Tough, troubling, trembling on the edge of violence, Burton Shulman’s lean and beautifully written stories explore the secret lives of men. Here rage sits side by side with love, and the darkest scenes are infused with tenderness. A strong and unusual debut.
~Andrea Barrett, Winner of the 1996 U.S. National Book Award for Fiction and MacArthur Fellow
Burton Shulman’s stories in Safe House are anything but safe: they take on some of the biggest and toughest emotions men must face, and they do it without flinching. His characters often want to know what they must do to stand on their own, to be adequate to the occasions they find themselves in, when they are brought to a sudden surprising naked-ness. It takes nerve to write stories like these–nerve, intelligence, and heart.
~Charles Baxter, author of The Feast of Love
Safe House speaks to the complexities of being politically aware and humanly fallible in the contemporary world. Carefully detailed and intelligently written, the stories probe the questions that haunt us: how does one go about making a decent life? What does it mean to be safe? Who do we fear the things we desire? This is a book of haunting darkness and exacting honesty, and Burton Shulman is an exciting new literary voice.
~Robert Boswell, author of Tumbledown
Burton Shulman’s stories are more than accomplished; they’re admirable. They’re populated by characters–mostly men–who wrestle with the question as venerable as civilization: how should a good man live? They want to give more. They want to feel less circumscribed. And their stories turn out to be political in the quietest possible way, demonstrating, through their artfulness, just how politicizing compassion really is.
~Jim Shepard, author of Like You’d Understand, Anyway and Project X
In Burton Shulman’s collection of audacious and assured stories there is no safe house, no place for the reader on the run to retreat from painful human conflict…In common with the best story writers, he understands the crucial benefit of friction–between characters of different colors, different classes, different genders, different ages. But rare even among the best of today’s writers, he exploits these griefs and discords, these contests and communions, with steady moral seriousness and with warmth. This is an exciting new voice telling tales of consequence with generous intimacy; they are tales confided to a trusted friend after the lights go out.
~Geoffrey Wolff, author of The Final Club and The Duke of Deception: Memories of my Father