Back at dinner, somebody said that the goose thinks it's a dog. No, it doesn't. It doesn't think it's a dog. The goose doesn't think. The goose just is. And what the goose is, is goose. But goose is not goose, Robert thinks. Even the goose isn't goose.
In Good Trouble, the first story collection from Joseph O'Neill, author of Netherland, characters are forced to discover exactly who they are, and who they can never quite be.
There's Rob, who swears he is a dependable member of society, but can't scrape together a character reference to prove that's the case. And Jayne, who has no choice but to investigate a strange noise downstairs while her husband lies glued to the bed with fear. A mother tries to find where she fits into her son's new life of semi-soft rind-washed cheeses, and a poet tries to fathom what makes a poet. Do you even have to write poetry?
Packed with O'Neill's trademark acerbic humour, Good Trouble explores the maddening and secretly political space between thoughts and deeds, between men and women, between goose and not-goose.
Joseph O'Neill lives in New York and teaches at Bard College. He is the author of four novels, Netherland (longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2008),The Dog, This Is the Life and The Breezes, as well as a memoir, Blood-Dark Track. His short stories have been published in the New Yorker and Harper's, and his literary criticism has appeared in the Guardian, the New York Times, the Irish Times, the Atlantic, Granta and other publications. He won the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Prize for Fiction and 2009 Kerry Fiction Award for Netherland.