Fraternity: Stories, by Benjamin Nugent

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In a Massachusetts college town stands a dilapidated colonial: Delta Zeta Chi. Here, we meet Newton, the beloved chapter president; Oprah, the sensitive reader; Petey, the treasurer, loyal to a fault; Claire, the couch-surfing dropout who hopes to sell them drugs; and a girl known, for unexpected reasons, as God. Though the living room reeks of sweat and spilled beer, the brothers know that to be inside is everything.

Fraternity celebrates the debauched kinship of boys and girls straddling adolescence and adulthood: the drunken antics, solemn confessions, and romantic encounters that mark their first years away from home. Beneath each episode lies the dread of exclusion. The closeted Oprah’s hero worship gives way to real longing. A combat veteran offers advice on hazing. An alienated young woman searches for a sanctuary. And the shadow of assault hovers over every sexual encounter.

Praise for Fraternity

“If university is where we finally grow up, what role does the college campus play in creating the adult American man? In these dark, witty, and sharply written stories, Benjamin Nugent takes an unflinching look at that strange tradition, the all-male fraternity, which, in his gifted hands, begins to look like a very strange and insidious social experiment. Take a boy, transform him into a ‘bro,’ and then release into the wild....” —Zadie Smith

“From the already legendary opening story, Fraternity only deepens on every front: humor, compassion, syntactical intensity, observational brilliance, and satirical vision. Benjamin Nugent has bided his time, and the wait was worth it. This moving, daring and frequently astonishing debut will be remembered—and emulated—for many years to come.” —Sam Lipsyte