Lucky Girls: Stories
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Lucky Girls: Stories

3.44 of 5 stars 3.44  ·  rating details  ·  824 ratings  ·  112 reviews
Lucky Girls is the debut collection by an author who first came to national attention with the 2001 publication of the title story in The New Yorker fiction issue.

Here are five stories, set in Southeast Asia and on the Indian subcontinent -- each on bearing the weight and substance of a short novella -- narrated by young women who find themselves, often as expatriates, fac...more
Hardcover, 225 pages
Published August 1st 2003 by Ecco
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"What's that game where the wooden blocks are stacked so precariously and wooble on their tippy toes till they crash?"

"You mean Jenga?"

"Perhaps, perhaps. But I prefer to think of it otherwise."

"... people were all different things at the same time. They were like onions under fine layers of skin; you didn't ever peel away a last layer, because the layers were what they were"

So thinks a character in the short story 'The Tutor'. This in a nut shell is what 'Nell Freudenberger's debut collection 'Lucky Girls' is all about. The blurbs about the book place much emphasis on the fact that the stories are set mostly in Southeast Asia and particularly India, but the backdrop for these stories...more
May 05, 2007 Michaela rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who are not failed writers
It's hard to be objective when the reason you picked up this book in the first place was jealousy. You had just finished your M.F.A. Saved on your computer was a spreadsheet listing every single rejection letter you ever received -- and the list was long. You had pretty much given up on creative writing all together and had settled for a horrible job in community journalism.

And Nell came along, and she was your age and pretty and her first story was published in the New Yorker, of all places. An...more
This was an interesting read, if for no other reason than all of the buzz -- positive and negative -- around the author. I have never seen such vituperative reviews as the user reviews on Amazon for this book:

Curtis Sittenfeld -- author of "Prep" and "American Wife," both of which I loved -- wrote a redeeming piece on Freudenberger in Salon that is also interesting background reading:

I finished three of the five stor...more
These stories fell flat. Nothing ever quite rang true, though many moments came close. It was frustrating because while the writing was quite competent, the stories didn't carry the emotional weight they promised. Maybe tomorrow I'll reconsider and give this 3 stars instead of 2, but I don't imagine any of the stories really resonating for that long.
This book exemplified why I don't like short stories. They always feel they taper off into nothing-- no conclusion, no plot wrap-up. What's the point of reading them when there's such frustration in the lack of outcome?
I liked several of the stories in this collection, but couldn't finish the last one. All treated interesting issues of displacement -- I particularly liked the one about a crumbling family's reunion in Thailand, another about the troubled relationship between an American girl and her erratic mother in India, and a third about the interaction between a sub-continent born but American educated tutor to a privileged American girl (Sorry, can't find my copy of the book so don't have chapter titles.)
I don’t like short stories as I always am longing for more. Short stories only provide a small glimpse into the character’s existences. They usually lack a conclusion. Regardless of my short story frustrations and biases, Nell Freudenberge is a good writer who creates solid, absorbing characters. My two favorite stories were ‘The Tutor’ and ‘The Orphan.’

In ‘The Tutor’ a young American girl living with her father in India hires Zubin, a tutor. Freudenberge beautifully illustrates the reason for t...more
Jared Tester
3.5 stars.

Put another way, I wanted to like this collection of stories more than I did, but I know I'll be tackling Freudenberger's two novels in the future.

First, the good news: this woman has the creative range indicative of a very real desire to be a "global citizen," to truly listen to, and tell the stories of, a wide variety of people. The reader sees this in gorgeous descriptions of sites all over America and Asia. The author's worldliness also shows through in an understanding that any wr...more
I picked up Nell Freudenberger's third book, "The Newlyweds," simply because I was intrigued by the premise. I had no idea who the author was, no idea there was so much hubbub over her ten years ago when she became the It Girl other young writers loved to hate. Anyway, I loved "The Newlyweds" and eagerly bought her first book, "Lucky Girls."

MAYBE I shouldn't have read all the articles about her path to publishing before I started "Lucky Girls." Maybe, just maybe, it colored my opinion. But I do...more
Patrick McCoy

Lucky Girls by Nell Freudenberger generated a lot of attention when it first came out and not necessarily for its merits (see all the hating reivews on Amazon). It seems that Freudenberger was an intern at The New Yorker, which chose to run one of her stories and it also turns out that she has had somewhat of a privileged life being a young attractive woman with a degree from Harvard as well as a big advance for a book based on the short stories in her collection Lucky Girls.

As for the writing,...more
Eveline Chao
Unfortunately for Nell Freudenberger, I would have given this a way higher rating if it wasn't for me having just read another short story collection by Alice Munro. All the stories in here are interesting (although I'm naturally biased since they're all about expat girls and I'm an expat girl) and have good premises (for example, white girl living abroad in India has longterm affair with older Indian man; he dies and his mom and wife start getting involved in white girl's life) and are entertai...more
Apr 16, 2010 Jenny rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jenny by: Greg Mortimer
Shelves: short-stories
I loved the first two and last two stories - was sort of baffled by the middle one ("Outside the Eastern Gate").

From "The Orphan"
p. 52 Alice thinks of the incredible frustration of not knowing things, and of knowing that they can't be known - the incredible privacy of people's experience.

From "The Tutor"
p. 113 Homesickness was like any other illness: you couldn't remember it properly.

From "Letter From the Last Bastion"
p. 176 My mother says that if you're always thinking about how things are go...more
Book Crossing book :)

One sentence summary: A book of five short stories about girls from the USA in Southeast Asia. I feel that the 3rd is not as good as the other four but those others made up for it! I particularly liked the second and fifth stories. I disliked the abrupt endings. A holiday dip-in kind of book!

