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Uncommon Type: Some Stories Hardcover – 17 Oct 2017
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"Mr. Hanks turns out to be as authentically genuine a Writer with a capital W as ever touched a typewriter key. The stories in Uncommon Type range from the hilarious to the deeply touching. They move in period, location and manner, but all demonstrate a joy in writing, a pleasure in communicating an intensely American sense of atmosphere, friendship, life and family that is every bit as smart, engaging and humane as the man himself. All with that extra quality of keenly observant and sympathetic intelligence that has always set Tom Hanks apart. I blink, bubble and boggle in amazed admiration." (Stephen Fry)
"Reading Tom Hanks’s Uncommon Type is like finding out that Alice Munro is also the greatest actress of our time." (Ann Patchett)
"All American life is here ... Delightful ... Hanks’s prose is impressive, with a strong voice and stylistic flair ... so fluent, convincing and confident that you forget it belongs to Tom Hanks, movie star. He's just a writer. And he’s going to write a great novel one day." (Melissa Katsoulis The Times)
"On the page, as on screen, Hanks is, simply, a lovely person to be around ... Hanks captures the child’s-eye view of the world with pitch-perfect accuracy … and as a writing project it nails perhaps the hardest thing of all: a story in which nothing and everything happens." (Emma Brockes Guardian)
"The central quality to Tom’s writing is a kind of poignant playfulness. It’s exactly what you hope from him, except you wish he was sitting in your home, reading it aloud to you, one story at a time." (Mindy Kaling)
"[Tom Hanks's] first collection of stories reverses the trick, unveiling the inventive mind behind his regular-guy façade ... His characters, like the machines on which he creates them, are idiosyncratic, disconnected from the mainstream ... There’s darkness too: infidelity, war, Hollywood press junkets. Hanks’s voice is as direct and dry as the one we know from his films ... Hanks has played so many roles. Of course they will have rubbed off, on him and on us. His book reflects that variety. You never know what you’re gonna get next." (Sunday Telegraph)
"It turns out that Tom Hanks is also a wise and hilarious writer with an endlessly surprising mind. Damn it." (Steve Martin)
"Uncommon Type is funny, wise, gloriously inventive and humane. Tom Hanks sees inside people - a wary divorcee, a billionaire trading desire for disaster, a boy witnessing his father’s infidelity, a motley crew shooting for the moon – with such acute empathy and good humour we’d follow him anywhere. The cumulative effect is of a world I didn’t want to leave." (Anna Funder)
"The great strengths of this collection are decency and sentimentality." (Sunday Times)
"Wait – Tom Hanks can write, too? Funny, moving, deftly surprising stories? That's just swell. Maybe there's no crying in baseball, pal, but it's perfectly acceptable in the book business. That's how we drown envy." (Carl Hiaasen)
From the Inside Flap
‘Uncommon Type is funny, wise, gloriously inventive and humane. Tom Hanks sees inside people … with such acute empathy and good humour we’d follow him anywhere. The cumulative effect is of a world I didn’t want to leave.’ ANNA FUNDER
A hectic, funny sexual affair between two best friends. A World War II veteran dealing with his emotional and physical scars. A second-rate actor plunged into sudden stardom and a whirlwind press junket. A small-town newspaper columnist with old-fashioned views of the modern world. A woman adjusting to life in a new neighborhood after her divorce. Four friends going to the moon and back in a rocket ship constructed in the backyard. A teenage surfer stumbling into his father’s secret life.
These are just some of the people and situations that Tom Hanks explores in his first work of fiction, a collection of stories that dissects, with great affection, humour, and insight, the human condition and all its foibles. The stories are linked by one thing: in each of them, a typewriter plays a part, sometimes minor, sometimes central. To many, typewriters represent a level of craftsmanship, beauty and individuality that is harder and harder to find in the modern world. In his stories, Mr Hanks gracefully reaches that typewriter-worthy level.
Known for his honesty and sensitivity as an actor, Mr Hanks brings both those characteristics to his writing. Alternatingly whimsical, moving and occasionally melancholy, Uncommon Type is a book that will delight as well as surprise his millions of fans. It also establishes him as a welcome and wonderful new voice in contemporary fiction, a voice that perceptively delves beneath the surface of friendships, families, love and normal, everyday behaviour.
‘The central quality to Tom’s writing is a kind of poignant playfulness. It’s exactly what you hope from him, except you wish he was sitting in your home, reading it aloud to you, one story at a time.’ MINDY KALIN
‘Wait – Tom Hanks can write, too? Funny, moving, deftly surprising stories? That’s just swell. Maybe there’s no crying in baseball, pal, but it’s perfectly acceptable in the book business. That’s how we drown envy.’ CARL HIAASEN
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At first, it’s hard to shake off Hanks’s distinctive voice. But it’s not long before the author’s grasp of character takes over and one finds oneself immersed, tuning out Tom in favour of the voice in the story: A divorcee who moves to a quiet neighbourhood and fears she will be pestered by the guy next door. The ten-year old boy who goes to visit his estranged mother for a special birthday treat. The columnist of a local paper who feels compelled to big up his small town (one gets the feeling that in another life, Hanks might have enjoyed being a journo). There are sci-fi stories too, like a time-travel take on Cinder(f)ella which is very well-told even though the outcome is predictable.
In fact, Hanks doesn’t once go for the smartypants, sting-in-the-tale short story payoff and, in my view, this is A Good Thing. The last story ‘Steve Wong Is Perfect’ was my favourite: a strike! All in all, a convincing and enjoyable debut – if a little vanilla. Give it a shot.
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