The New York Stories, by Ben Tanzer


In 2006, celebrated author Ben Tanzer began working on a series of short stories all set in the fictional upstate New York town of Two Rivers, most of them published in various literary journals over the years and eventually collected into the three small volumes Repetition Patterns (2008), So Different Now (2011), and After the Flood (2014). Now for the first time, all 33 of these stories have been put together into one paperback edition, highlighting the long-term planning of themes and motifs that Tanzer has been building into these pieces the entire time. Featuring dark character studies of childhood, middle age, and (lack of) grace under pressure, these stories are considered by many to be among the best work of Tanzer's career, and voracious fans of his short work will surely be pleased and satisfied to have these small masterpieces collected together into one easy-to-read volume. So take a stool at Thirsty's, order another Yuengling, and be prepared to be transported into the black heart of the American small-town soul, as one of our nation's best contemporary authors takes us on a journey across space and time that will not be soon forgotten.

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"With great humor and the natural voice of your closest confidant, Ben Tanzer brings us stories set in our shared fictional hometown of Two Rivers, NY. With tenderness and heart, Ben brings us real people and their poignant, messy struggles, reminding us of the folly of our youth and the beauty in even our most mundane histories. Though my family left when I was small for the big city, Tanzer has given this reader the gift of a sliding door here, and I think you'll feel the same way, wherever you're from." --Elizabeth Crane, author of We Only Know So Much

"Ben Tanzer's stories are both familiar and surprising, a scarf and a knife. Stories full of people we know, love. People we don't want to know, don't want to love. Stories full of desire and sadness and almost. Stories over beers and tequila, stories inside sex and storms. Ben! He is one of my favorites for all sorts of reasons and one of those reasons is yes and another is hell yes." --Leesa Cross-Smith, author of Every Kiss A War

"The millions of unseen things that happen inside the heart finally start to come clear in Ben Tanzer's The New York Stories. Everyone here -- from the teenage girls to the grown men trying to sleep with them, from the guy in therapy to the therapist -- is filled with a desire so painful it will make you ache. Come to Thirsty's and drink a Yuengling because it might be all there is. Ben Tanzer knows that what we love most is what destroys us and what makes us feel most alive. He's reached into our music collections and pulled out the soul and the funk and the loud guitars and set it to prose that pulls us all across the page. Be prepared to laugh and cry and be swept away." --Dave Newman, author of The Factory Poems

"In his beautiful and deeply American The New York Stories, Ben Tanzer returns to the upstate place where it all began: childhood, adolescence, the buds of adulthood. Caterpillar guts ooze out on the pavement, as do restless hearts. 'Thirsty's still serves beer, the Susquehanna River still flows, and you are here by the window, watching, waiting, wondering how you got here at all.' Characters may come and go and circle back in the fictional town of Two Rivers, but through it all Tanzer's voice is a transporting constant: intimate, immediate, full of wisdom and grace. Spanning three masterful volumes, brimming with lust and longing, humor and heartbreak and a healthy helping of what-ifs, this collection is for anyone who has lived and loved or loved and lost or any whirling, churning combination of the three. In other words, it's for all of us." --Sara Lippmann, author of Doll Palace

"Tanzer's growing to become one of my favourite non-genre writers working today. He's a domestic tragedian, an author who 'gets' the peculiar melancholia of getting older and kissing goodbye who you once enjoyed being. ...The quiet nimbleness of Ben Tanzer's writing is not something that translates well through a review, it's something you have to experience for yourself. Please do. You can thank me afterwards." --Benoît Lelièvre, Dead End Follies

"The New York Stories is a three volume set, each published as separate books across a span of nearly nine years and because of this, the book builds a wonderful grand arc, narrative hindsight in a way that allows the whole thing to function as a story greater than the sum of its parts. We see not only the long protracted march of Two Rivers and its inhabitants, but, because of the time between when the volumes were written, the development of Tanzer as a fierce and world-class writer. This development is a beautiful thing to watch." --Atticus Review

"Ben Tanzer's New York is not the New York of Ellis Island or of Times Square. It's not the New York of Warhol or Scorsese or Giuliani. It's not the New York you know or have ever known. It's the New York you should know, the Tanzeriian New York of twisted invention, hilarious compassion, and intricate irony. Ben Tanzer has impossibly written yet another version of the great city, one that's a welcome addition to the proud canon of this salty berg." --Michael Czyzniejewski, author of I Will Love You For the Rest of My Life: Breakup Stories

"Long before the floodwaters start to build in Ben Tanzer's New York Stories, we sense their looming presence--the characters themselves drift and swirl about this dying town, trapped in the eddies of past indiscretion, borne along by longings and regrets, snagged upon their betrayals and petty resentments. Yet while one might be tempted to write them off as premature ghosts, here they live on, and like Carver's, these characters call to us from across the barstool, the pool table, the couch, the car seat. And by the end, Tanzer has made a convincing case that a deluge of stories might be the very thing to save us." --Tim Horvath, author of Understories and Circulation

"[A] good representation of the strength of connected short pieces and the large impact that brevity can produce. ...During the early parts of the second volume, this reader started to feel like an experienced Two Rivers observer. I 'got' these people. ...These pages are intense." --Alternating Current

"[I]n The New York Stories, Ben Tanzer fights the floodwaters that have the power to mold and destroy entire communities. ...It's this point of view -- that of the diligent observer -- that makes Tanzer's stories so rich and so engaging. His eye for detail is the eye that his characters use to get through life." --Small Press Book Review

"The beauty of Ben Tanzer's short stories is that they contain all the great elements that make short fiction a pleasure to read: nice pacing, relatable and believable characters, solid dialogue, and a strange, ineffable quality that makes them linger in the heart and brain long after the last page has been turned. In The New York Stories, Tanzer takes his toolbox and uses everything in it to explore love, youth, growing up, pain, parenthood, and even the way natural catastrophes affect us. The result is a collection that beautifully displays a very talented author at the top of his game while exploring what it means to be human with equal doses of tenderness and brutal honesty." --Verbicide Magazine

"The New York Stories is an ambitious work, seeking no less than to illustrate the collective lives of small towns. Tanzer's large-scale vision brings this goal into focus, but it's his quick prose that keeps readers moving through each story with satisfaction and ease. If you're interested in the dark and dirty cycles of America's small towns, pick up this book." --Necessary Fiction

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ISBN: 978-1-939987-33-4 | Barcode | QR code | Press release

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