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Plan B for the Middle Class: Stories

4.24 of 5 stars 4.24  ·  rating details  ·  131 ratings  ·  11 reviews
In his new collection of quirky, bittersweet stories, Carlson observes the men and women of the middle class, people who find themselves settling uneasily into lives they never envisioned for themselves. Carlson uncannily captures the complexity of his characters' inner lives.
Paperback, 240 pages
Published November 1st 1993 by Penguin Books (first published 1992)
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If books can be judged by the number of sittings in which they are read, Plan B for the Middle Class would get high marks. I devoured it in two long sittings, punctuated only by an obligatory night's sleep. I can only guess (why does one love a book??) that my total attachment to Carlson's stories was wrought by his ability to reproduce life on the page as well as the best of them. The characters' voices and lives are warm, comfortable, at the same time as they are wondering, despairing, exultan ...more
Brett Starr
Whats your Plan B?

Ron Carlson's second volume of short stories, much like his other stories are superbly crafted and suck you in, taking you places you never expected to go or be back at.

Part 1 consists of three stories - Hartwell, DeRay & Blazo, of those, Hartwell was my favorite and was a peferct opener

Part 2 is five stories, two of which I really enjoyed -

On the U.S.S. Fortitude
Fort Bragg (5 star short story gold)

Part 3 gives you the last three stories in the collection and has my tw
I've noticed that Ron Carlson usually splits his story collections into three parts. It usually seems like part 1 is for more straight-forward, serious stories. Stories in Part 2 are generally satirical monologues. Part 3 is reserved for dark, but still comical material. In most collections of his I've read, Part 2 is a bit weak, but Parts 1 and 3 are amazing. I feel the same way about this one.

Standouts: "The Golf Center at Ten Acres" is one of my favorite short stories ever written and "Blazo
I found this book which Rocky had given me years ago when Bonnie mentioned the Ron Carlson book she enjoyed so much. This is a collection of short stories and a couple of them ( first and last) are wonderful.

My favorite is "Hartwell." Carlson has a great sense of humor which comes at the reader in a sideways manner. These stories are enjoyable to read, offer fun, true insights into the characters and leave the reader smiling.
This is a great book, don't get me wrong. The reason I rated it a two is because I have a feeling it is targeted more towards a more middle-aged crowd. Most of the story's characters have already had, or about to have, children. Being a teenager whose main interest is scifi and fantasy, I wasn't too interested or invested in the storylines. They were, I will admit, very well written.
Frederick Bingham
Short stories about various topics. The title story is about a guy who has just lost his job, and goes with his wife to Hawaii on vacation. At the same time he relates a first sexual experience he had where he grew up in Utah.
I love this best of all his collection. He's at his most creative, whimsical, and funny in this book. "Fort Bragg" is a story I keep going back to, as is "On the Deck of the U.S.S. Fortitude." Fantastic.
Oct 24, 2010 Harley marked it as to-read
Shelves: at-library
I have a stack of short story books and I'm reading from all of them. It makes it confusing. I loved the first story in this one, and am reading the second one. He's funny and compassionate.
I could just as easily give this four stars. A collection of short stories, there are hits and misses. I would certainly recommend it.
Some very funny stuff here.
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Ron Carlson is an American novelist and writer of short stories.

Carlson was born in Logan, Utah, but grew up in Salt Lake City. He earned a masters degree in English from the University of Utah. He then taught at The Hotchkiss School in Connecticut where he started his first novel.

He became a professor of English at Arizona State University in 1985, teaching creative writing to undergraduates and
More about Ron Carlson...
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