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A collection of seventeen wonderful short stories showing that two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks is as talented a writer as he is an actor.

A collection of seventeen wonderful short stories showing that two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks is as talented a writer as he is an actor.

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.

Reviews

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

It turns out that Tom Hanks is also a wise and hilarious writer with an endlessly surprising mind. Damn it.

Steve Martin

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

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

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

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

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

[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

Hanks can write the hell out of typing, and his dialogue is excellent, too…While these stories have the all-American sweetness, humour, and heart we associate with his screen roles, Hanks writes like a writer, not a movie star.

Kirkus

He’s a bona fide superstar in the acting world and now Tom Hanks is setting the literary world ablaze … Stephen Fry loved it, and so do we.

Irish Tatler

Funny and moving, with a wide spectrum of subjects, this is an engaging collection.

Woman and Home

Uncommon Type is actually, much like its author, a warm, gently funny and mostly engaging collection of seventeen stories

Red Online

Tom Hanks is as natural on paper as he is on the big screen …Tom Hanks is a natural born storyteller ... You can hear his voice and feel the warm glow of his genial personality in Uncommon Type … There is an ease in his writing and a pleasure in the reading. He is clearly someone who delights in the rhythm and pacing found in a finely crafted paragraph ... He belongs to a tradition of American storytellers that includes Mark Twain or O'Henry although there is a range of work in Uncommon Type that defies such a catch-all definition ... has echoes of HG Wells and Philip K Dick … Uncommon Type has tales of fractured families and broken hearts, faltering relationships and people who are happy being just the way they are … There is a dark side to some of the stories but the overriding impression is that Hanks is an incorrigible romantic and a cock-eyed optimist.

Herald

The great strengths of this collection are decency and sentimentality.

Sunday Times

It makes perfect sense that his first foray into fiction writing, with the short-story collection Uncommon Type, embodies the same all-American spirit … He can write engagingly … He has a particular aptitude for writing dialogue, perhaps unsurprisingly, and a wry turn of phrase that blooms at times into rollicking repartee … The past comes into play much more powerfully when Hanks asks implicit questions about how America has changed, particularly in the welcome it offers to immigrants … These are picaresque characters, enacting stories of friendship and adventure … There is life here, and humour, along with evocative moments of reflection on the state of the American dream. It is clear that Hanks is aiming for entertainment and whimsy over any attempt at high literary style. And on those terms, these stories are a hit.

Financial Times

It’s impossible not to love Tom Hanks’ new book … each story is utterly charming and a delight to devour.

Heat

[P]layful, perceptive and rewarding.

Sunday Express

A book you’ll want to hug.

Grazia

There always comes a slight wariness when we discover that someone who is generally renowned for one thing turns out to be very good at something else … But what makes Uncommon Type even harder to dismiss is the silky-smooth momentum and unforced hum that Hanks' writing glides along with here.

Irish Examiner

He isn’t a competent writer, he’s an excellent writer.

Shortlist

It’s brilliant … A beautiful collection of short stories.

ES Magazine

They’re all beautifully written and full of heart.

Sunday Mirror

Entirely engaging.

Daily Mail

Hanks can write. These pieces, some of which feature recurring characters and many of which explore the classic American short story territory of small-town life, have the authentic, worn-in feel of a favourite pair of jeans.

Metro

An entertaining collection.

Mail on Sunday

Pretty impressive.

The Sun

Sensitive, often witty and sometimes melancholic reflections.

Economia

Unveil[s] the inventive mind behind his regular-guy façade.

Daily Telegraph

Perfect for book lovers and cinephiles alike.

Elle

A pretty damn good writer.

OK! Magazine

Full of Hanks' winning charm.

Mr Hyde

Hanks’ measured storytelling makes the collection an addictive read.

Hindustan Times

Startlingly good… A spellbinding easygoing read, it is hard to find any fault, other than that Hanks is annoyingly talented and yet still somehow remains impossible to dislike.

Irish News

Startlingly good … each of these 17 stories leap out from the page in their authenticity and whimsicality … A spellbindingly easygoing read, it is hard to find fault.

Press Association

A wonderful collection.

Candis

Warm, gently funny and mostly engaging.

Red

Behind the collection is a warmth and humanity.

Sunday Sport

Unexpectedly brilliant.

Love It!

A spellbindingly easygoing read, it is hard to find fault.

The Universe

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Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback

    9781785151521

    October 18, 2017

    William Heinemann

    356 pages

    RRP $32.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • Hardback

    9781785151514

    November 18, 2017

    William Heinemann

    356 pages

    RRP $45.00

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • Audio Book

    9781786141477

    October 30, 2017

    Audiobooks

    RRP $45.00

    Online retailers

    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781473544925

    October 24, 2017

    Cornerstone Digital

    356 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Extract

Three Exhausting Weeks

 

DAY 1

Anna said there was only one place to find a meaningful gift for MDash—the Antique Warehouse, not so much a place for old treasures as a permanent swap meet in what used to be the Lux Theater. Before HBO, Netflix, and the 107 other entertainment outlets bankrupted the Lux, I sat for many hours in that once-splendid cinema palace and watched movies. Now it’s stall after stall of what passes for antiques. Anna and I looked into every one of them.

MDash was about to become a naturalized U.S. citizen, which was as big a deal for us as it was for him. Steve Wong’s grandparents were naturalized in the forties. My dad had escaped the low-grade thugs that were East European Communists in the 1970s, and, way back when, Anna’s ancestors rowed boats across the North Atlantic, seeking to pillage whatever was pillageable in the New World. The Anna family legend is that they found Martha’s Vineyard.

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