Author Interview with Stephen Thomas, author of The Jokes

A war veteran has a crisis on a beach. A woman experiences the stopping of time and is humbled and energized. A family takes a trip through Virginia. A college graduate gets a job as a cook on a boat. A little girl selects a gift for her grandmother. A little boy has a halting conversation with his parents before he leaves the house. A woman remembers an affair. A house is struck by lightning.

Like a series of moments in a social media–like ‘feed,’ this collection of very short stories riffs on the form of ‘the joke,’ but as this might be understood by the best culture-critical comedians of our time: Andy Kaufman, Stephen Wright, Jon Stewart, Richard Pryor. Much like those stand-up artists who sanctified the joke-form, these stories deal with intense subjects, yet with a kind of SSRI-like placidity that allows readers to cling to each word as the narratives unfold.