Fun with Problems: Stories by Robert Stone

Fun with Problems: Stories

byRobert Stone

Kobo ebook | January 11, 2010

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A “stylish, specific, and often darkly comic” collection of stories from the National Book Award–winning author (*TheNew York Times Book Review*).**

From “one of our greatest living writers,” this is a collection of short fiction rich with longing, violence, and black humor (Los Angeles Times).
A screenwriter carries on a decades-long affair with a beautiful actress, whose descent into addiction he can neither turn from nor share. A bored husband picks up a mysterious woman, only to find that his ego has led him woefully astray. A world-beating Silicon Valley executive receives an unwelcome guest at his mansion in the hills. A scuba dive takes uneasy newlyweds to a point of no return. Fun with Problems showcases Pulitzer Prize finalist Robert Stone’s great gift for pinpointing the ways we conceal, reveal, and betray our truest selves.
“The stories are witty and diverse and are all unified by some element of brokenness. Whether it be alcoholic painter, drug-guzzling screenwriter, or small-town attorney, each protagonist remains despicable yet demands a certain sympathy. Everyone is broken, but nothing has yet to fall apart. . . . Each character comes closer and closer to truth, but heartbreakingly, never quite turns the corner. You know they are on the right track though and that makes suffering with these characters enjoyable.” —Booklist

Title:Fun with Problems: StoriesFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:January 11, 2010Publisher:Houghton Mifflin HarcourtLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0547488424

ISBN - 13:9780547488424

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Rated 2 out of 5 by from "A bizarre plot with a twist of twentieth century American history" by Bernie Weisz Historian/Vietnam War Pembroke Pines, Florida U.S.A. Being a historian specializing in America involvement in Vietnam, I tried to take a break in reading nonfiction by delving into Robert Stone's "Dog Soldiers". Seeing Denzil Washington in the recent movie hit "American Gangster" piqued my curiosity in this novel. Besides, I needed a break from constantly reading nonfiction. Reading a novel allows the reader to absorb without constant attention to detail and historical connection. It is also proven to bring up one's reading speed. Thinking topics such as the Vietnam War, the heroin trade that existed during the Vietnam Conflict and CIA complicity in the trade I was expecting an exciting yarn. Regrettably, I was disappointed. I found the characters, in particular "John Converse and his wife, Marge", to be burnt-out losers. You can read other reviews to get an idea of what the plot is about, so without being a "plot-spoiler", I felt that with all the drugged-out corruptness, the infidelity of the protagonist's wife, the illogical decisions made by people bent on profiting by the sale of heroin, this book was a waste of time to read. In trying to get any connection to reality, there was the part early in the story where "Converse", the protagonist, justifies smuggling a couple of kilos from Vietnam into the U.S. by what follows. Stone wrote:"The last moral objection (to smuggling heroin) that Converse experienced in the traditional manner had been his reaction to the Great Elephant Zap of the previous year. That winter, the Military Advisory Command, Vietnam, had decided that elephants were enemy agents bevause the NVA used them to carry things, and there ensued a scene worthy of the Ramayana. Many-armed, hundred-headed MACV had sent forth steel-bodied flying insects (helicopter gunships) to destroy his enemies, the elephants. All over the country, whooping sweating gunners descended from the cloud cover to stampede the herds and mow them down with 7.62 millimeter machine guns. The Great Elephant Zap had been too much and had disgusted everyone. Even the chopper crews who remembered the day as one of insane exhileration had been somewhat appalled. There was a feeling that there were limits. And as for dope, Converse thought, and addicts-if the world is going to contain elephants pursued by flying men, people are just naturally going to want to get high. So there, Converse thought, that's the way it's done. He had confronted a moral objection and overridden it". Obvoiusly, this twisted analogy to justify selling heroin made as little sense to me as the end of the story (what happens to the heroin and the people smuggling it). I need a story that has a semblence of logic, reality and historical connectedness, an attribute I felt "Dog Soldiers" lacked.
Date published: 2010-05-28