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  • Graywolf Press, 1994
  • John F. Blair, 1997
  • ISBN: 0895871645
  • Order online

The Big Ear, Stories

The sixteen stories collected here range from the queen of England to the last man on earth.

In the title story of this third collection, Peter Costello's signature item is his Big Ear, an orange plastic cone that allows him to eavesdrop on conversations through walls, around corners, and from comfortable distances. He wields it not as a weapon but as a means to understanding the adult world. Yet, the Big Ear can't translate what it hears, leaving Peter to try and grasp the difference between what adults say and what they mean.

In "Hobnobbing with the Nearly Famous," Daniel Boone, the embattled president of a famous names club, falls to a coup led by the likes of Albert Einsteen and Alfred Hitchkoch, only to find himself in circumstances that call forth a kind of heroism worthy of the historical Boone.


"Clever, confident and, at times, even poignant...this collection abounds with intriguing situations skillfully rendered." — Publishers Weekly

"This collection of 16 stories by Robin Hemley has something for everyone.... In these stories in Hemley's third collection, someone is always trying to make sense of something. And the answer is never easy." — The Chicago Tribune

"Hemley's characters are very real people, trying to make sense of themselves in a world often indifferent to them. If readability, to some, is a cardinal sin in writing, then Hemley is guilty. And may his sentence be to continue to write with such empathy, wit, intelligence, and compassion." — Matthew F. Benedict, South Bend Tribune