New Authors     New Books     Coming Soon     Most Popular     Top Authors    
     New Books     Coming Soon     
book cover of What a Piece of Work

What a Piece of Work

A collection of stories by

Publisher's Weekly
With these eight stories, a quietly lethal satirist of popular culture sends up self-help fads, corporate conformism, commercialized modern art, meaningless jobs, sexual affairs and other frantically pursued means of escape. In ''Gorepac,'' a narcissistic couple attempt to cure their nerdy teenage son of his video-game addiction but are themselves overcome with emotion as they watch war games. In the surreal ''Jogger's Reef,'' joggers who run to headphone music form a destructive cult that threatens the nation's productivity. Baker ( Track of the Giant ) displays his flair for caustic realism in ''Stealing Home,'' about a snobbish art professor who's almost seduced by a philistine high school classmate, and in ''Chiquita Banana Muy Bonita,'' in which a trio of impoverished Andean natives humor--even as they pickpocket--patronizing gringo tourists. ''PG'' unreels as the voice-over to a home movie whose jerky, comical feel belies its serious subject, a couple's separation. Enjoyable despite a certain sameness, these stories paint a terrifying picture of an America without a moral center of gravity. (Sept.)

BookList - John Mort
A mellow, often amusing collection of eight stories. "The Iron Doughnut" is an enjoyable comic tale of a produce clerk whose vegetable creations turn him into a performance art guru; "Gorepac" is a not altogether successful attempt at sf, with shades of William Gibson and Ray Bradbury. "Jogger's Reef" is a mad send-up of the fitness craze. Baker's work is varied, but sometimes he can't resist the academic conceit, as in "PG," a tale told as though it were a home movie. Even so, the best story here, "Stealing Home," is about an English teacher on temporary assignment in California. At his new bank he meets a woman he dated in high school, who immediately becomes familiar with him. He can't remember her, but then when she takes him through their school yearbook he is reminded all over again how awful his adolescence was, and how bright the woman's future seemed. Her life has turned out miserably, his own well; this is a bittersweet, even cruel story, undercutting both the protagonist, with his self-importance, and the old flame, who got everything she wanted and found it to be meaningless. A capable collection.


Used availability for Will Baker's What a Piece of Work

Hardback Editions

September 1992 : USA Hardback

Title: What a Piece of Work: Stories
Author(s): Will Baker
ISBN: 0-8262-0853-3 / 978-0-8262-0853-8 (USA edition)
Publisher: Univ of Missouri Pr
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA