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Binding: Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-57131-107-8
Pages: 200
Publish Date: March 2014
Genre: Fiction

Inappropriate Behavior


BY Murray Farish

The characters in Inappropriate Behavior teeter on the brink of sanity, while those around them reach out in support, watch helplessly, or duck for cover. These are stories of people seeking desperately for a way to connect, to be understood, and, more often than not, failing horribly in the attempt. From the personal account of someone easily recognized as a young John Hinckley Jr., to the deeply touching title story, in which a couple stretched to their limit after a layoff struggles to care for their emotionally unbalanced young son, this collection draws a bead on our national identity, distilling our obsessions, our hauntings, our universal predicament.



Editorial ReviewGoodreads Review

"Highly original and focused on the unusual, Inappropriate Behavior is an auspicious beginning for the talented new voice of Murray Farish."

—Nancy Simpson-Brice, Book Vault, Oskaloosa, Iowa

"The characters in these gripping and accomplished stories are rough customers--bad company, some of them--hellbent toward outer darkness. With fierce intensity and no slight streak of prophecy, Farish charts the paths they follow through a world gone haywire. These stories will be compared with works by Barry Hannah and Denis Johnson."

—Janet Peery, author of The River Beyond the World and What the Thunder Said

"Inappropriate Behavior is a collection of lovely surprises: the tartly fresh, felicitous phrase, followed by the astonishing plot turn, and then by the lightning-streaked illumination of character. I think you will like this book."

—Ken Kalfus, author of Equilateral

"Do yourself a favor: put some Farish fiction between your ears."

—Lee K. Abbott, author of All things, All at Once and Wet Places at Noon

"Interesting and accomplished, this collection of stories explores the intersection of abhorrent behavior and the facade of ordinary life. Murray has mastered the short story and this collection is solid—not a weak one in the bunch."

—Sarah Bagby, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kansas

"Farish writes with a fiercely humanistic and moral rigor: we suffer together; we live together. We want, each of us, to be happy. There are scenes here that will still your heart with the quiet beauty of their soul-wisdom. The heartbreaking and beautifully constructed title story is the most authentic treatment of the Great Recession that I have read yet. Meticulous, richly detailed, and openly generous to the lives of the emotionally and socially displaced — these stories are the gift of a serious and electric talent."

—T.M. McNally, author of The Gateway: Stories and The Goat Bridge

"Farish delivers a superb observation of contemporary America where the border between sanity and insanity is tenuous and blurry at best."

—Pierre Camy, Schuler Books, Grand Rapids, Michigan

"Murray Farish's Inappropriate Behavior is the best first collection I have read in years: darkly funny, thoughtful, heartwrenching, altogether brilliant. Its pleasures are both old-fashioned--riveting plots, beautiful language--and up-to-the-minute: nobody writes better than Farish about the particular anxieties of our time in history. Conspirators, assassins, modern love, modern parenthood: this is terrific, strange book."

—Elizabeth McCracken, author of Niagara Falls All Over Again and An Exact Replica Of A Figment Of My Imagination

"The characters in Farish’s debut collection react to the erosion of normalcy in myriad ways, from stress to psychosis. Farish is masterful in the stories in which the cracks are just beginning to form in the facade of normal life."

Publisher's Weekly

"Inappropriate behavior, a modern euphemism for the cause of a social embarrassment or an unpleasant situation, takes on a much greater magnitude and diversity in this collection of short stories. Plenty to make you squirm and wonder just how normal your own life is."

—Darwin Ellis, Books on the Common, Ridgefield, Connecticut

"Farish's widely varied subjects and excellent writing showcase an extraordinary imagination. A consistently strong and moving collection."

—Stan Hynds, Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, Vermont

"From its first pages, Inappropriate Behavior feels like an exercise in voyeurism; we are shown things these characters surely would not want us to see, or we watch them see what they shouldn't see. They are men and women, desperate one and all, pushed to their limits and compelled to transform lest they implode entirely."

—Derek Harmening, Curbside Splendor

"Murray Farish is up to something risky in Inappropriate Behavior. Set in the marginal cities and simmering towns of the south and midwest, the fictions anchor themselves in startling images: a man crawling across a corporate parking lot, a married couple raptly watching a teenage girl’s window, a diner waitress walking away from a car wreck. In a voice that’s by turns funny, incisive, and lyrical, Farish plumbs the peculiar darknesses of American history and private life—these stories are nocturnal expeditions that leave an afterglow."

—Eric Lundgren, author of The Facades

"Set mostly in a South that straddles the landscape between strip malls and lush, green, almost tropical heat, Farish captures modern America in all its crumbling, winning-obsessed, alienating glory. Inappropriate Behavior is a naughty, smart, comic, bereft, rich, seductive collection of truly modern American tales."

—Royal Young, Interview Magazine

"From strikingly realistic portraits of people struggling to maintain their sense of self in difficult circumstances to the fractured worlds of people barely holding on to reality, Inappropriate Behavior offers a range of stories that are just as voyeuristic as any reality TV show."

—Hazel & Wren

"Farish is a master at placing a twist right where we least expect it, yet crave it the most. He masterfully balances the absurd, the horrific, and the humorous in a blend that will satisfy a broad spectrum of readers."



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Murray Farish

Murray Farish lives with his wife and two sons in St. Louis, Missouri, where he teaches writing and literature at Webster University. Inappropriate Behavior is his debut collection.

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