The Species Crown
by Curtis Smith

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Curtis Smith, author of the novel An Unadorned Life and two short story collections, examines life’s trajectories in The Species Crown, a novella and collection of eleven short stories. Birth, coming of age, infatuation, disillusion, death—these play a key role in each story. “Murder,” noted by The Best American Mystery Stories on their “Distinguished Stories” list, is a gritty, stark, second-person exploration of a man who suffers the consequences of his darker instincts while celebrating the birth of his grandchild. “My Three Teeth,” deceptively light-hearted and hilarious, addresses a teen’s dawning awareness of life’s manipulators and losers. “The Real, True-Life Story of Godzilla!” puts us in the head of a languishing semi-pro basketball player, who, amid a foreign culture, finds answers beneath the skin of Godzilla, only to have them slip from his grasp. The collection includes two Pushcart Prize nominees (“My Totally Awesome Funeral” and “The Baby Cries”). “Beneath the Net” is another gem, economic and quietly intense, a story that leaves an indelible impression.


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