Curtis Sittenfeld recommends a hot new book -- The author of ''Prep'' urges you to read Matthew Klam's story collection ''Sam the Cat''


Sam the Cat

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.