James Michener Fellowship winner Joshua Furst's widely acclaimed debut collection explores the perils and paradoxes of childhood in ten harrowing, moving, and surprising stories, offering a rare and unsentimental depiction of the lives of American youth. In "The Age of Exploration," two boys experience the world so differently--Billy through science; Jason with fantastical powers of imagination--that they sense their lives will stray irrevocably away from each other. In "Red Lobster," which won the Nelson Algren Award, a gaggle of children try to please the father who has rounded them up from their various homes to take them to a fateful dinner. And in the collection's climactic story, "Failure to Thrive," a maternity ward nurse takes compassion too far. Emotionally astute, brilliantly written, these stories mark the arrival of a powerful new voice in American literature. From the Trade Paperback edition.