418th out of 1,169 books — 879 voters
The Temple of Air: Stories
by Patricia Ann McNair (Goodreads Author)
Linking the lives and tales of a place and its people through tragedy and consequence, blind faith and redemption, this collection of finely tuned short stories spans three decades to present a portrait of working class Americans. From babysitter and bus ticket salesman to construction worker and cult leader, the residents of New Hope--whose lives intersect after a tragic...more
Paperback, 162 pages
Published September 1st 2011 by Elephant Rock Productions, Inc.
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This is a book that when I finished reading it, I immediately knew that I would read it again. And again. The stories are those that stick with you, not just because of their plots, but because of the incredibly strong voice that accompanies them. The writing of this book exceeds being just black type on a white page. It is truly a whisper in your head, a projector playing out the scenes so vividly before you that you forget entirely that you are actually reading. At least that's how it went for...more
Her characters are not nice, well rounded people who are easy to like. Their stories aren't always easy to read. They are rough with jagged edges, hard to hold, unapologetic and very real. But that's what makes me love them so much. The stories are so vivid in the telling. I felt pulled into their world and isn't that what superb writing does? Pulls you out of your existence for a time and completely immerses you in the character's world? Patricia McNair's stories are just that good.
McNair’s interest is in the qualities we lack, the injustices we can’t get over, and the ways our pasts weigh us down. Her characters cling to their secrets, weather cruel disappointments, and fail to soar above their lives’ catastrophes. Interconnecting and reinforcing each other, her stories admirably evoke Midwestern longing -- a kind of small-town pain of very heavy people trying to levitate – and form an intricate portrait of a community of loners.
Terrific. Moving, awe-ful, sad, sexy, and hilarious. ("The Twin" made me giggle like a schoolgirl--it's real Charles Addams stuff!) I grew up in Central Illinois, and it felt like home in the summertime--the dusty dark side of the coin to Bradbury's Dandelion Wine; a little bit Bastard out of Minnesota, a little bit Flannery O'Connor's relentless unforgiving search for grace.
The way these stories link lives in the fictional midwestern town of New Hope is only part of the pleasure this book will give its readers. McNair is expert at exploring the moments that matter. She reveals her characters at their most vulnerable and dramatic (leaving a lover, exploring sex after a mastectomy, struggling to understand an accidental death), and she never turns away from the harsh realities. But she also sees all those moments that make up the texture of our lives and help us surv...more
Brutal in its honesty, stunning in it's insight, merciless in it's impact. This book will leave you in tears, nodding in sympathy and understanding, even if you've never been in a similar situation. McNair's genius is in her ability to make you feel, whether you want to or not. I was quite impressed, actually.
McNair's talent is embedded in each word, each sentence, in each story in her amazing debut collection. From the first page to the last, I'm drawn in as a witness to the tragedies and lives of the characters. The stories live well beyond the page. That's what all great books do.
Jul 10, 2012 Jennifer rated it 5 of 5 stars
I had been waiting a long time to get my hands on this book, which I had to interlibrary loan from the west coast (which is surprising, as it's written by a Chicago author). Having gone to Columbia College to major in Fiction Writing, I was excited to see what Patty McNair (a professor there) had written. This book is a compilation of short stories that tie together loosely, interweaving small (yet deceptively important) moments in the lives of everyone from adult twins on the run, to an icecrea...more
This is one of those books you will want to read and re-read! The stories are astounding! The characters move through their lives, trying to find their way, getting lost and getting stuck, reaching out for what they think will fill the void and not finding it. Yet, for all it says about this human condition that we've all found ourselves in from time to time, there IS hope in New Hope - but Patricia Ann McNair makes you work for it! You won't find nicely tied up stories here. This is a book you...more
I won The Temple of Air by Patricia Ann McNair through the Goodreads Giveaway program. This book is made up of stories that can link together. Some parts of the book were intriging, but many of the stories had more curse words than I prefer. There is also drug use in the book. It was an ok book but I probably will not read it again.
Patricia Ann McNair has lived 98 percent of her life in the Midwest. She’s managed a gas station, sold pots and pans door to door, tended bar and breaded mushrooms, worked on the trading floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and taught aerobics. Today she teaches in the Fiction Writing Department of Columbia College Chicago, where she received the Excellence in Teaching Award as well as a nomin...moreMore about Patricia Ann McNair...