The Dog

Stories

Jack Livings

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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“Jack Livings’s stories of China are marvels of the imagination.” —Paul Harding, author of Tinkers


Set in the shifting landscape of contemporary China, Jack Livings’s The Dog explodes the country’s cultural and social fault lines, revealing a nation accustomed to rations, bitter struggle, and the stranglehold of communism as it confronts a generation rife with the promise of unforeseen prosperity.
     In this riveting, richly imagined collection, a wealthy factory owner—once a rural peasant—refuses to help the victims of an earthquake until his daughter starts a relief effort of her own; a marginalized but powerful Uyghur gangster clashes with his homosexual grandson; and a dogged journalist is forced to resign as young writers in “pink Izod golf shirts and knockoff Italian loafers” write his stories out from under him. With spare, penetrating prose, Livings gives shape to the anonymous faces in the crowd and illuminates the tensions, ironies, and possibilities of life in modern China. As heartbreaking as it is hopeful, The Dog marks the debut of a startling and wildly imaginative new voice in fiction.

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Book Excerpts

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THE DOG

 

After Li Yan put the baby down, she joined her husband at the rough table. He was reading People’s Daily in the brown light of a bare bulb dangling from the ceiling. Li Yan opened her English textbook and began to read a dialogue. It was still early but she was worn out and had trouble focusing on the words.

Pretty soon she looked up and said, “Chen Wei, do you want some tea?”

From behind the paper he said no.

“Okay. It’s no trouble. I’ll make you some anyway.”

“Fine,” he said.

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Reviews

Praise for The Dog

"These stories, one after another, accomplish those miraculous great-fiction tricks of taking you to places you’ve never been and can’t otherwise go, making the exotic familiar and the ordinary otherworldly, getting you inside the heads of compelling people who seem absolutely real—and they do all this in impeccable prose while being excellent tales that are by turns witty and scary and wise. Jack Livings is a superb and singular writer." —Kurt Andersen, author of True Believers

"Jack Livings’s The Dog presents a kaleidoscopic view of the small ironies and stupendous lies of contemporary China. Ranging from the last days of the Cultural Revolution to the first days of the Sichuan earthquake, these stories do what stories do best: they filter history and ideology through the experiences of individuals, with compassion, biting wit, and unsparing honesty." —Jess Row, author of The Train to Lo Wu

"In prose that is at once unadorned and poetic, with a Chekhovian tenderness for even his most corrupt characters, Jack Livings presents us with a startling new portrait of contemporary China. Ruthless and compassionate in its depiction of social, cultural, and familial strife, this is raw, vital storytelling from a voice we cannot ignore. The Dog should be read and studied alongside the stories of Joyce and Cheever, Faulkner and Carver. Listen up, America: We need this book." —Jamie Quatro, author of I Want to Show You More

"Jack Livings’s stories of China are marvels of the imagination. Rendered in precise and exquisitely observed detail, they read like directly reported dispatches from the tragic, ruthless, beset, nearly hopeless souls of China. It is Livings’s genius, though, to know that nearly hopeless is not the same thing as hopeless. What gives these stories their dark, upsetting grandeur is in every case the luminosity of hope, no matter how fragile, how vulnerable, how very nearly extinguished." —Paul Harding, author of Tinkers

"A socially complex and pitch-perfect account of modernization’s grueling aftermath." —Publishers Weekly

"[Jack Livings’s] first collection of short fiction, with its tales of volatile protagonists struggling to survive in contemporary China, should attract widespread attention and praise . . . Any unfamiliarity with the Chinese locales and culture is quickly eased by Livings’s imaginative yet realistic scenarios and vividly drawn characters. A brilliant and promising debut." —Carl Hays, Booklist

"[Jack Livings] writes so simply, and so well . . . These stories are sneaky, almost subliminal, in their ambitions and connections." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review) 

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About the Author

Jack Livings

Jack Livings’ debut short story collection, The Dog, will be published by FSG in August 2014. His stories have appeared in The Paris Review, A Public Space, StoryQuarterly, Tin House, The New Delta Review, Best American Short Stories, and have been awarded two Pushcart Prizes. Livings received his MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford. He is at work on a novel.

Jack Livings

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Jack Livings

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Available Formats and Book Details

The Dog
Stories
Jack Livings

Hardcover

Hardcover
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
8/5/2014
Hardcover
ISBN: 9780374178536
ISBN10: 0374178534
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 240 pages
$25.00

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
8/5/2014
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9780374710019
ISBN10: 0374710015
240 pages
$11.99
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Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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