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We Others: New and Selected Stories

3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  580 Ratings  ·  98 Reviews
“Every reader knows of writers who are like secrets one wants to keep, and whose books one wants to tell the world about. Millhauser is mine.”
—David Rollow, Boston Sunday Globe

From the Pulitzer Prize–winning author: the essential stories across three decades that showcase his indomitable imagination.
Steven Millhauser’s fiction has consistently, and to dazzling effect, diss
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published August 23rd 2011 by Knopf (first published January 1st 2011)
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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern11/22/63 by Stephen KingState of Wonder by Ann PatchettThe Art of Fielding by Chad HarbachThe Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
Kirkus Best Books of 2011
30th out of 88 books — 176 voters
Gravity Games by John MatsuiFive Women by Robert MusilThe Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge by Rainer Maria RilkeThe Book of Disquiet by Fernando PessoaAutobiography of a Corpse by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky
Innovative Fiction
6th out of 32 books — 4 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,916)
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Jun 10, 2015 Panagiotis rated it it was amazing
Τον Μιλχάσουζερ τον άκουσα πρόσφατα, καθώς μόλις κυκλοφόρησε το καινούριο του βιβλίο, Voices in the Night:Stories. Έχει κερδίσει Πούλιτζερ, καταφέρνει όμως την ίδια στιγμή να είναι ένα κρυμμένο μυστικό, με τους πιστούς ακόλουθούς του να πίνουν νερό σε ένα πλήθος συγγραφικών δεξιοτήτων που τον ξεχωρίζουν από το πλήθος των κοινών συγγραφέων.


Κατά αρχάς, και εν είδει προλόγου, είναι σύνηθες μια συλλογή να είναι ένα σύμφυρμα άνισα απολαυστικών ιστοριών – κάποιες καλές, άλλες μέτριες και από πί
Nov 17, 2011 Racquel rated it it was amazing
My first brush with Millhauser. He writes with such exquisite precision, I almost have the sense that he holds each phrase up to the light, turning it back and forth to look at it from all directions, then wielding it to refashion even the most mundane tale into something fanciful, thought-provoking, sympathetic, troubling. He makes us remember what it felt like to think profound thoughts when we were still too young to understand them fully. Then, through his mature eyes, he forces us to revisi ...more
Chad Walker
Here's something I admire: Millhauser's singularity of purpose, thematically. He has a few basic obsessions - illusion v. reality, the way words distort or mask perception, and the ways our identities can be disturbed by an uncanny element within the everyday - and he explores them in a bunch of different ways. Also, his writing is extremely evocative on a sensory level. At his best, he is brilliant; at his worst, he is working towards something new, but not quite there yet.

So yes, there is some
May 08, 2012 John rated it liked it
Recommended to John by: Meg
This book started strong for me. I liked the stories and they seemed to have interweaving themes. But soon the themes seemed too much the same, like often Millhauser was telling the same story only changing the setting and elements. By the end of the book too many of the stories seemed to follow similar molds. Stories seem to start out with a fanciful idea: magician, snowmen, knife throwing, etc. The performance builds to the point of unrivaled extreme, then crashes. Many of the stories fit this ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I never know what to expect when I read the short stories of an author for the first time. Will they have twist endings? Will they be bizarre? Will nothing happen?

Millhauser was a pleasant surprise. He writes with an imagined nostalgia, for things that never really existed, like magic carpets and intricately carved snow people. Some of the stories are more about the magic found in the mundane, like the time between when you get to the ocean and you first stick a toe in, and these were my favori
Nov 03, 2014 Amy rated it really liked it
Millhauser provides a wonderful collection of restrained storytelling just on the edge of fantasy. He manages to make a childhood trip to the lake, a slap, the ending of a relationship, and a random disappearance fantastical. He toys with things like touch and words, until they're morphed into something of magic and unfamiliarity.

Each story isn't overwhelmed with the fantastical, but it often shows up halfway through or after, and much of the time, it has to do with feelings, intuition. It was
Jun 17, 2013 Mattschratz rated it it was amazing
Wittgenstein says, in the Investigations: "What *we* do is return words from their metaphysical to their everyday use." You think through a lot of the words in that sentence before you think about the "we"; it is possible that, if limning of special genius must be provided, the special genius of Steven Millhauser is to think "we" first, and more powerfully, than any other writer that I've ever seen. In the new stories, there is the "we" of the communities witnessing "The Slap" or "The Invasion f ...more
Mar 06, 2012 angie rated it it was amazing
This is an absolutely stunning collection of stories, especially "Tales of Darkness and The Unknown: Vol. XIV: The White Glove" (or more simply, "The White Glove.") It's not just the impressive, understated style but the underlying emotions and the beauty of what Steven Millhauser has to say.

"The White Glove" is a perfect example of Millhauser's wonderful writing and the story pulled me in right from the start:

"In senior year of high school I became friends with Emily Hohn. It happened quickly
Mar 02, 2012 Jodie rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
A collection of short stories are so hard to rate, some you love, some you like, and some you don't as much. It almost seems pointless to give it a rating, especially just in the middle. So this rating says more about me than the work.

