Man v. Nature: Stories

By Diane Cook
Read by Hillary Huber and Bronson Pinchot

6.90 Hours 11/10/2015 unabridged
Format: CD (In Stock)
  • ISBN: 9781504677103

  • ISBN: 9781504677080

  • ISBN: 9781504677097

A refreshingly imaginative, daring debut collection of stories which illuminates with audacious wit the complexity of human behavior, as seen through the lens of the natural world Told with perfect rhythm and unyielding brutality, these stories expose unsuspecting men and women to the realities of nature, the primal instincts of man, and the dark humor and heartbreak of our struggle to not only thrive but survive. In “Girl on Girl,” a high school freshman goes to disturbing lengths to help an old friend. An insatiable temptress pursues the one man she can’t have in “Meteorologist Dave Santana.” And in the title story, a long fraught friendship comes undone when three buddies get impossibly lost on a lake. In Diane Cook’s perilous worlds, the quotidian surface conceals an unexpected surreality that illuminates different facets of our curious, troubling, and bewildering behavior. Other stories explore situations pulled directly from the wild, imposing on human lives the danger, tension, and precariousness of the natural world: a pack of not-needed boys take refuge in a murky forest and compete against each other for their next meal; an alpha male is pursued through city streets by murderous rivals and desirous women; helpless newborns are snatched by a man who stalks them from their suburban yards. Through these characters Cook asks: What is at the root of our most heartless, selfish impulses? Why are people drawn together in such messy, complicated, needful ways? When the unexpected intrudes upon the routine, what do we discover about ourselves? As entertaining as it is dangerous, this accomplished collection explores the boundary between the wild and the civilized, where nature acts as a catalyst for human drama and lays bare our vulnerabilities, fears, and desires.

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Summary

Summary

A 2015 Guardian First Book Award Shortlist Selection

A Portland Mercury Pick for Required Reading of 2015

A refreshingly imaginative, daring debut collection of stories which illuminates with audacious wit the complexity of human behavior, as seen through the lens of the natural world

Told with perfect rhythm and unyielding brutality, these stories expose unsuspecting men and women to the realities of nature, the primal instincts of man, and the dark humor and heartbreak of our struggle to not only thrive but survive. In “Girl on Girl,” a high school freshman goes to disturbing lengths to help an old friend. An insatiable temptress pursues the one man she can’t have in “Meteorologist Dave Santana.” And in the title story, a long fraught friendship comes undone when three buddies get impossibly lost on a lake. In Diane Cook’s perilous worlds, the quotidian surface conceals an unexpected surreality that illuminates different facets of our curious, troubling, and bewildering behavior.

Other stories explore situations pulled directly from the wild, imposing on human lives the danger, tension, and precariousness of the natural world: a pack of not-needed boys take refuge in a murky forest and compete against each other for their next meal; an alpha male is pursued through city streets by murderous rivals and desirous women; helpless newborns are snatched by a man who stalks them from their suburban yards. Through these characters Cook asks: What is at the root of our most heartless, selfish impulses? Why are people drawn together in such messy, complicated, needful ways? When the unexpected intrudes upon the routine, what do we discover about ourselves?

As entertaining as it is dangerous, this accomplished collection explores the boundary between the wild and the civilized, where nature acts as a catalyst for human drama and lays bare our vulnerabilities, fears, and desires.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“This week, I have been reading the most astonishing book, Man v. Nature by Diane Cook. The stories are surreal, with the sharpest edge and in one way or another, each story reveals something raw and powerful about being human in a world where so little is in our control.” Roxane Gay, New York Times bestselling author
Man v. Nature is as close to experiencing a Picasso as literature can get: the worlds in Diane Cook’s impressive debut are bizarre, vertiginous, funny, pushed to the extreme—but just familiar enough in their nuances of the human condition to evoke an irresistible, around-the-corner reality.” Téa Obreht, New York Times bestselling author
Man v. Nature is a knockout…every single story could make a great movie…‘Somebody’s Baby’ completely captures the crippling, animal-like vigilance of early motherhood. I had to put the book down and just sob, and I was thrilled at the same time, thinking: ‘It works! This medium really works!’” New York Times Book Review
“Here’s a good rule: if Diane Cook wrote it, read it…Safety is tenuous, if not an illusion, in her thoughtful, unsettling, and darkly funny collection.” Boston Globe
“Quirkiness abounds, with several fairy-tale tropes thrown in for good measure…Some stories jump off the page…all are oddly charming.” Publishers Weekly
“Potent and unnerving…Cook writes assuredly of archetypal terror and even more insightfully of hunger—for food, friendship, love, and, above all, survival. A canny, refined, and reverberating debut.” Booklist
“Cook’s sharply honed prose packs an intellectual yet disturbing wallop.” Kirkus Reviews

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Diane Cook

Diane Cook’s fiction has been published in Best American Short Stories, Harper’s magazine, Granta, Tin House, Zoetrope, and elsewhere. Her nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times Magazine and on This American Life, where she worked as a radio producer for six years. She earned an MFA from Columbia University, where she was a Teaching Fellow. She lives in Oakland, California.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : CD, Library CD, MP3 CD
Category: Fiction/Literary
Runtime: 6.90
Audience: Adult
Language: English