Honeymoon and Other Stories

Ebook
On sale Feb 22, 2017 | 176 Pages | 978-0-525-43504-4
Kevin Canty is a master of the short story, a writer whose work has been compared to that of Flannery O'Connor and Raymond Carver, but always with the understanding that Canty's is strikingly new, cool, and real. Now in Honeymoon, after two novels, Kevin Canty returns to short fiction, his first collection since his debut A Stranger in this World, a book that was hailed as "Superb: These tautly structured stories breathe with sharp, distilled intelligence."

Honeymoon is a book about love, about lovers and would-be lovers exploring unlikely alliances, all of them toeing a certain eventful edge, a decision between rational restraint and something altogether different. In the title story, a man leaves his lover's wedding with the bride's ex-girlfriend; in "Flipper" a young escapee from "fat camp" discovers a different kind of hunger while enjoying a pregnant teen's gifts of forbidden chocolate; in "Aquarium," a thirty-eight-year old woman who claims to "follow the straight and narrow" tries to resist seducing her fifteen-year-old nephew again.

Revealing the hidden longings and quirky needs of both men and women with a tough sensitivity and deep, sometimes biting humor, Honeymoon presents a masterful writer purely at home in his form, yet continuing to push himself and his stories to their limits with enthusiasm and daring.
Tokyo, My Love

Some scenery, then: a sleeping city by the ocean, streetlights and foghorns, a wisp of fog curling down the hills (in fact cigar smoke, blown by a production assistant just off camera). Unbeknownst to the citizens, a group of lit windows in one of the tall towers, busy with buzzers and maps, people shouting in Japanese: the command post. The tiny princesses are kidnapped. The missiles are racing into place.

I am the thing that happens next.

I feel myself evolving. You of all cities, Tokyo—you must know what this feels like, the little fishing village somewhere near your heart, the layers of houses and shopping and industry accreting, century by century, to form your black pearl. . . . You are not what you were. You are not what you will be.

The rockets are gathering in the suburbs, and I am changing.

To go from one body to the next, to watch your wings develop out of nowhere, beautiful, spotted wings, to feel the many segments of your abdomen contract and swell, swallowing the hundred tiny legs—too many of them!—and then one morning the new strong legs under you, holding you up. I am beautiful. Your tanks can’t stop me.

I know: Two men with mustaches have the princesses locked in a cage somewhere in the city, two near-Americans in business suits, etcetera. The princesses will be fine in the end. They will sing to me again, and I will go back to my island.

But all that is later. All that is plot. This is the moment that I love, this right now: the city sleeping, waiting, my body evolving, everything about to happen and the calm before. I can feel the city, there in the dark, waiting. I can feel how much you want me, Tokyo. Without me, without the thing that is about to happen, there’s no escape from the chain of days, turning clothes into laundry and then washing the laundry, folding the clothes, stacking them away. Who could stand it? Who could love a life like that? Admit it: You know what I’m talking about. The thing inside you that wants a hurricane, a fire a flood, that wants to hear the beat of giant spotted wings, my wings, bearing down on the city, the jets of flame spewing from my mouth and the helpless tiny planes as I bat them to the ground. You want to see the tanks roll into the street, the long sentence of Japanese that translates somehow into the single word: “Fire!” Admit it: That’s what you’re doing here, isn’t it? some tiny homeopathic dose of the hurricane you want, so that you don’t choke on your own boredom. You want tanks and burning buildings, railcars flying, rocketry and gasoline, the prehistoric scream—out of my lungs, Tokyo—that will burst every ear that hears it.

Not yet.

This is my moment, the moment before. These are my beautiful wings, unfurling. You wait, unsleeping. You wait for me. I am the thing that happens next—to you, Tokyo. Tokyo my love. To you.
© Nora Canty
Kevin Canty is the award-winning author of the novels Into the Great Wide OpenNine Below Zero, and Winslow in Love, as well as the short story collections Honeymoon and Other StoriesA Stranger in This World, and Where the Money Went. His most recent book is The Underworld: A Novel, published in 2017. His work has been published in The New YorkerEsquireGQDetailsStory, The New York Times MagazineTin House, and Glimmer Train.  He currently teaches fiction writing at the University of Montana.  View titles by Kevin Canty

About

Kevin Canty is a master of the short story, a writer whose work has been compared to that of Flannery O'Connor and Raymond Carver, but always with the understanding that Canty's is strikingly new, cool, and real. Now in Honeymoon, after two novels, Kevin Canty returns to short fiction, his first collection since his debut A Stranger in this World, a book that was hailed as "Superb: These tautly structured stories breathe with sharp, distilled intelligence."

