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Curtis Sittenfeld recommends a hot new book

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Curtis Sittenfeld, author of Prep, recommends Matthew Klam’s story collection Sam the Cat (Vintage, $12).

When I first read a story by Matthew Klam, I was sitting on a futon in my dorm room, my senior year of college, and I just felt electrified — I thought, ”Who is this guy?” His stories come to you in an unmediated, bracing way; they’re alive with humor and sex and brutal honesty. His tone is conversational, sometimes slangy, and such perfect casualness is to me a sign of true mastery over language. One story, ”Issues I dealt with in Therapy,” is a hilariously scathing depiction of a preppy wedding, with the protagonist giving a drunken toast in one of the all-time best scenes I’ve ever read. I never attend a wedding now without recalling that story.

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