[ download Textbooks ] Permanent VisitorsAuthor Kevin Moffett – Albawater.co

Settled amid the seasonal amusements and condominium lined beaches of the Florida coast, the characters who inhabit Kevin Moffett s award winning stories reach out of their lives to find that something unexpected and mysterious has replaced what used to be familiarSome are stalled in the present, alone or lonely, bemused by mortality and disappointment Some move toward the future heartened by what they learn from those around them a tattoo artist, an invented medicine man, zoo animals, strangers, fellow outsiders Deftly rendered, these stories abound with oddness and graceIn Tattooizm, included in The Best American Short Stories , a young woman struggles with a promise that her boyfriend is determined to make her keep In the Nelson Algren Award winning Space, a reluctantly undertaken errand forces a young man to finally confront the death of his mother And in The Medicine Man, hailed by the Times UK as perfectly pitched and perfectly written, a man recounts his manic attachment to his sisterMoffett s closely observed stories are candid and complex, funny and moving The world of Permanent Visitors is an idiosyncratic and generous one, its inhabitants searching for constancy in a place crowded with contradiction


10 thoughts on “Permanent Visitors

  1. Jim Jim says:

    It s been a while since I ve read a collection of short stories that was so inventive and consistently well written Moffett is an extraoridnary stylist but make no mistake this is a character driven collection The language is always in service of the characers rather than as a thing on display to be admired for its own sake It s quirky, but endearingly so Can a writer be both cynical and sentimental I think Moffet pulls it off.


