'He reflected in future retrospect on the evening and foretold every gesture, every word. "I can't do it," he said. "I can predict everything that will happen from the moment they arrive to the little kiss on the cheek goodbye and I just can't goddamn do it."'
The Dinner Party immerses us in the comic and strange realities of modern life, as we journey through the lives of the unlovable, the unloved, and those who love too much: Jack, who nervously tries to befriend the surly removal man by buying him a latte and a croissant; Sarah, who endlessly imagines how her evening would have been better had she only chosen a different restaurant; Joe, who spends a night alone at the office and surreptitiously starts to rearrange his colleagues' belongings.
These are stories about the infinite possibilities of a person's life, from an agonizingly funny and original writer.
Enormously enjoyable . . . Ferris really nails contemporary insecurity
The stories are constructed with great care, combining beady-eyed observation with farce, black comedy and occasional moments of lyricism
In this egregiously entertaining collection of short stories, Ferris tackles the most enervating range of emotions - despair, doubt, anxiety, humiliation - as his doleful characters trawl New York
A magnificent black carnival of discord and delusion ... For some accomplished novelists-and Ferris is one of the best of our day-short stories are mere doodles, warm ups or warm downs, slight variations on themes better addressed at length. Not so for Ferris. Dynamic with speed, yet rich with novelistic density, his stories make "The Dinner Party" a full-fledged feast, especially for readers with a particular taste for the many flavors of American crazy.
Ferris's three novels have earned him a reputation as a high-concept high-wire artist, always working the line between comedy and tragedy, the domestic and the outlandish. His stories, by comparison, are compact gems of timing and everyday absurdity, and finally, here they are in one place. Hollywood satire, marriage-ending secrets, cracked minds, broken families: Ferris renders contemporary life as a parade of sad clowns.
A collection that show[s] humanity at its most awkward and insightful.
Ferris has a sure hand when it comes to the nuances of interpersonal relationships. He knows the thin line between awkward and easy, and when silence between two people can be a sign of strain or comfort. Ferris walks this territory so well that we often see our own complicated selves reflected in his writing... Though Ferris' assured collection may seem laced with hints of despair, the stories are full and rounded, sad but often also tinged with humor and rich in empathy.
Ferris has mastered a kind of fictional sucker punch, and he'll get you every time.
[These stories] explore the fraying psychologies of their protagonists by way of dark humor and understated tragedy. In the excellent, surreal title story, the fissures in a childless couple's marriage become unbridgeable divides after their close friends fail to attend a dinner party... [they] contain moments of sharp levity and intense insight, reminders of the heights the author can achieve when he is able to sustain his immense talent
One of the most anticipated books of 2017... the Dinner Party explores an array of emotions from a deeply human perspective.