“A compulsively readable collection” of short fiction from the author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe (Publishers Weekly).
With deadpan humor and originality, Charles Yu spins Kafkaesque tales of modern identity and insecurity in this whip-smart debut. In 401(k), a couple living in the Luxury Car Commercial subdivision are disappointed when their exotic vacation turns into a Life Insurance/Asset Management pitch. The author struggles to write the definitive biography of his mother in Autobiographical Raw Material Unsuitable for the Mining of Fiction. And would-be superhero Moisture Man must come to terms with the darkness in his heart.
Throughout the collection, Yu’s characters run up against the limitations of their artificial story lines while tackling the terrifying aspects of existence: mothers, jobs, spouses, and perhaps most terrifying of all, the need to express feelings. Heartbreaking and hilarious, Third Class Superhero marked the debut of an author who has been a PEN award finalist, and whose novel How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe was named one of Time’s best books of the year.
“The post-collegiate braininess of many of Yu’s stories is like the music of the Talking Heads, making the familiar seem off-kilter. . . . Takes a Kafkaesque turn in its comic examination of the essence of identity.” —Kirkus Reviews