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Carrying the Torch: Stories

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  55 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
The stories in this collection occupy a world at once as familiar as a suburban backyard or a southern college’s hallowed football field and as strange as a man who buys Savannah, Georgia, and tries to turn it into the perfect Southern city as part of his attempt to win back his estranged wife. The fictional territory of Carrying the Torch, is in short, Brock Clarke’s, one ...more
Hardcover, 186 pages
Published September 1st 2005 by University of Nebraska Press
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Marvin
Nov 16, 2016 Marvin rated it liked it
Shelves: short-fiction
Interesting stories, mostly, that sometimes grow a little too superficial or a little too bogged down in thickish language. Sometimes feel a bit empty, more of the process than the result. Good bit of divorce, relationship failure. The title story's character vowing to rip off her cheating husband's penis; the themed parties of "The Reason Was Us"; The Catholic- and economic-survivors of "The Apology"; the put-upon husband/son/brother keeping secrets through his family's getaway to their summer ...more
Djrmel
May 14, 2009 Djrmel rated it really liked it
I knew Brock Clarke was a better writer than one would think from reading An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England! This collection of short stories shows that Clarke can allow his characters to be the stars of their own stories and not force them into contrived situations that might be best seller fodder but isn't all that interesting. In every one of these stories we are exposed to unhappy people who either are trying to fix their unhappiness or, in the case of my favorite story, " ...more
Sean Cooney
Aug 07, 2007 Sean Cooney rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who tries to write short stories
Brock Clarke teaches creative writing in my hometown of Cincinnati at UC. I read about him in Citybeat, our local entertainment magazine, and he's become one of those random discoveries I love to share with my friends. I read his first short story collection, What We Won't Do, and his novel, The Ordinary White Boy. They we both great, but this collection of short stories is even better.

Clarke's view of the world is skeptical and self-deprecating. He paints characters (who surely echo himself) wh
...more
Ginger ♥
Jul 24, 2008 Ginger ♥ rated it liked it
Recommends it for: weirdos like me.
This was an interesting series of short stories. The beginning story is one of my favorites, but they all bring something to the book in it's entirety. Every story had a humorous sorrow to it about lives torn apart told in some strangely-humored way. It was an enjoyable book for me despite the strange combination of moods.
Suzanne
Oct 17, 2007 Suzanne rated it really liked it
I read Clarke's story "The Apology" in the Pushcart Prize anthology and loved it so much I had to get the collection. "The Apology" is still one of my favorite stories of all time, and the rest of the book is funny, sad, unsentimental, and deeply affecting.
Yeti
May 18, 2009 Yeti rated it it was amazing
Any collection of short stories that opens with the image of a severed male appendage being transported around a suburban neighborhood as though it were the Olympic torch (hence the title) is definitely a must read. At times humorous, satirical and grotesque.
Lorie Kleiner Eckert
May 06, 2007 Lorie Kleiner Eckert rated it really liked it
This guy was my creative writing professor at UC. Many of these stories touch upon infidelity and the loss of a child making me wonder what's up in this guy's real life. It makes me more sympathetic to him than I was when I was in his class and found him so hard to deal with...
Beth
Sep 22, 2009 Beth rated it really liked it
Shelves: shortstories
These are funny, sometimes surreal stories of suburban alienation, in the vein of A.M. Homes or Wells Tower. David Gates (who compared Clarke to a contemporary Cheever) and George Singleton wrote the cover blurbs--very appropriate.
Stephanie
Apr 04, 2012 Stephanie is currently reading it
I love short stories, and Brock Clarke is a fine practitioner of the form. His stories are funny, somewhat loopy. People living in the shadow and substance of academia are his subjects.
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Brock Clarke is the author of three previous books: The Ordinary White Boy and two story collections. His stories and essays have appeared in the Virginia Quarterly Review, OneStory, the Believer, the Georgia Review, and the Southern Review and have appeared in the annual Pushcart Prize and New Stories from the South anthologies and on NPR's Selected Shorts. He lives in Portland, Maine, and ...more
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“They looked at each other for a while their gazes steady, unblinking. It was the way people stare at each other not when they're in love but afterward, when they finally realize all the many horrible and beautiful things locked up within that love.” 4 likes
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