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Things that Fall from the Sky

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  463 ratings  ·  48 reviews
Weaving together loss and anxiety with fantastic elements and literary sleight-of-hand, Kevin Brockmeier’s richly imagined Things That Fall from the Sky views the nagging realities of the world through a hopeful lens.

In the deftly told “These Hands,” a man named Lewis recounts his time babysitting a young girl and his inconsolable sense of loss after she is wrenched away.
Paperback, 224 pages
Published July 8th 2003 by Vintage (first published 2002)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,151)
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Very Short Review: "Apples" and "The Jesus Stories" are worth the price of admission alone.

Short Review: A decent collection. I checked the book out of the library and immediately purchased it after reading "Apples," "The Jesus Stories," and "A Day in the Life of Half of Rumplestiltskin." I loved all of these, will reread them numerous times, and don't feel like saying much else about them because they're still to close to me. Though I will say that I'll always think of "Apples" whenever I heard
I read Brockmeier's novel A Brief History of the Dead and was absolutely blown away. It was a beautiful, haunting book. As a lover of the short story form, then, I couldn't wait to read this collection--but I was let down. There are a couple of really great stories, but, overall, neither the writing nor the plot conception of these stories begins to approach the masterful beauty of Brief History. I liked this book, but I didn't love it, and I thought I would, so my sense of disappointment was pr ...more
A varied collection of short stories, carefully crafted and light of touch. If nothing else, a real pleasant alternative to many recent collections I have read in that there is no graphic violence, no sex, no profanity, and no irrational cruelty. I didn't know that was possible any more. But it's more than that; a number of these stories are poignant and touching. Mr. Brockmeier's protagonists often reveal themselves as innocents and earn our admiration and respect, and his perceptions of the w ...more
These stories are extremely cerebral, and still manage to feel fragile. My personal favorite is The House at the End of the World.
Barrett King
After reading "The Ceiling" in an anthology of short stories, I felt compelled to pick up the collection it came from. In some ways this was a mistake--Brockmeier's other stories have difficulty living up to that first impression. Some of them do, but some were a disappointment.

Of the 11 in the collection, I would say 3 were top notch. I thoroughly enjoyed "Apples", "The Ceiling", and "The House at the End of the World". The fact that I didn't love some of the other stories doesn't really surpri
This collection of short fiction begins with a story that is by turns creepy and beautifully done: "These Hands." Here's the thing about this story, though...KB has his narrator name-check Nabokov to prove that, yes, reader, yes, KB knows he's working in the vein of Lolita, and his character knows it too--but this knowledge didn't really help me to appreciate the story more. Actually, I thought KB's choice to have the child-character be an infant had already proven to me that KB was up to someth ...more
Melanie Page
While a lot of the sentences were quite heavy--a characteristic that caused me to read and re-read and re-read some paragraphs--a lot of the stories are quite fascinating. They ask the reader to internalize what is right and what is wrong, for example. When a 35-year-old male babysitter begins to call the baby under his charge his daughter, should we be frightened or saddened by this closeness? When a father has kidnapped his child and possessed her since her infancy, should we feel relieved or ...more
sadly, i liked the chesterton quote about fairy tales which brockmeier prefaces his book with most of all, but there are several stories that charmed me:
apples, a day in the life of half rumpelstiltskin, the ceiling, the jesus stories (which bore the fragrance of borges)and the house at the end of the world. i was a little bored otherwise. i like the concepts and not the execution, i guess.

"in the fairytale an incomprehensible happiness rests upon an incomprehensible condition. a box is opened,
Absolom J. Hagg
A couple really good stories and wonderful writing throughout, but for heaven's sake, man, make something happen. Too often these stories were just inert glimpses into the lives of people I didn't find all that interesting.
I liked this collection much better than Brockmeier's second. It seemed less calculated, just honest. Several pieces reminded me so much of Millhauser's work, but still held enough of Brockmeier's voice and spirit, it seemed, that they worked out. My favorites were "These Hands," "The Ceiling," and "The Jesus Stories." I found each thought-provoking, compelling. "The Ceiling," probably had the strongest hold on me, maybe because it was slightly absurd, but the absurdism was consistent to the ver ...more
Short stories are tough. The author really doesn't have much time to grab you, so they have to be a lot more precise than novels, which sometimes take a while to get going. I really liked Kevin Brockmeier's The Brief History of the Dead, but most of these stories didn't grab me the way that novel did. There were a few exceptions: "The Ceiling," in which the sky literally begins to fall, "The Passenger," in which a whole civilization lives out its life on an airplane, and "The House at the End of ...more
Chance Lee
I was drawn to this collection by "The Ceiling", a story in which a relationship crumbles as an invisible ceiling slowly descends onto a town and squishes everyone. Very Twilight Zone.

A few other stories in this collection are just as phenomenal. The title story, "Things That Fall from the Sky," is about memories, our perceptions, and unexpected friendships. "Space" is a story about loss and illuminating what is lost through stories.

Many of these stories are stories about stories. Some of the m
Jan 03, 2008 Kate rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Kate by: Bertram
Brockmeier is a dreamy writer, and I have a low tolerance for preciousness, so I began each story hesitantly. He never convinced me with a first line that the story would be more than fluff. But almost every time, he proved more grounded than was initially let on.

