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A Stranger in This World: Stories
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A Stranger in This World: Stories

3.95  ·  Rating Details  ·  432 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
Two lovers are caught in an accident that spirals into murder; a young woman greets passers-by from her window, and a neighbour steals into her house; a man abandons new-found security when his wife - with all her attendant junk - reappears. In this collection of stories, love and danger, risk and betrayal are the guides into uncharted territory.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published August 8th 1995 by Vintage (first published 1994)
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Feb 28, 2013 Owen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Each of Kevin Canty's short stories from this collection is so unique and completely different from the previous one. He is realistic, but in the same way that YA conemporary books tend to be realistic but optimistic: his stories are realistic but pessimistic, often in the worst-case-scenario. He shows that life is far from perfect. There are bad marriages. There is sadness. Not everyone likes themselves or their lives.

For me, the stories of this collection did not resemble anything in my life a
Dec 31, 2014 Jason rated it really liked it
This is a great collection of stories. Like all the so-called "dirty realists" much of the writing is spare, much of it deals with outsiders and the downtrodden. Yet these stories will surprise you in just how experimental they are at times, where the prose lapses into pure poetry, and other times into erratic thought. Like Denis Johnson, this guy has an ability to say much with little. I look forward to reading more from Canty.
Maggie Gardner
Apr 03, 2011 Maggie Gardner rated it it was amazing
Published: First Vintage Contemporaries Edition, August 1995

“There is no other life… the person that you are is the person you’re going to be. Though it was tempting to pretend.”

Kevin Canty’s A Stranger in this World is full of stories about people in many different walks of life. Age, gender, disease, and drug abuse- it’s all covered within the book’s pages. The reader is granted the opportunity to take a look into the life of strangers, a life they may know all too well or may never experienc
Feb 16, 2011 Matthew rated it it was amazing
“A Stranger in This World”
Stories by Kevin Canty
First Vintage Contemporaries
New York, 1995

Prepare for the dramatic and unnerving as you begin to read Kevin Canty’s debut short story collection, seeing the world from the eyes of victims of chance and choice. His stories will leave you feeling like a stranger in his world, as he creates striking characters and unexpected events. But his stories aren’t all that strange. All of them set in a world not too different from our own, removed only by tim
José Vivas M.
Dec 21, 2015 José Vivas M. rated it liked it
Shelves: in-english, kindle, 2015
Interesante set de historias cortas, donde mandan las malas decisiones, las circunstancias horribles o anormales de vidas anónimas, la imposibilidad de escapar de circunstancias culposas y pasados vergonzosos. Y donde sin embargo se encuentra poesía y redención.
Michele Tracy
Apr 12, 2012 Michele Tracy rated it it was amazing
The characters in this book were simply unforgettable. Canty writes about people on the margins often making glaringly stupid choices. The characters are depressing, compelling and funny all at the same time. I loved every story in this collection. I wanted to understand how he created his short stories, so I took to writing out some of his sentences, studying how he began and ended his stories, what happened in the middle of his stories, etc. I fell in love with the writing all over again.
gah, this is sooooo overdue. this is where it all started. canty's signatures of grit, fucked up interpersonal relationships, struggles to connect, beautiful and redemptive nature (even if, or especially so if used and abused by humans), montana. oh, that interpersonal i always use? from this great novel Londonstani and canty? try the full length on for style Nine Below Zero
David Breedlove
Apr 06, 2011 David Breedlove rated it really liked it
Kevin Canty gives the his admissions of humanity in A Stranger in This World. This a book of 10 individual short stories. Each story contains different characters and different events, while maintaining an overall theme of strife and personal reflection. The stories contain drug addicts, alcoholics, sexual desires, and everything dirty in the world. He contradicts this with human emotions, compassion, and beauty. There is blunt honesty oozing through the pages. Usually his main characters are th ...more
Jim Hunnicutt
Jun 08, 2011 Jim Hunnicutt rated it it was amazing
This compilation of Kevin Canty’s short stories eloquently displays his unique power of setting, character and structure. After reading this novel, what stand out are his abilities to take characters in common situations that anyone could find themselves in and turn them around to chaos in the blink of a sentence or two. From a young boy dealing with an alcoholic parent, to a couple rear-ended by fate, to a woman still engrossed with the vivid memories of her long-dead husband, Canty creates th ...more
Feb 16, 2010 Saxon rated it liked it
There’s very little BS with Canty’s writing. It’s terse, effectual and doesn’t have any need for lofty words and dictionary-grabbing adjectives. It works well for the context of are highly unromantic, bleak and anxious stories. His got a serious grip on his prose and it comes off smooth and easy. But then there are those stories, those seriously ridiculously, B-movie suspense flick-like stories and it bums me out. I can hear a voice-over, like for a trailer to a bad movie, when reading some of t ...more
Jan-Jaap van Peperstraten
Mar 02, 2015 Jan-Jaap van Peperstraten rated it it was amazing
A powerful, beautiful collection of stories so searingly sad that it makes you wonder how the protagonists manage to keep themselves afloat at all. In this world there's no cheap grace, and possibly no costly grace either, and for their sins are denied even the relative, tragic pathos of the damned. But averting one's gaze from these crashes-in-(not-so)-slow motion? Impossible.
Hunay Saday
Feb 23, 2014 Hunay Saday rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Except first story, the other ones were disaster to me. I didn't get why they were so boring. I am sorry but didn't like it, not at all:(
Jun 03, 2013 Paul rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
I really like Canty's sense of place in these stories. As the jacket copy reads, it's Ford-esque (I wouldn't say Carveresque), but most of the stories read like they come from a writer who really likes Ford, but just (obviously) isn't. Similar, and well written, but just not quite there. Some unearned and unnecessary violence as a few climaxes. Overall a good read, and as I said I like his attention to the landscape (virtually ignored by most/all east coast writers), but just a little something ...more
John Jeffire
Jul 18, 2012 John Jeffire rated it it was amazing
I just dig these stories. They are unsettling, but only because we know that Canty dares to expose something horribly real in life. For example, the story "Pretty Judy," in which a young boy is ultimately responsible for taking sexual advantage of a mentally handicapped neighbor. The mere thought of this is repulsive, yet such depravity is, unfortunately, part of our damaged human experience. Read this book only if you are prepared to feel your skin crawl.
Zach Gerberick
Jun 18, 2014 Zach Gerberick rated it it was amazing
Brilliant. One of my favorite contemporary writers of short fiction. Does interiority like no other. Heavy, old-fashioned plots; beautifully rendered moods of intensity and tension; and great, complex bad characters. Looking forward to moving to his novels.
Eric Wright
Jan 08, 2014 Eric Wright rated it really liked it
My completely unbiased review after having Professor Canty as a teacher: his stories resonate like a good indie band, stripped down and soulful.
Nov 21, 2010 Brad rated it it was amazing
I found a nice little autographed copy of this book at Powell's last weekend. I am quickly becoming a big fan of Kevin Canty's short stories. The characters he draws are so real, their decisions so real and at times shocking. I can't say enough good things about this collection of stories.
Jul 10, 2012 Josh rated it it was amazing
An unsettling collection of stories where each character seems to be hanging in the balance between two worlds: one of good choices, the straight-and-narrow, and happy endings; and the other of chaos, and disaster. This is probably the best, most engaging story collection I've ever read.
Jul 17, 2013 Salvatore rated it liked it
I love this book cover. I want my collection of short stories to have one like this.