  2. John Luiz John Luiz says:

    Moffett is a master of quirky and unconventional storytelling These are not surreal, Kafka esque pieces, but neither are they at least conspicuously traditionally plotted stories with a clear and transparent emotional arc for the protagonist to undergo These are snippets from people s lives often a little bizarre With most of the stories, as Charles Baxter would recommend, there is no moment of epiphany for the protagonist But we are thoroughly transported into each of these character Moffett is a master of quirky and unconventional storytelling These are not surreal, Kafka esque pieces, but neither are they at least conspicuously traditionally plotted stories with a clear and transparent emotional arc for the protagonist to undergo These are snippets from people s lives often a little bizarre With most of the stories, as Charles Baxter would recommend, there is no moment of epiphany for the protagonist But we are thoroughly transported into each of these character s unique worlds Moffett has a terrific ability to get under each of these disparate character s skins There are passages of outstanding writing and inventiveness when he unveils the unconventional ways these characters think and act Just consider one passage from A Statement of Purpose after a man asks his girlfriend if she d stick with him if he became paralyzed and then he imagines what he d be like I m determined not to let my affliction slow me down I m active in wheelchair sports, advocacy groups, select political campaigns I ll definitely be putting a mini license plate on the back of the wheelchair Something uplifting for the kids I d be hard pressed to come up with so many clever, varied and specific details if I was trying to write a similar riff There is a lot of humor here but it s the dry, rather droll type, with Ursa, On Zoo Property and Off the best example of that The synopses below are intended to whet your appetite Getting a quick content overview of each story often does a better job of enticing me to delve into a collection than does reading that standard blurb that seems to appear on the back of every collection by a first or second time author in which a recognized name declares this writer is the next great voice in American fiction As Moffett himself noted in an interview, the best stories really defy synopsis, and that is especially true of the pieces in this collection The stories meander down lots of side paths, and they re full of interesting details that don t on the surface at least seem to serve the traditional purpose of moving a piece along to some big conclusion The 9 stories in the collection, with Florida as the prime setting, are 1 Tattooizm 21 pp A great look at the wildly divergent dreams of a young couple Dixon is an aspiring tattoo artist, who uses his thighs as his practice sketch pad He dreams of opening a store with his girlfriend, Andrea, and living with her in an apartment above it 19 year old Andrea, from whose viewpoint this 3rd person story is told, has no such plans, but she hasn t let Dixon know yet She intends to break up with him at the end of the summer, right before she enrolls in a community college She spends most of her time daydreaming how she ll describe Dixon to her next boyfriend, and there are some very funny passages in this vein Dixon had a foot shaped gas pedal in his car he was fond of movies in which an adult and a child switch bodies Just a few quick strokes, but a perfect characterization The one promise that Andrea has made to Dixon is that she ll let him give her a tattoo, and the tension in the story comes from our wondering if she ll honor that promise before their break up In this piece, a character does undergo a transformation based on insight obtained over the course of the story, but surprisingly it s not our protagonist, Andrea 2 The Fortune Teller 12 pp A moving tale of an older woman whose life has run its course and expired on her before she has The fortune telling shop she owns on a beach doesn t attract any customers any and a friend of hers has died She s left with nothing much to do but ride her bike around town, visiting the friend s former house, which is up for sale, and the friend s burial site Her friend collected bells from her travels around the world, and the woman steals one of the bells during a realtor s open house The cabinet with the treasured bells is now cast aside, neglected and forgotten in a closet The woman wonders how to direct people to dispose of her belongings and waits for the moment her life will tip in another important direction 3 The Medicine Man 14 pp A great character study of a manic depressive and his scrambled view of the world The narrator, Charlie, thinks an acquaintance with a deep tan is a medicine man, and he brings him gifts that he values but the medicine man doesn t, thinking that s the rule for medicine man gift giving He obsesses over the games he used to play with his sister, but he only remembers fixating on the rules and never enjoying playing the games themselves, which is a bit of a metaphor for his life His only real relationship has been with his sister, but that relationship has been hindered in his adult life by the fact that her husband doesn t like him In a great closing scene, this man with the scrambled brain can do what his sane brother in law can t unscramble at home ultrasound equipment that enables him, not the husband, to hear the heartbeat of his pregnant sister s baby This story, whileliterary, reminded me of a great novel that offered a similarly humorous and poignant portrayal of a man with mental emotional issues Matthew Quick s The Silver Linings Playbook A Novel 4 The Gardener of Eden 19 pp The owner of a plant nursery becomes unsettled by the death of an employee, a married woman he had only a few conversations with, although he had felt the start of what could have been a deeper bond during a brief chat he d had with her about a poisonous tree in her front yard After her death from food poisoning, he becomes obsessed with trying to offer his tree cutting services to her late husband so that their special needs son won t suffer any injury climbing or playing near the dangerous tree 5 Ursa, On Zoo Property and Off 16 pp The piece most often cited in reviews for its humor, which starts with a silly, or at least rather absurdist, premise a team of office workers decides to free one animal at a zoo, but they can t decide which, so they vote to make their choice at the zoo, hoping some animal s actions will help them determine which one is worthy of earning its freedom At the zoo, the group gets distracted by things like the macaque s swollen rear haunches In the end, the only animal they set free is a waitress in a bear suit wearing the suit is a punishment for the zoo staff The narrator invites her home, hoping she won t take off the head of the costume too soon, so that she ll maintain her bear identify for him as long as possible There s an interesting sidetrack about the narrator s growing a long beard His co workers tease him about it because he looks like Grizzly Adams, which implies that he s a natural friend of bears But at the zoo, he sees an overnight bag in a bathroom and shaves it off so poorly that one of the apes who can speak in sign language says, man, face, bloody, unfortunately 6 The Volunteer s Friend 20 pp Tate, an older man whose wife of 40 years died of cancer just two years earlier, develops cancer himself and must begin undergoing treatment His doctor recommends he take advantage of the services of a hospital volunteer who will visit him to check up on him He develops an odd relationship with the young volunteer, Callie She begins to act inappropriately asking if she can take a bath in his apartment When she invites him to come talk to her while she s in his tub, he s not sure if she s looking for conversation or somethingOn another visit, when she gets him to dance with her to his wife s French records and then dons a wig his wife had worn during her chemo treatments, it may be all too much for him 7 A Statement of Purpose 15 pp A young man, Ben, meets a woman, Adria, when they get a chance to swim in a manatee tank, and he wonders if they ll be able to ride them He then daringly asks her Can I ride you Adria doesn t reject him for such a crass and bold pick up line, but instead starts dating him Oddly, he doesn t attempt to ride her for months He s attracted to flaws and he was initially interested in her because she has very crooked teeth She decides to surprise him by getting braces He decides to surprise her with a statement of purpose that shows he s committed to the relationship a puppy But will he still be interested once Adria corrects the flaw that attracted him A little riff, mid story, on the flaws that appeal to him is both funny and peculiar Just half of it is women with lazy eyes, with neck braces, arm slings, stretch marks, missing fingers, acne, rosacea, psoriasis, mangled toes, arm fat, women with skin grafts, burns, and other scars, scars, in particular those glorious raised red keloid scars 8 Space 19 pp A young man, Ray, lives with his grandmother in the aftermath of his mother s death from cancer His grandmother, a rather frivolous woman who likes to play with words and write letters of complaint to authority figures, has been hiding from Ray what his mother s final words were It becomes his quest to get his grandmother to tell him Meanwhile, while riding the bus to his community college classes one of his classes is astronomy or Space , he meets a young 19 year old mother with her infant The Hispanic girl can barely speak English, but her baby breaks the ice for them When he runs into the mother again, he learns her baby died, and he gets conscripted into going into Sears to a buy a dress that her baby can be buried with After that experience, he decides to force his grandmother to reveal his mother s last words A great line of dialogue comes when a neighbor from the grandmother s retirement community wonders why Ray is spending so much time with his grandmother, instead of chasing girls I think your grandmother is warping you is what I think 9 The Newcomer 18 pp A story that reads a bit like a muchartful and inventive version of those old SNL Czechoslovakian brothers skits with Dan Aykroyd and Steve Martin Spiros, an Eastern European immigrant, enrolls in the Advanced Institute for American Furtherance, to meet women, and he pairs up with a Turkish sidekick He wants the beautiful women who hang out at the Institute s smoking gazebo to join him in a complex game called Uh Oh, the national pastime of his home country The game requires 202 participants and seems to involve some sort of battle with complex gear and pits teams of men against women The story is also told from the perspective of Ekaterina, another immigrant who hangs out at the gazebo but isn t as aloof and shallow as the other women Spiros hopes that by explaining the protocol of the game to the gazebo ladies the angels in his mind he ll entice them to play The question is, then, whether his decidedly un American approach to breaking the ice with the beauties will have any success Moffett does a great job of creating an alternate world within this institute which has clubs with names like People for the Ethical Treatment of Me and People Oppressed by People Oppressed by People