His strengths are in taking what might be a forced gimmick and giving it substance, like the idea of the sky pushing down to the ground, and in writing from a child's or childish point of view. Attempts at age, wisdom and some kinds of
I appreciate great description of ordinary things, and this book excels at it. Example:

"Brown leaves shot with threads of red and yellow skittered across the park. They swept past merry-go-rounds and picnic tables, past heavy gray stones and rotunda bars. A man and his daughter tottered on a seesaw, a knot of sunlight shuttling along the rod between them like a bubble in a tube of water." p.24

Some stories in the middle disappointed, but overall it's a fine collection. Reminds me of Aimee Bender
I adored "The View from the Seventh Layer" from Brockmeier, so I was glad to tuck into this one.

Another group of short stories about strange people. Like a Nabokovian babysitter who has an obsession with the little girl in his charge. Or a family living in a town where a strange black orb descends like a ceiling until they are all crawling around in perpetual darkness, or a group of people trying to get Jesus to come back sooner.

Brockmeier's writing voice is always dry, curious and funny. I reco
Would give this 3.5 stars if I could. I like Kevin Brockmeier a lot -- his writing is so clear; I like how he mixes fantasy and reality without going off the edge of being a sci-fi writer at all; somehow, though, something about these stories is a little *too* unassuming, a little too clear, not quite enough punch in the stomach. I did particularly like "The Ceiling" and "A Day in the Life of Half of Rumpelstiltskin." Beautiful writing, beautiful ideas, still wanting more impact, if only from on ...more
This is one of the best short story collections I've read in a long while. It consists of eleven delicious gems that are part fairy tale, part science fiction, and 100% engrossing. Brockmeier has a wonderful way with words, and his imagination is remarkable. Each story combines the absolutely commonplace with the absolutely mind-bending in a way that makes it quite easy to accept the unlikely circumstances of the plots. I would highly recommend this one to lovers of the short-story genre.
This was a beautifully themed book of short stories. I enjoyed a couple of the stories more than others. The first about the babysitter and the one about the airplane was very cool, all abstract and metaphoric. the little love story about the kid's first kiss was shockingly beautiful. I love how there's one sentence in a story that just encompasses a gut wrenching heartfelt feeling. It's a beautiful, artsy collection. Definitely a wonderful read.
The stories were vivid. They almost felt like dreams. The descriptions were wonderful. My favorite stories would have to be Apples, A Day in the Life of Half of Rumplestiltskin, and Space. These stories would probably sound great when real aloud.
Kevin Brockmeier is a wonderful writer. This was a wonderful collection of short stories. I can't think of one that I didn't like. They are a little strange but I think that's part of the wonder. You should read this collection by him. I don't even know which one can pick as a favorite or as the best. He somehow just grips you with his characters' internal reflections.
Dec 28, 2010 Adrienne marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the writing in the first few stories of this book, but the content was lacking. In any case, I kept going. But then the story with gratuitous use of bible quotations left a bad taste in my mouth. After twelve years of Catholic school, I've had enough bible verses to last me a lifetime, and then I couldn't bring myself to read the rest of the book. So it goes.
an interesting collection of short stories. I liked the more realistic ones better than the more fantastical, although I usually really like fantasy and magical realism. The more complex stories just seemed like the author was trying too hard... I don't know. It wasn't bad, though, and I still enjoyed it, which is why I gave it three stars instead of two.
Amazing stories. I particularly liked A Day in the Life of Half of Rumpelstiltskin, Apples, The Ceiling, and The House at the End of the World. Beautiful writing and stories full of characters that are so real and so three dimensional that you feel like you can almost reach out and touch them or speak to them.
Kevin Brockmeier has this beautiful, lyrical quality to his stories. You see reoccurring themes in his work (little bit in this, little bit in View from the Seventh Layer, and little bit in A brief history of the dead) but he somehow always makes it feel new. I just want to read him over and over again.
John Young
Kevin Brockmeier's first book... a splendid collection of short stories. I am proud to say that a fictionalized version of me appears in the title story, being impaled by a pipe from the great beyond. A great intro to this fine young novelist!
Alicia J
I really did try with this one. "These Hands" made me uncomfortable from the get-go, and I kept thinking if I powered through I could get back to the Brockmeier I love but it never happened. "The Ceiling" is truly great, though.
Oct 29, 2007 Nik rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
This book is a collection of short stories that are bizarre and fun. I love the DeLillo-esque lists in the first story, which is about a man in love with a girl much....much....much younger than him.

Definitely worth reading.
Karima Ridgley
One of my favorite collections of short stories of all time. Sometimes I just buy this book when I see it in a bookstore because I think one day I can make someone very happy by giving it to them.
As far as coherence of stories in a collection, this is right up there with Jesus' Son, by Denis Johnson. And one story, 'The Passenger', is downright brilliant. Definitely worth reading.
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Born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, Brockmeier received his MFA from the Iowa Writer's Workshop in 1997. His stories have been featured in The New Yorker, McSweeny's, Crazyhorse, and The Georgia Review. He is the recipient of an O. Henry Award, the Nelson Algren Award, and a National Endowment of the Arts grant.
More about Kevin Brockmeier...
The Brief History of the Dead The Illumination The View from the Seventh Layer The Truth About Celia A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip: A Memoir of Seventh Grade

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“If I could, I would work my way backward, paring away the years. I would reel my life arouond the wheel of this longing like so much loose wire.” 0 likes
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