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The Surf Guru (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 2. August 2011

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"The Surf Guru is one of the best collections I've read in years. Formally innovative, full of humor and terror and compassion in equal measure, and spanning an astonishing range of settings and characters, these stories renewed my faith in the short story as an art form. Dorst's work is utterly unique and visionary."
-Dan Chaon, author of Among the Missing and Await Your Reply

"The stories in The Surf Guru are unusual not just for the frequent genius of their conceits, but for the tremendous sympathy they demonstrate toward characters who struggle with love, loneliness, and disappointment. Doug Dorst writes with a big, unbridled imagination and a big, commiserating heart, and the results, by turns devastating and hilarious, are always deeply moving."
-Chris Adrian, author of The Children's Hospital and A Better Angel

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Doug Dorst is the author of three books, most recently the novel S, which he co-authored with J. J. Abrams. He is the author of the novel Alive in Necropolis, which was honored as San Francisco’s 2009 One City One Book selection and as a runner-up for the 2009 PEN/Hemingway, Shirley Jackson, and IAFA/Crawford Awards, and a short story collection, The Surf Guru. His stories have appeared in McSweeney’s, Ploughshares, ZYZZYVA, and other journals. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a three-time Jeopardy! champion, Dorst lives in Austin and teaches writing at Texas State University in San Marcos.

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Sublimely wonderful 10. August 2010
Von Kirsten Nicole Mellor - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
This book is so wonderful, varied and appealing it is hard to think of anything even less than over the top to say about it. I think I loved every page, every character - there is not a weak spot in the entire collection. And this is quite an eclectic collection. The voice, tone and narrative varies so much on every piece you really marvel at the skill of the pen that produced it all in one place.

Each story is so utterly unique and individual, from the post-modern The Surf Guru, told from the perspective of a wealthy, insulated man, who has lost touch with who is and why he does what he does, to the persnickety and perpetually pissed off botanist in Splitters - grinding his axes post-mortem but totally interesting and alive on the page despite his overall loathesomeness, to the hapless Manolo, whose drunken bravado masks a consuming loss of the women he loved -- all the stories just hum. My favorites are the Phil and Trace stories about two childhood friends who cannot seem to get their luck together in the post-high school world - the stories are sardonic and sad and you know that all will eventually end badly for these folks, but I laughed out loud multiple times in each one. The writer's gift is wrapping the profound around the absurd and creating stories that stick with you for a long time. Dorst has such even affection for both the biggest losers and the shining lights that populate his stories - their humanity, and Dort's, glimmers on every page.

I loved Alive in Necropolis - it was quirky and original and full of full-blooded characters shambling through modern lives both interesting and mundane - but The Surf Guru collection is on some other higher plane altogether. It is just genius and I savored every page. I found myself reading at 2am and saying, "Yea, I can do just one more story" - devouring the thing in a matter of days. Pick up it and dig in. It is utterly astonishing achievement and I can't wait to read more from Doug Dorst in the future.
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Absolute Delight to Read 16. August 2010
Von Brkat - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I have to echo the opinion that this is the best collection of short stories that I have had the pleasure of reading in a long time. Superlatives couldn't capture how wonderful and original I thought "The Surf Guru" is. Author Doug Dorst's wide-ranging stories are creatively penned and vary in style, pace and tone. Each unique story has a different appeal. My favorites were "La Fiesta de San Humberto el Mentor" and "Splitters". One was heartfelt with a touch of magical realism. The other made me laugh. But all the stories, while a little off-beat, really strike at the core of the human spirit. All of the characters may be considered less than average because of either their position in life or because of the emotional baggage they carry. Yet Dorst manages to transform them into oddly sympathetic characters by the way he cleverly and wittingly portrays their struggles to become someone or achieve something more in life.

For me, "The Surf Guru" was an absolute sparkling read. I would highly, highly recommend it.
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Excellent and varied stories 31. Juli 2010
Von avoraciousreader - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
The Surf Guru: stories, by Doug Dorst, 2010

Excellent and varied stories, 5*

I was a little leery when I learned that Doug Dorst's new book (after his knockout debut, Alive in Necropolis) was a collection of stories. Too often the skills that make for a good novel -- the world building and extended character and plot development -- don't translate to good short stories. Fortunately Dorst has pulled it off, as I might have anticipated based on the dense yet entertaining prose and density of invention and development of Alive. The variety of setting, structure and theme also keep the reader's interest.

