EXCERPT There was one guy we didn't invite to the orgy. We invited everyone else: Solaire because she's crazy and John and Walt because they're both so good-looking and they're dating anyway, and we invited Amy because everybody just loves Amy. We even invited Miranda just because she's the jealous type, and since her sister was in town we threw the door open to her sister, too. But there was this one guy we didn't invite.
The stories in The Guy We Didn't Invite to the Orgy—funny, surprising, compassionate, true to life—are about people navigating the trickiest of landscapes: a world full of other people. Each of these characters wants to know, in her or his own way, given the crazy ups and downs and ins and outs of relationships, is it better to go it alone, or is it better to try to carve out a place for yourself, whatever it takes?
About the Author
David Ebenbach is the author of five books, including The Artist's Torah, a guide to the creative process. He lives with his family in Washington, DC.
"David Ebenbach's people present themselves with disarming humor, candor, and pathos through an easy, unquestionably authentic voice. To read Ebenbach is to inhabit the heart and the mind of those luckless, forlorn, lonesome, and hopeful souls with whom we share our park benches and office spaces, our cars and kitchens and beds and, in turn, to revisit some neglected segment of ourselves. The Guy We Didn't Invite to The Orgy is a book you would do well to invite into your life."—Sam Michel, contest judge and author of Strange Cowboy
"In this striking collection, David Ebenbach inhabits a series of minds that most of us would classify as unknowable; he does so with empathy and wisdom, and often with humor as well. The 'desperately wonderful' experience of life in a cult, a soul teetering on the line between grief and insanity, the high-voltage ambivalence of teenage obsession: Ebenbach is more at home in the minefield of ambiguity than most of us are in our houses."—Roy Kesey, author of Any Deadly Thing and Pacazo
"David Ebenbach takes us on a tour of our own world, a place to which none of us have been invited, in which we fear and desire, enjoy our humble victories, and sometimes go secretly—or dramatically—insane. Every story is guided by wisdom and compassion; every sentence surprises us with truth. A brilliant, original, and illuminating book!"—Stephen O'Connor, author of Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings
"Somewhere in the 813s, on library shelves all over America, appropriately placed between Lydia Davis and Jonathan Franzen, the stories of David Ebenbach wait to be read. Amen to that, for the library's safe—even if we're at risk. Because the stories of David Ebenbach are more than tricky; they're perilous, they're scary even when they're sweet. These are daring, troubling stories that look like they're about what they're not. Amen to that."—Alan Michael Parker , author of The Committee on Town Happiness and Whale Man
"If The Guy We Didn't Invite to the Orgy were a clothing pattern, it would be plaid, and it would be plaid that used a lot of colors--maybe all the colors--and one of the colors would think, 'All of the other colors go great together, but I don't fit in.' And each of the other colors would be thinking the same thing."—Monkey Bicycle
"The Guy We Didn't Invite to the Orgy is an enormously lovable collection of stories that explores the alienation that most people feel, but attempts to resolve it, showing that in the end 'We are all the same,' if only because we all feel ourselves to be on the outside looking in."—Best New Fiction
"Ebenbach . . . cut[s] away everything extraneous to reveal the most honest and vulnerable part of each character. Most of the stories collected here have downright silly premises but the abundance of whimsy doesn't stop this book from being serious."—Pleiades