A strong collection of tales here otherwise. Rough and tough, pithy and witty. Carver is obviously a model. But there's less compassion in the ether here. Did I mention I really like this cover?
Not as good as his other book of stories I read- the one published after this one. These stories were off kilter- to weird for me- depressing almost. I'm a little tired of this is life- look how much it sucks for us ordinary people type stories.
Nov 27, 2007 Karie rated it it was amazing
A great collection of short stories. Not an uplifting one, but anyone who sticks a Nan Goldin on the cover of his book has good taste. Luckily his writing is really, really good. I was glued to this book like pasties on a double-shift stripper.
May 30, 2008 amy rated it really liked it
Reading these stories ruined my night. I went from telling myself that "nothing is fucked" and nearly believing it, to being absolutely convinced that "everything is fucked," and the transition was so easy. Very 90s, if that makes sense...
Jul 24, 2012 Mary rated it it was amazing
I have this problem with story collections: they're mostly not very good. Or there are one or two or maybe three good stories out of a dozen. This collection is good all the way through. This is very rare. You should buy it.
Apr 24, 2009 Marlene rated it it was amazing
Shelves: exclusive-shelf
Short stories about dark fringe people, mostly in cars. Well written stories, compelling images about people I don't imagine I might ever come in contact except perhaps in peripheral situations. Still stays with me.
Samir Rawas Sarayji
Apr 29, 2012 Samir Rawas Sarayji rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, short-stories
A wondeful collection of stories, my full review is here:
Jun 05, 2008 Matt rated it liked it
Have read a couple stories so far. I respect the writing, but it may be a bit too gritty, seemy, smarmy for my current tastes.
Jun 24, 2014 Stephanie rated it really liked it
A beautiful collection...difficult, discomfiting, haunting...glad I took my time with this one.
L a n c e
nan goldin cover photo is perfect.

this is one of the first story collections i'd ever read.
Dec 01, 2008 Patrick rated it it was amazing
Kevin Canty short stories really are little morsels of perfection. Bizarre perfection.
Dec 13, 2008 Lisa rated it it was ok
The first story was perfect; I was disappointed by the rest.
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Kevin Canty writes novels and short stories. He is a faculty member in the English department at the University of Montana at Missoula, where he currently resides. He received his Masters degree in English from the University of Florida in 1990, and M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Arizona in 1993.
More about Kevin Canty...

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