The Virginity of Famous Men, award-winning story writer Christine Sneed's deeply perceptive collection on the human condition, features protagonists attempting to make peace with the choices--both personal and professional--they have so far made.Read more...
The Virginity of Famous Men, award-winning story writer Christine Sneed's deeply perceptive collection on the human condition, features protagonists attempting to make peace with the choices--both personal and professional--they have so far made. In The Prettiest Girls, a location scout for a Hollywood film studio falls in love with a young Mexican woman who is more in love with the idea of stardom than with this older American man who takes her with him back to California. Clear Conscience focuses on the themes of family loyalty, divorce, motherhood, and whether doing the right thing is, in fact, always the right thing to do. In Beach Vacation, a mother realizes that her popular and coddled teenage son has become someone she has difficulty relating to, let alone loving with the same maternal fervor that once was second nature to her. The title story, The Virginity of Famous Men, explores family and fortune.
Long intrigued by love and loneliness, Sneed leads readers through emotional landscapes both familiar and uncharted. These probing stories are explorations of the compassionate and passionate impulses that are inherent in--and often the source of--both abiding joy and serious distress in every human life."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-07-25
- Reviewer: Staff
Sneed's impressive and expansive story collection (following Portraits of a Few of the People I've Made Cry) exposes the vulnerabilities of life's many relationships: parents and children, friends, siblings, and lovers. "Beach Vacation" sets the tone for the collection, opening with the strained bond between a mother and her teenage son as she expresses her disappointment over the man he has grown to be. The tension switches from parental failure to comic satire with tales of Hollywood: "The First Wife," about the first wife of a famous movie star and his inevitable infidelity; a middle-aged producer falling for a starstruck wannabe in "The Prettiest Girls"; and, in the title story, an American who flees to Paris to escape his famous father's shadow. Each character's point of view reflects the myriad anxieties of modern life and love, the pressure to make moral choices, the failure of decisions, and the fear of what comes next. When a recently divorced woman finds work at a call center in "Words That Once Shocked Us," she befriends a colleague seeking attention outside her new marriage; she would rather have a friend than no one to share her love with. From the rich and famous to the down and out, Sneed's characters are exposed by life's twists and turns, their inner struggles laid bare as they seek connection to the people they love most . (Sept.)