Ladies and Gentlemen cover

Ladies and Gentlemen


After his widely cel­e­brated debut, Mr. Peanut, Adam Ross now presents a darkly com­pelling col­lec­tion of sto­ries about broth­ers, lon­ers, lovers, and lives full of good inten­tions, mis­un­der­stand­ings, and obscured motives.

A hot­shot lawyer, bur­dened by years of guilt and resent­ment, comes to the res­cue of his irre­spon­si­ble, irre­sistible younger brother. An unset­tling story res­onates between the dys­func­tional cou­ple telling it and their lis­ten­ing friends as well. A lonely pro­fes­sor, fre­quently regaled with unbe­liev­ably enter­tain­ing tales by the office handy­man, sud­denly fears he’s being asked to abet a mur­der­ous fugi­tive. An awk­ward but nervy ado­les­cent uses his brief career as a child actor to fur­ther his designs on a WASPy friend’s seem­ingly untouch­able sis­ter. A man down on his luck closes in on a mys­te­ri­ous, much-needed job offer while doing a good turn for his frag­ile neigh­bor, with results at once sur­real and hilar­i­ous. And when two col­lege kids goad each other on in an esca­lat­ing series of breath­tak­ing dares, the out­come is as tragic as it is ambiguous.

[The] sto­ries in this vol­ume are old-fashioned, almost O. Hen­ryesque tales that point up … Mr. Ross’s extra­or­di­nary gifts as a writer. Not only does Mr. Ross pos­sess glit­ter­ing pow­ers of descrip­tion and a heat-seeking eye for emo­tional and phys­i­cal detail, but he’s also able to cap­ture the way peo­ple talk today with flu­ency and panache.

—Michiko Kaku­tani, The New York Times

Laced with glim­mers of redemp­tion, youth­ful energy, and hard-won wis­dom, these noirish sto­ries unspool pur­pose­fully and flu­idly; together they con­firm the arrival of—as Michiko Kaku­tani put it in The New York Times—“an enor­mously tal­ented writer.”