The Chicago Tribune has called Richard Burgin "among our finest artists of love at its most desperate," a critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer dubbed him "one of America’s most distinctive storytellers... I can think of no one else of his generation who reports the contemporary war between the sexes with more devastating wit and accuracy." Through an extraordinarily vividThe Chicago Tribune has called Richard Burgin "among our finest artists of love at its most desperate," a critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer dubbed him "one of America’s most distinctive storytellers... I can think of no one else of his generation who reports the contemporary war between the sexes with more devastating wit and accuracy." Through an extraordinarily vivid and variegated set of characters, The Conference on Beautiful Moments, Burgin’s sixth collection of stories, continues his daringly dark yet often humorous exploration of these themes, as well as our mysterious quest for truth, success, and identity.In the gently satiric "Jonathan and Lillian," a movie star throws a dinner party with very different meanings for her biographer, her butler and ex-lover, and herself. In "Cruise," an aging straight man befriends a young gay man. Together they meet on their cruise ship’s deck to confess to each other "the worst thing they have ever done." In the title story, a journalist sent to investigate a conference formerly devoted to discussing beauty in the arts discovers it has turned into something considerably more sinister.In The Conference on Beautiful Moments, Burgin writes with equal compassion and insight about the homeless and the wealthy, prostitutes and businessmen, an autistic child and an art forger. His characters are masterfully illuminated by their interior narratives, which burst sharply into conversations at once intimate and calculated....
|Title||:||The Conference on Beautiful Moments|
|Number of Pages||:||361 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
The Conference on Beautiful Moments Reviews
I was excited when I read the review of this short story collection in "Poets and Writers." I feel like maybe I missed the boat a little, but I was pretty disappointed. Oddly enough, this guy's won like eight-thousand Pushcart Prizes. I think he's a good writer; the stories just don't have that "lift" I'm looking for. I'm being bad and comparing him to other writers like Dan Chaon and Ethan Canin who have recently blown my socks off. But, I think that's fair. They're all in the game together, right?Burgin seems obsessed with sex and while sexual roles are an intriguing issue worthy of examination, his tendency to ruminate on the sounds people make whilst loving got a little old for me. Okay, we get it. People revert to some beastly state while doing it. All the stories are about love, I think, in some way. Some, though, just seem underwritten, like he had an idea but wasn't sure how to follow through with it. "Dates in Hell" is a prime example of this. Don't get me wrong, there are some wonderful stories here. "Duck Pills" is absolutely fantastic. Odd, scary, funny, and sad. "Uncle Simon and Gene" is also terrific, as is "Cruise." In those stories, though, Burgin holds his talking heads, sexual dialogue in check and finally delivers the goods. If you can just find "Duck Pills," somewhere in a mag, I would highly recommend doing that, rather than shelling out the cash for the collection.I felt like I was reading short, one act plays. That's not always a bad thing, but Burgin seems to fight against the grain of where a story should take it's reader. I'm probably biased, just because I have no idea who his audience is. Maybe I should read something else by him before making a full judgement. These feel like Humorous Interpretation pieces for high school 4N6 classes. That's not a slam, either. I was in 4N6. I love situational comedy. At the sake of sounding cliche, I guess I just wanted "more." Whatever that means. Burgin also has the annoying habit of switching POV in the middle of the story without page breaks or any sort of cues for the reader. While I understand what he's doing here (and it may be his style) it flat out disrupted my reading and I had to put the stories down several times. I first I thought it was an editing mistake. I am a bastard, I know. I'm just warning you. The guy's not great. But "Duck Pills," that's great. So read "Duck Pills" and you've probably read all the Richard Burgin you'll ever need to read.