Taken as a whole these stories are hard to get through. Picking it up and reading one here and there is the way to go. But I do like to sink my teeth into a story, read it cover to cover, indulgently. I found that really hard in this collection.

The writing is wonde
Jarret Lovell
Jul 28, 2015 Jarret Lovell rated it it was amazing
This is one of the strongest, most thought-provoking and enjoyable stories collections I've read in some time. I knew nothing of Millhauser when I picked up this collection, but for me he quickly became an author I admire, and one I will continue to seek out.

Warning: Possible Spoilers

The stories in this collection work so well together, many sharing similar themes of our fascination with tragedy, with violence, or with the unknown. On some level, readers may find themes of stories too similar.
Nov 01, 2015 Jonathan rated it really liked it
I made the mistake of reading this collection of Millhauser's stories immediately after another collection of his, Dangerous Laughter. This was a mistake only because this collection borrows liberally from that one, so when I thought I had more stories, I actually only had stories which I had already read in a different book.

Another reason this was a mistake is that after enough repetitions Millhauser's short fiction begins to feel formulaic in pieces. He has a steampunk-like obsession with art
Mar 11, 2015 Eric rated it really liked it
Very cool shit, per usual. I only read the new ones and the very early ones, having previously read the others in equally worthwhile collections. Kafka looms, per usual, but not even Kafka may have quite been as precise as: "An attic is the most seductive portion of any house, combining as it does the aura of the department store, the museum, and the ruined city..." as he then goes on to a list contents, from magic-marked boxes of assorted clothes to "a broad-brimmed straw hat with pink plastic ...more
Tim Hainley
Feb 10, 2014 Tim Hainley rated it it was ok
I really enjoyed several of these, but have determined that consuming Millhauser's short stories in succession decreases my enjoyment of them, turning their reading increasingly into a chore. And this is a particularly extensive compilation.
Aug 28, 2015 Riet rated it liked it
Ik kreeg dit boek cadeau; de schrijver was mij onbekend. Het is een verzameling (niet zo) korte verhalen met tussenin een novella. Allemaal prachtig geschreven, een heel precieze zinsbouw, maar alles achter elkaar is het wat veel van het goede. Het is niet mijn gewoonte, maar dit boek zou je in stukken moeten lezen: telkens een verhaal. Het doet soms allemaal wat ouderwets aan: veel speelt aan het eind van de 19de eeuw, denk ik. Ook de wat modernere stukken hebben toch iets archaisch. Ze spelen ...more
Aaron Jansen
Aug 25, 2015 Aaron Jansen rated it really liked it
I should probably read some of his other stuff before I go ahead and declare Millhauser my favorite living writer, but he makes a solid case for himself in this helpful career-overview volume. The new stories are not quite as good as the ones he selects from his earlier collections, but they still pretty easily qualify as some of the most interesting contemporary fiction I have encountered. Comparisons to Borges and Kafka are not wholly inapt, but Millhauser is a distinctly American writer, with ...more
Cathy Moody
Mar 06, 2012 Cathy Moody rated it liked it
This was hard to rate, I loved the writing, liked a lot of the stories but didn't like the book.
These stories were meant to be read individually and lost impact read one after another.
Josh Luft
May 12, 2015 Josh Luft rated it really liked it
"The Slap", one of the New Stories in this collection, is the first and best of the bunch. It's about a small community as it deals with a strange man slapping its citizens. The perspective alternates between the slap victims—featuring the lead-up and slap—and a first-person-plural of the community's thoughts about the escalating situation. It's a story that examines fear, violence, and mortality in a brilliant, often funny way. The other highlight in the collection, "Getting Closer", another of ...more
Aug 28, 2013 Josh rated it it was amazing
Not a review, just quotes:

"Matthew had his own theory, which he sometimes believed: that everyone had a secret, a shameful thing they had done, and the reason they feared the stranger was that he made them remember that thing. He himself, for example, had done some things in college he'd rather forget. He stepped up to his car, bent over to glance through the window-- one of his ideas was that the stranger concealed himself in parked cars, which he knew how to open-- and placed his key in the do
David Gallin-Parisi
Nov 03, 2014 David Gallin-Parisi rated it it was amazing
The first stories I've read by Millhauser. His newest stories remind me of the best suburban mysteries, similar to Eugenides' The Virgin Suicides. If you've ever looked for a similar vibe, check the newest stories in this book. Weary and extraordinary happenings. The rest of the stories take events to the max. People make, build, and create things to a maximum level. And make things with a strange exertion. Characters get tired in these stories, becoming fascinatingly irritated, obsessed, and dr ...more
Mar 02, 2012 Kathy rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2012-bc
I think this collection of stories would be best read a little at a time, over a long period of time—the themes and tone are all so similar. Starting out, I found the ideas fresh and interesting, but after about the fifth story (and there are 21), I was getting really annoyed at how similar everything sounded, and then I started skimming, which is too bad, because many of the stories are well-written and insightful. Here’s what I had to say about each story as I finished (you can see the deterio ...more
Tanya Patrice
Feb 28, 2012 Tanya Patrice rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
It took me a long time to get through this book - putting it down ever so often in favor of other, faster reads. There is quite a wide range of diversity to the stories, which I quite liked - many are memorable, a lot are quite dark (which I loved), but a few left me scratching my head thinking, "huh?!" The 1st section of the book has 7 new stories - all of which I liked - but my favorites are, The Slap, where an unknown assailant goes around slapping unsuspecting, seemingly random people; and T ...more
Dan Schiff
Nov 10, 2011 Dan Schiff rated it liked it
I went into this collection having read Martin Dressler and really liking it. Several of the stories in We Others are cut from the same cloth: detached characters in whimsical scenarios. His stories are eminently readable and his prose is precise and down-to-earth, but I found myself growing tired of some repeated elements and his unchanging tone.

