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A new collection of stories from 5-Time Pushcart Prize Winner Richard Burgin:

The Conference on Beautiful Moments

$18.95 paper, 175 pages, 6 x 9 in.
ISBN 978-0-8018-8519-8
Available in bookstores or order toll-free from Johns Hopkins University Press 1-800-537-5487

Click here to see The Conference on Beautiful Moments on the publisher's website: The Johns Hopkins University Press

Critics Praise Richard Burgin's Fiction

“One of America’s most distinctive storytellers . . . I can think of no one of his generation who reports the contemporary war between the sexes with more devastating wit and accuracy.” –The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Without showiness or fuss, Burgin writes gorgeous evocative prose . . . A writer at once elegant and disturbing, Burgin is among our finest artists of love at its most desperate.” –The Chicago Tribune

“Richard Burgin’s tales capture the strangeness of a world that is simultaneously frightening and reassuring, and in the contemporary American short story nothing quite resembles his singular voice.” –The Boston Globe

“The 11 tightly controlled stories in Richard Burgin’s third collection, Fear of Blue Skies, present characters of such variety that no generalizations about them can apply. Throughout this arresting volume, Burgin is sensitive to the infinite brands of human error . . . as well as to our rare redemptive moments of resilience and understanding.” –The New York Times Book Review

“Burgin’s collection of best stories constitutes a compelling vision of contemporary America.” –The San Francisco Chronicle

“Burgin is eloquent . . . he’s a brilliant storyteller . . . masterly in his exploration of the mysteries and tensions of relationships.” –The St. Petersburg Times

“Entrancing stories . . . tremendous insight . . . In these stories he takes us to some places we might not want to go but that we will be grateful to have visited.” –The Chicago Tribune

“Burgin’s steady and strong writing brings the story to a magnificent climax . . . Never didactic, and never failing to sustain a most suspenseful story, Burgin pressures these characters for all they’re worth.” –The Harvard Review

“Burgin’s voice is as strange and compelling as they come.” –The Brooklyn Rail

”Burgin has created a chorus of voices too haunting to be easily forgotten.” –The New York Times Book Review

“Burgin subtly covers the spectrum of contemporary situations . . . Man Without Memory astutely probes the terror of the psyche.” –The Washington Post

“Opening this book is like stepping into quicksand. Richard Burgin’s ingenious tales are disconcerting from the word go.” –The Los Angeles Times

“Compared to the mainstream fiction that surrounds it on the bookshelves, The Identity Club is like a bullet casing lodged in a Hallmark display. You feel compelled to examine its dangerous beauty . . . The Identity Club also boasts a CD of 20 songs. . .A blend of jazz, pop, and classical, [the enclosed CD] Don’t Go There will surprise you with its sweeping melodies and sly lyrics.” –Las Vegas City Life

“The motley psyches in Mr. Burgin’s gallery expose themselves in eerily funny monologues . . . But it is not their strangeness alone that fascinates . . . Rather, it is the way they twist messages from a saner world to fit their peculiar neuroses. And that is why Mr. Burgin’s stories are so dexterous. In them, he has paused near a border, shifting his weight nervously, sizing up the wild, surrealistic landscape that lies just a few paces ahead.” –The New York Times Book Review

“Funny, touching and deftly written, The Spirit Returns is a brave and eloquent book.” –Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Burgin writes crisp and intelligent dialogue and description and he handles disconcerting situations with deadpan ease . . . his characters—alone, alienated, dissolute and desperate—come alive on the page.” –Publishers Weekly

“Unfailingly believable, sometimes beautiful . . . we’re left to marvel at Burgin’s unflinching revelations.” –Boston Review

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Richard Burgin

Richard Burgin is the author of 12 books and over a hundred songs and pieces.  His books include the novel Ghost Quartet; the story collections Fear of Blue Skies, Private Fame and Man Without Memory; and the interview books Conversations with Jorge Luis Borges and Conversations with Isaac Bashevis SingerMany of his musical compositions have been recorded and are available on CD.  In October 2005 he published The Identity Club: New and Selected Stories and Songs, a collection of 20 of his best stories and 20 of his best songs available in a single book from Ontario Review Press, Distributed by W.W. Norton, New York.

Richard has won five Pushcart Prizes for his fiction.  He is Founding Editor of the renowned internationally distributed literary journal Boulevard, and is a Professor of Communication and English at Saint Louis University.  Three of his books were named "Notable Books of the Year" by The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Times Literary Supplement named The Identity Club one of "The Best Books of 2006."  The title story of that collection was reprinted as the lead story in The Best American Mystery Stories 2005 and in The Ecco Anthology of Contemporary American Short Fiction (published by Harper Perennial 2008) edited by Joyce Carol Oates.  His most recent book published by Johns Hopkins University in January 2007 is the story collection The Conference on Beautiful Moments.

"There is no voice in American letters today like Richard Burgin's." -Bloomsbury Review