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Praise for

The Conference on Beautiful Moments

 

"Burgin skates along the edge of realism and dark fantasy in fiction so supremely well made that all manner of fancy and menace is readily ingested.  Founder and editor of Boulevard, a professor, a Pushcart Prize regular, and the author of a dozen books, including The Identity Club (2005), Burgin is sophisticated, versatile and receptive to the strange amalgams of voluntary and involuntary behavior that add up to our polymorphous nature.  Each short story in his sixth collection pairs opposites and swerves in unpredictable directions.  Sometimes disaster is averted, as in the tricky, ultimately charming "Vivian and Sid Break Up," or repressed, as in the masterfully creepy "The Second Floor," a story about a young prostitute and a seemingly timid rich man.  In another, an aging and presumptive movie star seduces her wimpy biographer and snubs her handsome butler.  In another, a journalist infiltrates a conference ostensibly concerned with aesthetics that has morphed into something monstrous, a devolvement in keeping with Burgin's wily humor and sure sense of the fine line between the absurd and the malignant, the droll and the consequential." --ALA Booklist (January 1, 2007)

 

"Burgin is the poet laureate of loneliness and longing, writing economically, with humor and exquisite attention to interior monologues. . . ." --Philadelphia Inquirer (December 17, 2006)

 

"Burgin's compelling work examines loneliness. . . Taken as a whole, Burgin does a superb job of chronicling an essential human need.  His protagonists may not be adept at connecting to fellow travelers in love or family.  To his credit, Burgin tells the stories that fill in the gaps." --The St. Louis Post-Dispatch

 

"It takes a masterful writer to create characters who, regardless of whether they are likable, keep the reader engaged. Richard Burgin is such a writer."—January Magazine

 

"It's not an astonishing claim to speak of Burgin's mastery of the short story form. His multiple Pushcart Prizes speak to this . . . Both in subject and form Burgin never seems to tell the same story twice . . . Burgin [is] at the top of his game."—The Arkansas Review

 

"Richard Burgin’s voice is what takes you in. It can be casual to the point of breeziness, but with an undertone of insinuation that, like a street-corner whisper, at once draws you in deeper and warns you against following; it treats you almost obsessively to detail while seeming to withhold the one thing you need to know; it never loses its cheerful, dogged note even when describing the absolutely horrific; it has a nugget of ice at its center. It is, in short, the perfect instrument of urban anomie, and over the course of several fiction collections and a novel, Ghost Quartet, it has carved out a distinctive and unmistakable place in American letters. Burgin’s new collection, The Conference on Beautiful Moments, represents him in peak form."—Per Contra

 

"The Conference on Beautiful Moments contains some of the best prose I've read in the last year, and while nearly every story is a model of psychological realism and philosophical depth, a sizable percentage of them also offer suspense of the praying-the-character-will-get-out-alive variety . . . Burgin as a portraitist of conjugal love that is neither idealized nor desperately bleak bears comparison with some of the literary-historical peaks in relationship-realism, like, say, William Dean Howells and Alice Munro."—Chautuaqua Literary Journal

 

"Burgin is always inventive and suspenseful, with tough and truthful insights about the quest for identity, authenticity, connection and commitment."—Chicago Tribune

 

"If his literary career ended today, Richard Burgin would certainly be ranked in the top tier of American short story writers . . . some of his best writing; for those already in the know, enjoy yet another strong collection by a master practitioner of the short story."—The Pedestal Magazine.com

 

"This is a work Chekhov could appreciate." - The Review of Contemporary Fiction

 

 
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