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City of Boys

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  128 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Set in New York City, middle America, the beaches of Florida and rural highways, suburban kitchens, and cross-country trains, the ten stories of City of Boys evoke a haunting landscape at once familiar and strange. A small-town girl flees her domineering mother and falls into an obsessive love affair with an older woman in New York City. A sixteen-year-old envies her cousi ...more
Paperback, 293 pages
Published June 1st 1993 by Vintage (first published 1992)
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Emma Norry
This collection blew me away. Even though, to my mind, the opening story, City of Boys, was one of the weaker stories, giving a misleading impression of what's to follow.

Yes, some stories have similar elements: aimless, distracted, teenagers or women, drug-taking/booze-swilling parents. There is a remove here, a remoteness that means these similarities don't matter in that kind of way because they link together to give an overall impression...of...parents that are far removed from their children
Vincent Scarpa
It took me about eight months to finish this collection, mostly because I read the first six or so stories in one sitting—LOVED them—and knew that I'd never get the chance to read the rest for the first time again. So I delayed. And I'm glad I did, because it's been great to sit with this collection all this time. Nugent is a powerhouse. Her stories are often vicious and bleak and nihilistic, but they also manage to be occasionally hopeful and grace-seeking. It's true that some of the narrators ...more
i have had this book for at least ten years, and i just finally read it. (on the inside front cover, written in amalle's script, it reads "this book belongs to: [my old name:]". and at the very end of the book, on the page that advertises other books by the same imprint, there is a tiny drawing of a face -- also clearly amalle's work. all from when we were dating ten years ago.)

anyway, it was really good. i liked it much better than Nugent's "Live Girls," her novel from a couple years later, whi
One of these days I'm going to finally learn to avoid short stories. They just aren't meaty enough to remain in my memory, and these were depressing to boot. Nothing about them really caused me to think, be amused, or charmed.
Loved, loved Nugent's dryness, the subtle way in which you think a story sort of seems to be about nothing much and then BAM! an invisible fits wallops you across the face. I read it straight through, which is maybe not the best approach--a number of stories have similar elements--gin-swilling, chain-smoking parents, cheating spouses, alienated young women whose voices start to blend together from story to story.

The title story is KILLER. Can't wait to read her novel. BETH NUGENT WHY AREN'T YOU
Luke Bartolomeo
Read my reflections at my blog:

Bryan Glosemeyer
powerful, incredibly well written short stories. in particular, the title story, city of boys, is perhaphs my absolute favorite short story.

If I was a writer, this is how I would want to be able to write...
recommended to me by my prose professor because her style reminded him of me. i agree, after finishing the book, but at the same time i grew tired of hearing about the same female character over and over again.
There's a surprising hardness to the prose in these. It's beautiful, but unforgiving. There's a tenderness, but it seems more like myself getting bruised on things as I read. It's marvelous.
eerie but mesmerizing...the title story is incredible. i don't usually like short stories but this book was formidable in my high school years
Kerstin Tacke
Read this book more than 15 years ago, but still remember how fascinated I was. One of the most inspiring short stories!
I am completely obsessed with this book. I love Beth Nugent and it makes me unbelievably sad that she's not publishing any more.
Jennifer Harris
she was my mfa director and i worked with her a lot. i think i drove her crazy mostly but she's an amazing writer.
Joshua Toejam
a couple of these stories are really good in a bisexual female raymond carver kind of way
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