There are a dozen stories in some 275 pages, so most of these really classify as novelas or novelettes, though there are a few genuine shorts (and a few are multipartite, with one or two page sub-stories). Just a sampling:

"The Surf Guru" The unnamed Guru is long past actual surfing, designing and selling the GOO-ROO line of surf gear and clothes, in a very laid back California style, mostly just sitting on a cliff drinking Chianti and overlooking "his" beach where every surfer wears GOO-ROO .... except for the lone red-haired boy, who has his own story line. The Guru has an ex-wife who finds him less fun than his dog does, and two MBAs who run the business. He is rumored to control the tides. Life is slow and settled ...until it changes. Stylistically, the story is broken into chapters varying from a single line to shy of a page.

"Splitters: H. A. Quilcock's Profiles in Botany: A Lost Manuscript Restored, Edited by Jonathan Parker Kingslee, Ph. D." In 1968, the centennial of Hartford Anderton Quilcock, a pioneering botanist of turn of the century America, although one at odds with the academic estrablishment, the son of another botanist of the same generation (and of Quilcock's ex-wife, also a botanist) is attempting to revive interest in an unpublished series of sketches by Quilcock of other "Botanists in the Age of Quilcock". There is an introduction, a sketch of Quilcock's career, and a selection from the 462 profiles Quilcock left (and a rejection note from the publisher these were sent to). The profiles are scabrous and hilarious, and the whole is full of dry wit and laugh-out-loud moments, densely footnoted in a sendup of fussy scholarly writing behind which seethes the passion engendered by the splitter / lumper debate of taxonomists (to split slightly varying organisms into many species, or lump into few), lust, envy (professional and otherwise) and seduction.

"Vikings" and "What Is Mine Will Know My Face" are tales of two f**k-ups (there's just no other word to describe them) named Trace and Phil, and Trace's somewhat more stable and together (ex)girlfriend Mo. Told in casual, innocently profane, first person by Phil, they introduce the reader to the world of those they might otherwise glimpse, for instance, in a broken down van with vanishing funds, on a doomed journey to Alaska ("Vikings") or managing to mess up even doing flower deliveries ("What is Mine...").

Along similar lines, "Astronauts" tells us about Jo, whose squeeze Wayne is in the slammer for assault with a dangerous, whose aging Fiesta is missing reverse and not so hot on fourth (hey, I drove a car like that for a while --good times, good times :-), who is housesitting for a her high school best friend and her yuppie husband and about to take her third and last-chance driving test to certify as a truck driver for a tomato processor -- and proceeds to trash the house, get wasted and have an affair with a coworker the night before the test. Surprisingly, the tale ends on a hopeful note amid the crashing of life and dreams.

"Twelve Portraits of Dr. Gachet" is a series of 12 word-portraits at least inspired by the real-life homeopathic doctor and artist Paul-Ferdinand Gachet, with whom Vincent van Gogh spent the last months of his life. (Van Gogh painted two versions of a portrait of Dr. Gachet, and an etching.) Dr. Gachet was kind of a "doctor to the stars" of the art world of his era, and the story portrays him as manipulative and unstable, feeding off their creativity. Knowing nothing about Gachet other than a quick glance at Brittanica and WIkipedia, it's hard to know where the interface between the real and the story's Gachet is.

"Little Reptiles" is a series of four rather surreal vignettes featuring exotic reptiles in everyday settings.

A sample piece of prose: "... a cold so deep that it would freeze out everything but your purest self, and finallly you'd understand where things had gone so wrong."
If you love stories . . . 22. August 2012
Von Stephanie A. Harrell - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
. . . you'll love this debut story collection. "Vikings" alone is worth the price of admission; it's a story that's lonesome and love-aching, backdropped by isolation and absurdity, a tense and forlorn combination. "Dinaburg's Cake" is another winner in this fine collection. They all add up to a mood outsiderness at the edge of inclusion, and when you've read the last story, you'll want to invite all these characters into your life.
Crafty 22. Januar 2011
Von Willow Halliday - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe know how you are hungry and you keep eating and getting fuller but just aren't satisfied? You just end up bloated and angry? This is how "The Surf Guru", reads. Each story seems like a fragment of something bigger that never satisfies. Maybe that was Doug Dorst's intention. To give us just a taste. Hmmm...well...
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