"The Next Thing" shows Millhauser's dehumanizing qualities at their best, as he satirizes capitalism and human "progress." There is an element of Marti
Joe Sacksteder
Jan 11, 2012 Joe Sacksteder rated it really liked it
I stole this opinion from my brother in law... and Fitzgerald, who said that most writers only have a few good ideas and they spend their careers dressing them up in different ways. Millhauser's stories fall immediately into one of several slots. With his least impressive writing ("Flying Carpets" and the eponymous novella in this collection) the slots feel overly comfortable. A rehashing. "We Others" should have been titled "Why Bother"? It was a total snooze. With his boldest stuff ("The Histo ...more
Aaron (Typographical Era)
Nov 03, 2014 Aaron (Typographical Era) rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011, nook
There’s a lot of repetition here.

That’s the first thought that stuck in my mind as I was reading Steven Millhauser’s PEN/Faulkner nominated short story collection We Others. It’s not a bad collection by any stretch. In fact its stories are for the most superbly written and fantastically well-structured, but…

There isn’t really a lot going on.

That’s the second thought that stuck in my mind. In nearly each and every story, Millhauser’s fascination with the point at which the magical meets the munda
Chris Poole
Oct 11, 2011 Chris Poole rated it really liked it
Millhauser plays a lot with a mixing of the fantastic-and-mundane, which is just the sort of thing I most enjoy, and I believe he shines best when he explores the lives and works of peculiar artists. He paints their creations and attitudes towards art in loving detail, and it is artists like August Eschenburg and Eisenheim the Illusionist who linger longest and in full glory after the reading. These protagonists' titular stories as well as "The Slap," "The Barnum Museum," "The Eighth Voyage of S ...more
May 22, 2015 Emily rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: eh
Recommended to Emily by: "staff picks" shelf at the Greenville library
"A man with a little mustache looked hard at her as she passed, and Elizabeth felt pleased. Then she felt angry at herself for feeling pleased."

"After graduating, we roomed together for a year in a little college town full of cafes and bookstores, sharing the rent and drifting from one part-time job to another, as I put off the inevitable suit-and-tie life that awaited me while he mocked my conventional fear of becoming conventional ..."
Nov 03, 2015 Lauren rated it it was amazing
Hadn't read any of Millhauser's stories before taking this book out of the library, and I just loved it. His sense of the absurd and macabre is wonderful, but it's tempered by and tethered to the real and relatable emotions and characters that populate his not-quite "normal" small towns.
Apr 25, 2012 Jamey rated it really liked it
This was my first time reading anything by Millhauser. I got through most of the stories and most of them were enjoyable. I think the collection is too long, or the author gets to be too much, or both. The stories that are set in a vague contemporary time and places are often the best--"The Slap" and "The White Glove" (I think those are the names)stood out as haunting dissections of things in life that disturb us in ways that are hard to put a finger on. And they rip--mini page turners, so good. ...more
Derrick Trimble
Feb 01, 2016 Derrick Trimble rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Highly descriptive and empathic connection to the human experience. The first short story "The Slap" is a phenomenal work of writing. I enjoy this author very much so.
Marc Duggan
Apr 12, 2016 Marc Duggan rated it really liked it
Shelves: borrowed
I picked up Millhauser from recommendation and for the tag: Winner of the pulitzer prize for fiction.
There is an awful lot to love in this collection. Stand out stories include: We Others and August Eschenburg. Millhauser has a tremendous gift for scene setting and descriptive story telling. August Eschenburg is a superb example where you are able to truly visualise the automaton themselves and the old world Germany setting. As mentioned by others, some tales do offer something similar, Eisenhei
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  • You Think That's Bad
  • Ladies and Gentlemen
  • Selected Stories
  • The Collected Stories
  • Dusk and Other Stories
  • Binocular Vision: New and Selected Stories
  • The View from the Seventh Layer
  • Vanishing and Other Stories
  • The Dead Fish Museum: Stories
  • A Guide to Being Born: Stories
  • Chemistry and Other Stories
  • This Is Not Your City
  • The Miniature Wife and Other Stories
  • A Day in the Life of a Smiling Woman: Complete Short Stories
  • Gryphon: New and Selected Stories
  • Birds of a Lesser Paradise: Stories
  • The Great Frustration
  • Honored Guest

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“We others are not like you. We are more prickly, more jittery, more restless, more secretive, more desperate, more cowardly, more bold. We live at the edges of ourselves, not in the middle places. We leave that to you.” 3 likes
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