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Gates of Eden (P.S.)


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Ethan Coen and his brother, Joel Coen, are multiple Oscar-winning American filmmakers who have written and directed a number of acclaimed motion pictures, including Raising Arizona, Blood Simple, Fargo, and the 2007 Best Picture Academy Award winner, No Country for Old Men.


Fans of the Academy Award-winning film Fargo and cult classics such as Raising Arizona will be interested in this short story collection, the fictional debut of screenwriter and director Coen. Like his films, Coen's stories are clever, eccentrically funny, and uniquely twisted. In one, a dedicated weights-and-measures agent gets embroiled in a blackmailing scheme after being seduced by a giggling Japanese woman. A middle-aged man beheads his wife after she torments him about his waning sex drive. In another, a father takes his two finicky sons on a road trip, and their frustrations push him to the edge. Themes that recur throughout the collection include mobsters, blackmailing, Judaism, and the author's hometown of Minneapolis. There's quite a bit of violence, but Coen and his brother are famous for their aberrant dark humor. The writing is strong and effective‘fiction readers will be glad that Coen opted for a format change. There may be extra demand based on the popularity of the Coen brothers' films. Highly recommended for public libraries.‘Beth Gibbs, P.L. of Charlotte & Mecklenburg Cty., Charlotte, NC

The title may refer to Eden, but the characters in Coen's first collection of stories seem to come from anyplace but. The writing half of the acclaimed filmmaking duo (brother Joel directs) peoples his work with such wonderfully unsympathetic leads as a bumbling hit man, in "Johnny Ga-Botz," who gets himself exiled to Barbados, and a boy who terrorizes his Hebrew school, in "The Old Country." But it's not the comic villains so much as the absurdly petty types who give these 14 stories their color‘men like Weights and Measures inspector Joe Gendreau, who, in the title story, walks around pondering such imponderables as "what kind of society has ours become, when one kind of lettuce is no longer enough," and tries to bust men "who laugh at standards." For all the small-minded selfishness of Coenland residents, the characters never stop being pitiful‘and thus never lose their comic edge. We know that Hector Berlioz, Private Investigator (the eponymous character in one of two stories told entirely in dialogue), will not solve a real crime, but the hilarious non sequiturs he and his suspects engage in make them entirely appealing. Anyone familiar with Coen's films will instantly recognize his two-bit hustlers, and those well-versed in American-Jewish literature will easily identify the immigrant depictions. But many readers will find that familiarity is no obstacle to the enjoyment of this wittily absurd debut. Editor, Colin Dickerman; agent, Anthony Gardner Agency. (Nov.)

"The discriminating viewer who enjoyed [Coen's] distinctive and quirky films will like the equally unconventional Gates of Eden. Coen delights in juxtaposing tone, character, and settin to comic and chilling effect."--Washington Post
In Gates of Eden, the co-creator of such films as Fargo and Blood Simple delivers blackly humorous and often unsettling vignettes...All the Coen brother's trademarks are here...funny...compelling stories."--USA Today
"A distincitive voice and an offbeat worldview...All of these stories take place in Coen Brothers Land, a parallel universe similar to our own--except it's weirder, funnier, and better edited."--New York Times Book Review

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