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I sailed with Magellan
Stuart Dybek
Adult Fiction DYBEK

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Dybek's third work of fiction (his first in over 10 years, after the story collections Childhood and Other Neighborhoods and The Coast of Chicago) comprises 11 elegiac, interlocking stories narrated by Perry Katzek, a young Polish-American growing up on Chicago's racially diverse South Side in the 1950s and 1960s. Although it lacks the narrative momentum of a linear novel, the book offers a powerful, cumulative portrait of the lives of Perry, his family and the people in his neighborhood, where "it seemed that almost every day someone lost teeth at one or another of the corner bars." "Breasts" follows three men with only tenuous connections to Perry, including Joey Ditto, a gangster who keeps getting distracted from making a ruthless hit by the ethereal forms of past lovers. "Blue Boy," which begins as a tale about a sick youngster, ends as a gorgeous contemplation of loss. The strongest stories deal directly with Perry's exploits. In "Orchids," Perry and his friend Stosh try to scheme their way to Mexico by stealing exotic orchids, and in the much-anthologized "We Didn't," Perry and his girlfriend's erotic lakeshore tumbling ("Swimsuits at our ankles, we kicked like swimmers to free our legs") is interrupted by the discovery of a dead body. "I was the D. H. Lawrence of not doing it," Perry reflects, "the voice of all would-be lovers who ached and squirmed." Indeed, all of these beautifully written stories teem with aching recollections. They are lyrical odes to wasted lives, youthful desires, vanishing innocence and the transformative power of memory, which is "the channel by which the past conducts its powerful energy; it's how the past continues to love." (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Steeped deeply in the street culture of Chicago, this latest from Dybek (Coast of Chicago) is a novel in the form of connected stories. Here, he proves himself to be equally adept at gritty South Side reality and coming-of-age comic touches, with wry and noir intermingling. The centerpiece is a novella called "Breasts," which starts years-gone-by in medias res when a hit man's mission is interrupted by surprising reappearances of old girlfriends. The narrative then moves on to the bloody mission itself, an arm-wrestling encounter in a seedy bar with an aging, hummingbird-costumed wrestler, and back to the locus of the book-the narrator's brother turns out in the book's "present" to be best friends with the son of the hit man's victim-all held together by a leitmotif from the title. It's a remarkable story, at once ironic, edgy, hard-boiled, sophisticated, and brutal. And it's part of a remarkable novel. Strongly recommended for all fiction collections middle-sized and up.-Robert E. Brown, Minoa Lib., NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Perry Katzek
Polish American

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