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The Stories of Mary Gordon

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  123 ratings  ·  21 reviews
The stories of Mary Gordon return us to the pleasure of this writer's craft and to her monumental talent as an observer of character and of the ever-fading American Dream. These pieces encompass the pre- and postwar Irish American family life she circles in the early Temporary Shelter series, as well as a wealth of new fiction that brings her contemporary characters into m ...more
ebook, 480 pages
Published November 26th 2008 by Anchor (first published October 3rd 2006)
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Kathryn Bashaar
I loved this book. I liked every single one of the stories, and absolutely loved some of them. This is another example of the kind of short stories I aspire to write.
Gordon repeats some themes over several stories, but the stories never seem repetitive because the characters and situations she presents are so varied. She touches a lot on the theme of people who externalize anything that might qualify as a shadow: our flaws, our fears, our feelings of inadequacy or inappropriateness, the certain
...more
Jessie
Almost finished this mammoth volume but not quite; ran out of renews at the library; but I greedily read as many stories as I could. My favorites: "Intertextuality," "Death in Naples," "The Epiphany Branch" from the new stories; "Temporary Shelter" from her earlier work. Such nuance, such care for texture (her attention to the wallpaper, for instance, reminds me of Vulliard's love for patterns -- one of Mike's favorite painters lately); such a quickly & fully created material world in her st ...more
Josh Ang
Mary Gordon’s stories deal with the travails of modern life – of individuals who grapple with the business of family, marriage, and identity.



Her protagonists are mostly women, Irish American, newly-displaced and carving a new identity at various stages of realising or witnessing and coming to terms with their American Dream falling to pieces, having a second go at their marriages, being disappointed with their children, etc.



Some characters that stand out for me include the well-meaning elderly
...more
Josh Ang
Mary Gordon's stories deal with the travails of modern life - of individuals who grapple with the business of family, marriage, and identity.

Her protagonists are mostly women, Irish American, newly-displaced and carving a new identity at various stages of realising or witnessing and coming to terms with their American Dream falling to pieces, having a second go at their marriages, being disappointed with their children, etc.

Some characters that stand out for me include the well-meaning elderly
...more
Abby Frucht
I came to love this long collection of many stories the more I read of it, in part because of the way in which the stories emerge from a single, ongoing habit of interrogation, an interrogation not only into human beings and their behaviors but into the act itself of writing about them... and in part, too, because of Gordon's vivid investment in the portraiture of an era (U.S.urban latter half of 20th century) and of a demographic (women, urban, left wing intellectuals not always so happy with t ...more
Samantha S.
wow this book was amazing. there were s many stories that were completely different from one another. my favorite story was called Separation. It was really sad. It was about a mother who realizes her kid is growing up and she knows he will be gone before she can blink twice. she doesn't want him to go but she knows he will be gone soon and there will be nothing she can do about it.

this story is like many parents stories. their kids grow up really fast even when they don't want them to. A lot of
...more
Joanna
Individually, these stories are brilliant gems. Each narrative character yearns for a sense of wholeness but is tainted in some surprising/horrific/human/unexpected way and cannot deal properly with the disappointments of life. Each story is a well realized and complex little vignette, showing family relationships and interpersonal dynamics from different perspectives and with a nice sense of completeness. This is particularly well done in the shortest of them, some of which were only a few page ...more
Miriam
I read the first half of this book (Mary Gordon's unpublished stories) in October while I was living with my kids at my parents house (our house was being renovated). It was the perfect tone for a rather focused time. I put it aside when I reached the second half - her republished "Temporary Shelters" - I put it aside until just this week. When I picked it up this week the remainder of the book was a surprisingly quick read. I was glad I read this collection of stories but I did wish, by the end ...more
Molly Woon
Mary Gordon -- where have you been? I picked this up at a second hand book store because I love short stories. Now I know I also love Mary Gordon. This is a really large collection, but I anticipate returning to it in a few years. Excited to read her memoirs.
Sasu Kakir
Forty-one stories with, I felt, only one central character or pov. This is not empirically true, but rather how I experienced the stories, although to be sure, there is a very consistent pov even if it's not as narrow as just one throughout all 41 stories. My purpose in focussing on this aspect of my reading experience is to explain how little I enjoyed the collection. I didn't like her "Catholic heterosexual mother/wife born in the 1940s". I didn't like her 41 times. I did finish the collection ...more
fiafia
Я не дочитала страниц пятьдесят до конца. Нельзя сказать, что бросила, потому что это отдельные новеллы.
Мне понравился стиль, и новеллы я люблю, но что-то с ними не так.
Зачин всегда интересный. И персонажей видишь сразу, хоть всего несколькими штрихами они написаны, и есть предчувствие сюжета.
Но вот концовки для меня непонятны - хочешь, называй это импрессионизмом в литературе, а хочешь, говори, что cela finit en eau de boudin.
Чтение вышло медленное - не потому что вкушаешь, а потому что решаеш
...more
Christina Rau
I am convinced that Mary Gordon and Lydia Davis share some cosmic talents. Within these 400 pages, I had to, at time, remind myself that I wasn't reading a Davis book. Both writers write about oboes (What's with that?). Gordon's book is filled with subtle wit and intriguing situations.
Marlies
She's a great writer, but the stories are a bit dark--not what I need right now (or ever! who does?). She is a fine writer though. The other thing is that there are many stories in the book--it was taking days to get through.
Suzanne
Most of these short stories are poignant and delve into sometimes uncomfortable topics. Gordon has an amazing vocabulary and you quickly get wrapped up in her characters, despite the brevity of each story.
Maja
So far I love it -
the stories are well written and very short. Sometimes I can read one a day. Each one is different.
I am not done with the book yet, but so far I like it a lot.
Lisa
Mary Gordon's prose is so precise and elegant, Her characters so deftly drawn, her stories are a pleasure to read, even though they tend to end on a depressing note.
Laura
I loved her dark stories. My favorite was the one about the woman who grew up in a dirty home and tries to hang out with her filthy neighbor after she's moved out.
jill
i always end up loving mary gordon's stories about lonely, old women; my favorites are "the epiphany branch" and "death in naples."
Abby Sominski
I like Mary Gordon, I guess I don't know if I like her, I like her writing.
Lori
Okay, actually a 2.5.
Rachel
i heart mary gordon.
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Mary Gordon was born in Far Rockaway, New York, to Anna Gagliano Gordon, an Italian-Irish Catholic mother, and David Gordon, a Jewish father who converted to Catholicism. While growing up, she attended Holy Name of Mary School in Valley Stream and for high school attended The Mary Louis Academy in Jamaica, N.Y.. She is Catholic.

She received her A.B. from Barnard College in 1971, and her M.A. from
...more
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