Fresh Complaint

Jeffrey Eugenides

Jeffrey Eugenides’s bestselling novels have shown that he is an astute observer of the crises of adolescence, sexual identity, self-discovery, family love, and what it means to be an American in our times. The stories in Fresh Complaint continue that tradition. Ranging from the reproductive antics of “Baster” to the wry, moving account of a young traveler’s search for enlightenment in “Air Mail” (selected by Annie Proulx for The Best American Short Stories 1997), this collection presents characters in the midst of personal and national crises. 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 collapse under the obligations of marriage and fatherhood; and, in “Bronze,” a sexually confused college freshman whose encounter with a stranger on a train leads to a revelation about his past and his future. Narratively compelling, beautifully written, and packed with a density of ideas that belie their fluid grace, Fresh Complaint proves Eugenides to be a master of the short form as well as the long.

Reviews of Fresh Complaint

  • [An] excellent short story collection … Eugenides deploys his pronounced gifts for comedy and characterisation at the same time as he builds an overwhelming atmosphere of suffocation’ Chris Power, Guardian

    ‘Enjoyable wry wit that make Fresh Complaint so entertaining … he’s a fine exponent of the satisfying denouement’ Ben East, Observer

    Praise for Jeffrey Eugenides:

    ‘Eugenides is a big and a big-hearted talent’ Jonathan Franzen

    ‘Eugenides is blessed with the storyteller’s most magical gift, the ability to transform the mundane into the extraordinary’ New York Times