Instructions for a Funeral:
This event includes a book signing
April 9, 2019
7:00 PM ET
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
This event is free; no tickets are required.
Harvard Book Store welcomes acclaimed writer DAVID MEANS—author of Assorted Fire Events and Hystopia—for a discussion of his latest story collection, Instructions for a Funeral.
About Instructions for a Funeral
Following the publication of his widely acclaimed, Man Booker-nominated novel Hystopia, David Means here returns to his signature form: the short story. Thanks to his four previous story collections, Means has won himself an international reputation as one of the most innovative short fiction writers working today: an “established master of the form.” (Laura Miller, The Guardian). Instructions for a Funeral―featuring work from The New Yorker, Harper’s, The Paris Review, and VICE―finds Means branching out beyond the explorations of violence and trauma with which he is often identified, prominently displaying his sly humor and his inimitable way of telling tales that deliciously wind up to punch the reader in the heart. With each story Means pushes into new territory, writing with tenderness and compassion about fatherhood, marriage, a homeless brother, the nature of addiction, and the death of a friend at the hands of a serial-killer nurse. Means transmutes a fistfight in Sacramento into a tender, life-long love story; two FBI agents on a stakeout in the 1920s into a tale of predator and prey, paternal urges and loss; a man’s funeral instructions into a chronicle of organized crime, real estate ventures, and the destructive force of paranoia.
Means’s work has earned him comparisons to Flannery O’Connor, Alice Munro, Sherwood Anderson, Denis Johnson, Edgar Allan Poe, Anton Chekhov, and Raymond Carver, but his place in the American literary landscape is fully and originally his own.
"Means spins intricate, highly textured yarns with great artistry, care, and an acute, empathetic eye. Treasures abound." ―Publishers Weekly, starred review
"[Means's] fifth collection cements his reputation as one of the finest, and most idiosyncratic, practitioners of short fiction in contemporary literature . . . In this magnificent book, we find the stories of every one of us: absent and present, dislocated and connected, at the mercy of our history, our narratives." ―Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"With his debut novel, Hystopia, Means proved he is a gifted long-form storyteller. But his follow-up, his fifth story collection since 1991, affirms his position as one the best story writers of his generation. His sinewy, digressive prose moves seamlessly in and out of dreams, memories, and anticipation, defying time and forming riveting meditations on longing and regret." ―Booklist, starred review
Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes
As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.
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While we can't guarantee fulfillment of a signed book pre-order, our authors are almost always able to sign extra books to fulfill such orders.
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