With his signature darkly acerbic and sharp-witted humor, George Singleton has built a reputation as one of the most astute and wise observers of the South. Now Tom Franklin introduces this master of the form with a compilation of acclaimed and prize-winning short fiction spanning twenty years and eight collections. Read More
With his signature darkly acerbic and sharp-witted humor, George Singleton has built a reputation as one of the most astute and wise observers of the South. Now Tom Franklin introduces this master of the form with a compilation of acclaimed and prize-winning short fiction spanning twenty years and eight collections, including stories originally published in outlets like the Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, Playboy, the Georgia Review, the Southern Review, and many more. A lovelorn and chatty euthanasia vet arrives at a couples’ house to put down their dog, Probate; a father-to-be searches his workplace--a bar--for a replacement sonogram after recording an episode of Bonanza over the original; an unlikely romance sparks between a librarian and a professional bowler while they compete to win an RV; a father takes his son to visit the many ex-girlfriends that could have been his mother.
These stories bear the influence of Flannery O’Connor and Raymond Carver, at other times Lewis Nordan and Donald Barthelme, and touch on the mysteries of childhood, the complexities of human relationships, and the absurdity of everyday life, its inexorable defeats and small triumphs. Assembled here for the very first time, You Want More showcases the body of work, hilarious and incisive, that has cemented George Singleton’s place among the South’s greatest living writers.
"If you think you don’t like short stories, you’ve probably never read George Singleton. The South Carolina author has perfected the art form with his hilarious tales of ordinary people in the American South. Singleton writes with a real sympathy toward his characters and a skewed, original sense of humor (his debut novel was called Novel). This book collects some of his best work, and after reading it, you’re going to want to get your hands on everything he’s written. You want great comic literature? You want George Singleton." ―Michael Schaub, NPR
"While they focus on the mundane details and overlooked subjects of small-town Southern life, the magic is in how each of the seemingly quotidian moments and people prove completely unpredictable and unexpected. Frequently dark but nevertheless playful, this collection is a pitch-perfect presentation of Singleton's singular style. An ideal introduction to a Southern literary master, You Want More provides bite-sized doses of tragicomic entertainment from an unpretentious storyteller." ―Shelf Awareness, Starred Review
"Considering our current state of affairs, some levity is welcome. The timing of You Want More couldn’t be better." ―Atlanta Journal-Constitution
"Singleton’s fellow writers regard his work with an affection bordering on awe, but both comic writing and short fiction are underrated forms, which is how Singleton has become something like the John Prine or Tom Waits of Southern scribes: revered, honored, and esteemed but almost criminally underappreciated. Indeed, Singleton’s work is too original, too wildly hilarious and inventive to be imitated." ―Chapter16
"Although not presented chronologically by original publication date, there is a thoughtful ordering to the stories nonetheless, or rather, a heartbeat that rises and falls only to rise again throughout the collection. The final piece, “What Could Have Been?” is a story written as driving instructions giving way to directions to access life-defining memories. In this treasure trove of a collection, readers are directed to revisit and celebrate all that has been in Singleton’s career-defining work as sage storyteller and as chronicler and inquisitor of southern bedlam." ―Southern Review of Books
"Singleton brings together his best work along with one new story in this smashing collection that combines satire, tragicomic premises, and small-town South Carolina locales. Items as innocuous as caulk or a VHS tape become the focus of droll yet moving meditations on the foibles of modern life or the misery of a marriage’s disintegration...Fans and newcomers alike will rejoice in reading these highlights from a Southern literary master." ―Publishers Weekly, Starred
"These stories have absurdist energy, wit, and inventiveness to burn, but antic comedy is their mode and métier, not their sole aim or reason for being. Singleton's work doesn't wear literariness on its sleeve; even when he channels canonical writers, as in "John Cheever, Rest in Peace," he does so in a way that's literal and can seem almost anti-literary—making the grandly metaphorical, life-spanning "The Swimmer" into a story in which a man suffers a heart attack on his riding mower and then, dead, cuts a gently arcing swath across his town before crashing into a silo. But these stories are often sneakily ambitious, sneakily moving. Singleton has Charles Portis' gift for writing a satire both ruthless and lined always with affection, and like that Southern icon, he's a master of and evangelist for the joys and idiosyncrasies of speech, especially the loquacious talk of barrooms and Little League fields and scrapbooking shops. For the uninitiated, a wonderful introduction to a Southern original." ―Kirkus Reviews, Starred
"A greatest-hits album from a writer whose stories are like epic spitballs from the back of the class: high-arcing and unbearably funny protests against the absurdities of everyday life." ―Jonathan Miles, Garden & Gun
"In his brilliant mix of comedy and tragedy and deep tenderness for the most “minor” characters among us, George Singleton is nothing less than the Shakespeare of South Carolina." ―Margaret Renkl, author of Late Migrations
"George Singleton is one of the funniest writers in America. He's also the writer most attuned to the American freakshow―its hilarity, its hopes, its heartbreak. His fiction has mattered, a lot, for as long as he's been writing it, but it's never mattered more than now. You Want More is a major book from a major writer." ―Brock Clarke, author of Who Are You, Calvin Bledsoe?
"People always ask what the one book you’d take to a deserted island. For me, it might be this one." ―David Joy, author of When These Mountains Burn
"Over his career, George Singleton has written unruly characters living unruly lives. His depictions of the American South―in particular the everyday tumult of white blue-collar men and women struggling to come to terms with this strange and chaotic world― are both tragic and comic, heartbreaking, surreal, and―when least expected―weirdly ebullient. Singleton is a brilliant storyteller; his vision is crystal clear and wonderfully warped." ―Julianna Baggott, author of Burn
"Singleton’s South doesn’t look like anybody else’s." —The Atlanta-Journal Constitution
"A disturbingly askew vision of the South." ―Entertainment Weekly
"George Singleton is a madman. He's also one of the most talented writers the South has turned out in decades." —The Charleston Post and Courier