the bitingly reproductive antics of "Baster" to the dreamy, moving account of a young traveler's search for enlightenment in "Air Mail" (selected by Annie Proulx for Best American Short Stories), this collection presents characters in the midst of personal and national emergencies. We meet a failed poet who, envious of other people's wealth during the real-estate bubble, becomes an embezzler; a clavichordist whose dreams of art flounder under the obligations of marriage and fatherhood; and, in Fresh Complaint, a high school student whose wish to escape the strictures of her immigrant family lead her to a drastic decision that upends the life of a middle-aged British physicist.
Narratively compelling, beautifully written, and packed with a density of ideas despite their fluid grace, these stories chart the development and maturation of a major American writer.