Robert Lopez has collected 29 short stories running from the very short on up to efforts that might be considered standard story length, plus a novella in shorts to close out the book. Like his previous works, Asunder is a study in the usage of language. Lopez carefully considers each word before leaving it on the page, and it shows.
“Lopez has the ability to give the reader whiplash with his unconventional and bewitching stories.” — Los Angeles Times
“Robert Lopez is the master of deadpan dread, of the elliptical koan, of the sudden turn of language that reveals life to be so wonderfully absurd. Always with Lopez, the voice is all his — enchanting, surprising, at times devastating.” —JESS WALTER, author of Beautiful Ruins
“Robert Lopez’s strange, incantatory, visionary stories reveal the mysteries behind the ordinary world. You lift your head from this book and it’s as if a third eye has been opened.” —DAN CHAON, author of Await Your Reply and Stay Awake
“Nothing is funnier than unhappiness,” claims Samuel Beckett. To this, we add: nothing is funnier than unhappiness with a heavy dose of amorality, as we learn from Robert Lopez’s unforgettable Good People. In these twenty stories, a motley cast of obsessive, self-deluded outsiders narrate their darker moments, which include kidnapping, voyeurism, and psychic masochism. As their struggles give way to the black humor of life’s unreason, the bleak merges with the oddly poetic, in a style as lean and resolute as Carver or Hemingway.
Treading the fine line between confession and self-justification, the absurd violence of threatened masculinity, and the perverse joy of neurosis, Lopez’s stories reveal the compulsive suffering at the precarious core of our universal humanity.
Robert Lopez is the author of two novels, Part of the World and Kamby Bolongo Mean River, and the story collection Asunder. He lives in Brooklyn.
Kamby Bolongo Mean River, Robert Lopez’s hypnotic second novel, is the story of a young man whofinds himself confined and under observation, the subject of seemingly pointless tests. His only link to the outside world is a telephone that will not dial out. During the occasional calls he receives, usually wrong numbers, the narrator remembers his former life growing up in Injury, Alaska with his Mother, an often unemployed single parent, and his older brother, Charlie, a sometime boxer, sometime actor. Throughout the course of this extraordinary novel, the unwilling captive draws his life-story in stickfigures on the walls. From the difficulty of his birth, to his sickly childhood, to adventures with his brother, the narrator depicts his crazy life, which is at once fascinating and heartbreaking. The one memory that haunts him is that of watching a movie about slaves on television and how that one slave, the one for whom Kamby Bolongo Mean River meant freedom, would…