  3. Derek Derek says:

    What to do with something quite so exquisite as Kevin Moffett s Permanent Visitors, a collection of short stories that is, at turns, funny, heartrending, imaginative, silly, striking, and, most of all, memorable What to do, indeed, but recommend it to just about everyone.Moffett s focus on region this collection represents a distinctly non Disney Florida reminded me of fellow John Simmons Short Fiction Award winner Ryan Harty, whose also excellent collection,Bring Me Your Saddest ArizonaWhat to do with something quite so exquisite as Kevin Moffett s Permanent Visitors, a collection of short stories that is, at turns, funny, heartrending, imaginative, silly, striking, and, most of all, memorable What to do, indeed, but recommend it to just about everyone.Moffett s focus on region this collection represents a distinctly non Disney Florida reminded me of fellow John Simmons Short Fiction Award winner Ryan Harty, whose also excellent collection,Bring Me Your Saddest Arizona , is kind of adepressing brother to Moffett s But Moffett s voice is all his own, and I find that this collection is at its best when hewingclosely to traditional literary fiction The Gardener of Eden is astonishing, exceeded only by The Volunteer s Friend, both longer stories that exist in strict realism and manage to surprise through their ability to make the mundane seem extraordinary and absurd That the characters in these stories are imperfect, and precisely human in their imperfection, speaks to Moffett s skills as a storyteller Mistakes, the standing hair on the back of the neck kind, happen almost as a matter of course here, because Moffett is unafraid to depict us as we are We wear the wigs of cancer killed wives in front of widowers We jump into foam parties meant for mentally disabled children But these stories are really just two examples among many, and all of the work collected here bears closer scrutiny, rereading, and admiration.Moffett gets laughs throughout, and not cheap ones either, making this collection all theworthwhile The world, as Moffett presents it, is vulgar and ridiculous, and I think that s the source of much of this humor Take, for instance, this moment in The Newcomer, where Ekaterina opened her eyes to a woman listening to her toilet, which was moving its lid and seat like a mouth, saying it was a problem toilet, that it needed a problem toilet disinfectant Our world, our modern existence, given back to us only as it is His next short story collection comes out in March, which seems like an impossibly long time to wait If I were you, I d pick this one up while you wait


  4. Tasha Tasha says:

    I first heard Kevin Moffett read some of his work at a writing residency in 2010 and it really impressed me Ever since then, his first collection of stories, Permananent Visitors has been on my to read list Very glad I finally got around to reading it I absolutely loved a few of these stories The collection as a whole was filled with memorable characters What I really loved was Moffett s ability to capture the quirky realities of his characters The stories stayed true to the realities of I first heard Kevin Moffett read some of his work at a writing residency in 2010 and it really impressed me Ever since then, his first collection of stories, Permananent Visitors has been on my to read list Very glad I finally got around to reading it I absolutely loved a few of these stories The collection as a whole was filled with memorable characters What I really loved was Moffett s ability to capture the quirky realities of his characters The stories stayed true to the realities of being human, never taking the easy way out Sure, his characters are full of flaws and heartache, but there s something beautiful about the way they manage their pain It was a beautifully strange collection of people I think we d all recognize


  5. P. P. says:

    It s hard for me to pinpoint why these stories were so satisfying It was like eating a meal with all of the flavors and textures in the right place, without getting in their own way The stories were of a good length and their plots and characters didn t beg for less orThey had just enough detail and the poignant moments weren t overwhelmed by humor or vice versa I was just really impressed.


  6. rebecca rebecca says:

    medecine man ismind boggling that the rest of the collection but it is VERY mind boggling the other stories are pretty good, pretty sad and stuff it s just that medicine man blew my mind so hard i read it in mcsweeneys 16 there is another really good story i liked in that about a girl in a wheelchair.


  7. Matt Matt says:

    Hilarious, well crafted short stories Pretty much everybody is bound to like Tattooizm, A Statement of Purpose, and Ursa, On Zoo Property and Off Hilarious, well crafted short stories Pretty much everybody is bound to like Tattooizm, A Statement of Purpose, and Ursa, On Zoo Property and Off


  8. Jerry Jerry says:

    Some of you may know Kevin Moffet from growing up in Ormond Beach He is an excellent writer Good collection of short stories here Some of the names and locales may seem familiar I look forward to future work I think he needs to write a 1,000 page tome featuring Jai Alai as a sub plot.


  9. kirsten kirsten says:

    good solid short stories but i guess that s why he won the iowa short fiction award yeah.


  10. Leah Lucci Leah Lucci says:

    Slice of life stories Ew I m super over the writing movement that spawned all these beautifully written tales in which nothing happens Yawn.