#9. Like You'd Understand, Anyway
by Jim Shepard
Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
Wildly inventive, and at the same time curiously dry and precise, Shepard's stories feel both minimalist and maximalist at the same time: minimal in their obsessive attention to historical detail, and enormous in their geographical scope and in the extreme emotions that the characters cosmonauts, Victorian explorers, Texan football players, Aeschylus (yes, that Aeschylus) cycle through. Shepard scours history and geography from Chernobyl to Alaska to Tibet in search of stages grand enough to support his characters private lives. The effect is to make epic adventures and internal monologues one and the same thing.
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