Hurry Please I Want to Know, Paul Griner
2016 Kentucky Literary Award Winner
Honorable Mention for the 2016 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award in Short Stories
Paul Griner’s stories leave the reader leaning forward in urgent curiosity as he spins between quotidian worlds infused with the foreign, and foreign worlds that feel familiar. A man brings his mother back from the dead, only to find her most irritating quirk magnified; a soldier crosses dangerous terrain to milk a cow in an enemy village; a woman, haunted by her multiple miscarriages, follows a stranger at the urgent care clinic who has just suffered her first. Griner mixes together violent, shocking endings and ones that fade away quietly. The result is a meditation on capturing the intangible, and the human fascination with worlds that are not our own.
Praise for Hurry Please I Want to Know:
“Twenty-two stories ranging in length from a few paragraphs to 20 or so pages and in style from the freakishly absurd to the heartbreakingly realistic. Griner excels in his longer stories, one of which—”On Board the SS Irresponsible”—borders on being a masterpiece. . . . Griner’s stories shine a glaring light on the complexities of human personality and family relationships.”
—Kirkus, starred review
“What stands out most in Paul Griner’s short-story collection, Hurry Please I Want to Know, is the author’s comfort and skill with stories that range from seemingly normal circumstances to outlandish situations he masterfully conveys in real terms.”
“Griner overlays tales of family, artistry, and parent-child relationships with elements of the surreal, in order to create, in the words of one character, ‘an undercurrent of mournfulness.’ The collection’s best stories . . . offer just enough detail to produce strong emotions while remaining cryptically open-ended.”
“Griner’s stories often begin with a moment of realism, slowly revealing the miraculous and the terrifying….Like the ever-shifting landscapes encountered by Griner’s characters, these stories channel unpredictability in a variety of ways, memorably showcasing the literal and figurative dangers around us.”
"This eclectic yet wonderfully coherent collection proves once again Griner’s acute grasp of the complex and slippery emotions leading from gladness to mourning…. [T]he one constant in Griner’s stories is that the pain of loss is inevitable and unfathomably difficult to deal with. This is not to say that the stories, with their deadpan narrators, impossible ethical dilemmas, and often bizarre and dream-like internal laws, do not also manage to be hysterically funny. Griner understands that, at their core, emotions are physiological noise, and he expertly evokes situations in which the reader is invited to indulge in almost medical self-observation before responding to the stories’ absurdities and profundities with the same narrow embodied repertoire—laughter, sadness, confusion—as Griner’s protagonists and narrators."
—The Carolina Quarterly
“Paul Griner is a daredevil of a storyteller, fearless but always in control, equally adept at wild satire and sharp-edged domestic drama. Anyone who cares about the short story—or just loves good writing—should make a beeline for this remarkable collection.”
“Paul Griner finds surprising and inventive ways to write about a wide range of sometimes uncomfortable--but always interesting--situations. The writing is careful, precise, shocking--stylistically brilliant. The stories are sometimes surreal, but convincing all the same. They take your breath away!”
—Bobbie Ann Mason, author of The Girl in the Blue Beret
"Paul Griner's Hurry Please I Want to Know takes the reader on a sweeping tour of America–from Iraqi soldiers to prison telemarketers, from famous cartoonists to bone procurers, from missing persons to the resurrected dead–the real, the surreal and everything in-between. Griner seems to know everybody's secrets, and this astonishing collection sets out to reveal them.
—Dan Chaon, author of Await Your Reply and Stay Awake