Honeymoon is a book about love, about lovers and would-be lovers exploring unlikely alliances, all of them toeing a certain eventful edge, a decision between rational restraint and something altogether different. In the title story, a man leaves his lover's wedding with the bride's ex-girlfriend; in "Flipper" a young escapee from "fat camp" discovers a different kind of hunger while enjoying a pregnant teen's gifts of forbidden chocolate; in "Aquarium," a thirty-eight-year old woman who claims to "follow the straight and narrow" tries to resist seducing her fifteen-year-old nephew again.

Revealing the hidden longings and quirky needs of both men and women with a tough sensitivity and deep, sometimes biting humor, Honeymoon presents a masterful writer purely at home in his form, yet continuing to push himself and his stories to their limits with enthusiasm and daring.

Excerpt

Tokyo, My Love

Some scenery, then: a sleeping city by the ocean, streetlights and foghorns, a wisp of fog curling down the hills (in fact cigar smoke, blown by a production assistant just off camera). Unbeknownst to the citizens, a group of lit windows in one of the tall towers, busy with buzzers and maps, people shouting in Japanese: the command post. The tiny princesses are kidnapped. The missiles are racing into place.

I am the thing that happens next.

I feel myself evolving. You of all cities, Tokyo—you must know what this feels like, the little fishing village somewhere near your heart, the layers of houses and shopping and industry accreting, century by century, to form your black pearl. . . . You are not what you were. You are not what you will be.

The rockets are gathering in the suburbs, and I am changing.

To go from one body to the next, to watch your wings develop out of nowhere, beautiful, spotted wings, to feel the many segments of your abdomen contract and swell, swallowing the hundred tiny legs—too many of them!—and then one morning the new strong legs under you, holding you up. I am beautiful. Your tanks can’t stop me.

I know: Two men with mustaches have the princesses locked in a cage somewhere in the city, two near-Americans in business suits, etcetera. The princesses will be fine in the end. They will sing to me again, and I will go back to my island.

But all that is later. All that is plot. This is the moment that I love, this right now: the city sleeping, waiting, my body evolving, everything about to happen and the calm before. I can feel the city, there in the dark, waiting. I can feel how much you want me, Tokyo. Without me, without the thing that is about to happen, there’s no escape from the chain of days, turning clothes into laundry and then washing the laundry, folding the clothes, stacking them away. Who could stand it? Who could love a life like that? Admit it: You know what I’m talking about. The thing inside you that wants a hurricane, a fire a flood, that wants to hear the beat of giant spotted wings, my wings, bearing down on the city, the jets of flame spewing from my mouth and the helpless tiny planes as I bat them to the ground. You want to see the tanks roll into the street, the long sentence of Japanese that translates somehow into the single word: “Fire!” Admit it: That’s what you’re doing here, isn’t it? some tiny homeopathic dose of the hurricane you want, so that you don’t choke on your own boredom. You want tanks and burning buildings, railcars flying, rocketry and gasoline, the prehistoric scream—out of my lungs, Tokyo—that will burst every ear that hears it.

Not yet.

This is my moment, the moment before. These are my beautiful wings, unfurling. You wait, unsleeping. You wait for me. I am the thing that happens next—to you, Tokyo. Tokyo my love. To you.

Author

© Nora Canty
Kevin Canty is the award-winning author of the novels Into the Great Wide OpenNine Below Zero, and Winslow in Love, as well as the short story collections Honeymoon and Other StoriesA Stranger in This World, and Where the Money Went. His most recent book is The Underworld: A Novel, published in 2017. His work has been published in The New YorkerEsquireGQDetailsStory, The New York Times MagazineTin House, and Glimmer Train.  He currently teaches fiction writing at the University of Montana.  View titles by Kevin Canty

Books for Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Every May we celebrate the rich history and culture of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. Browse a curated selection of fiction and nonfiction books by AANHPI creators that we think your students will love. Find our full collection of titles for Higher Education here.

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