I'm getting a bit bored of three consequetive 3* books, hoping to find a 4* one soon :D
I keep coming back to short stories because I know that there are some excellent ones out there--and Nell Freudenberger delivered! The stories in this book were well developed. The characters all took me to different places; her descriptions were outstanding. I can't believe how young the author was when she wrote these stories. I'm eager now to read her more recent works.

Favorite quotes both come from the last story, "Letter from the Last Bastion," which was my favorite of the five:
"I always t...more
I tried, really tried, to like this book. Alas. I didn't even finish.

A collection of short stories, Freudenberg takes either hybrid identities or expat Americans in southeast Asia as her subject matter, illustrating the circumstances of five girls/women.

I think my problem is right now I'm looking for plot-driven stories. Freudenberg, upon first glance, looked like she was duplicating the success of Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies, which I loved. But no, Freudenberg is much more focused...more
Nov 10, 2007 Tatiana rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tatiana by: i wish i could remember
okay, i admit it, i have a huge chip on my shoulder for all the mid-20's wunderkind who are already published and living the preppy artist's life in a nice dusty brownstone in brooklyn. someone recommended this and i was like oh sure, she got published in the new yorker on her first story, which, is like deciding to become and bank robber and robbin fort knox, and then got a book deal off of that one short story? that, too me, sounds like the makings of a really crap writer, because stuff like t...more
Terrific writer! Collection of stories of the romantic relationships of young women's living away from home.
I quite enjoyed this collection of stories; especially the first, for which the collection is named after, and the final two. It was in the final story, Letter from the Last Bastion, that I finally lost myself as a reader and forgot to take notice of what the author was attempting to do. Freudenberger's prose is beautiful and yet economical, almost to the point of leaving the reader mystified. But what can she mean really happened? I must admit that there is something in me that longs for the sa...more
I first read one of the short stories from this collection in a writing class, and didn't appreciate its skill at the time. I've since become a fan of Nell Freudenberger's short stories. I've learned to appreciate her exotic asian settings and look past what I don't understand for the universal nugget in each of them. I think my favorite is "Outside the Eastern Gate", which deals with the memories and emotions that any of us face in returning to our childhood home, and more particularly, the dif...more
Glad to see that the awfully incestuous publishing industry can you fool sometimes, but not all of the time... This writer has been hyped to death and death itself is what this collection of mediocre, flat short stories amount to: death of the imagination, of originality and plausibility in prose. However, the writer isn't without talent and, perhaps, if she'd been given room to develop instead of taken for publicity as a 'type' and hyped to the height of skyscrapers, then maybe she'd been able...more
cinque racconti in cui la protagonista vive una forma di sradicamento. tranne l'ultimo, sono tutti ambientati in un paese orientale in cui tutto o quasi sembra respingere e favorire lo straniamento e la dimensione del viaggio (per quanto lungo, fino a diventare residenza) si dilata in una forma di estraneità e spaesamento. ho trovato molto belli "orfani" e "fuori dalla porta d'oriente"; esordio acerbo ma interessante.
[tengo molto a questo libro perché, introvabile, mi è stato regalato da un'ami...more
noisy penguin
I heard about this book on NPR right before it came out. I kept meaning to pick it up and kept meaning to pick it up, then finally saw it at work on one of my final work book raids. This is a solid little collection of stories. There are some character similarities across the stories that made me wonder if a lot of her characters were based on similar people, but taken as individual stories, all very readable. Freudenberger is a good writer, I'm interested in reading more by her.
Nouvelles inégales
What I do remember about this book is running into a pristine copy of it on sale for $9 at a street-side book vendor's table in Park Slope while I was still deep in the queue for it at the library. I love when things like that happen. I'm sad to say I can't remember any specific details from any of the stories right now, though. I have a vague memory of some Andrea Lee -esque tales...
Holly S. Warah
I so wanted to love this book--just as I loved Freudenberger's latest book, her novel The Newlyweds. The theme of women in Asia also drew me to this collection of five short stories. Unfortunately I found the stories to be inconsistent; the first story drew me while the last story did nothing for me.

And yet The Newlyweds truly resonated with me. I will wait for the next book by this author.
I have to admit two things, one is that I chose this book for its cover, and that I did not read the very last story in it. But I thought it was well written. Something I think the author does well is not give it to you all right away... the details about character and situations are revealed gradually as you read, or you have to read in between the lines to figure it out yourself.
Beautiful novels about women who due to life events end up in foreign countries having to face cultural differences while trying to get together their own lives. Five different stories, different countries, different challenges, different experiences. Some who is fascinated by cultural experiences, South-east asian countries and travel in general will enjoy the book, as much as i did.
This is a book of 5 short stories and I liked them all except the last. I got a little weary of the similar themes running through them all. The author must have been going for cohesion but it felt more like a lack of creativity. However, I like her writing style a lot and she has interesting characters. I thought the first and third stories were especially engaging.
It is always hard for me to choose short stories over a novel, but this book is a great reason to not discount the short story. It is a collection of stories about women, most of whom have deep connections to India or Thailand. There's lots of lush, exotic scenery treated as the everyday and a fine exploration of women and their lovers. A fun read overall.
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Nell Freudenberger is the author of the novel The Dissident and the story collection Lucky Girls, winner of the PEN/Malamud Award and the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; both books were New York Times Book Review Notables. A recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Award, and a Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Fellowship from the New York Publi...more
More about Nell Freudenberger...
The Newlyweds The Dissident The New Granta Book of the American Short Story Granta em português #1: Os melhores jovens escritores norte-americanos n+1 Issue 16: Double Bind

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