“LaBute’s usual sleazy suspects are prepared to risk family, love, career, and freedom for the momentary satisfaction of their sometimes brutal desires. It will end badly, we know, and that’s what makes each dark tale as irresistible as good gossip. Fallibility and weakness, LaBute has demonstrated once again, have their own allure.” Meg Thomann, Black Book
Seconds of Pleasure
978-0-8021-4212-2 • $12.00 • Paperback • Sep. 2005
Neil LaBute is best known for his controversial films In the Company of Men, which was a winner of a New York Critics’ Circle Award for Best First Feature and the Filmmakers’ Trophy at Sundance, and Your Friends & Neighbors, and his plays The Mercy Seat and The Shape of Things, which he also adapted for the screen. Now, in his debut collection of stories, he brings to the page his cutting humor and compelling take on the shadowy terrain of the human heart.
Seductive and disturbing, the stories in Seconds of Pleasure are not for the faint of heart. Each potent and pithy tale finds men and women exploitingor at the mercy ofthe hidden fault lines that separate them: a woman leaves her family at their vacation home after discovering her husband in a compromising situation in “Time Share”; a generous dancer rescues a man stranded in the parking lot of a strip club in “Open All Night”; a middle-aged man obsesses over a scab on the calf of a pretty young girl in “Boo-Boo”; and a vain Hollywood actor gets his comeuppance in “Soft Target.”
Infused with LaBute’s trademark wit and black humor, the stories vivisect human relations in a way that is at once intimate, brutal, and unsettlingly familiar. In Seconds of Pleasure Neil LaBute unleashes his imagination in stories that offer unflinching insight into our very human shortcomings and impure urges with shocking candor.
• LaBute’s short fiction, including some of the stories in Seconds of Pleasure, has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s Bazaar, Playboy, Zoetrope: All Story, and The New York Times Magazine, among others.