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Sweet Land Stories

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  586 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
One of America’s premier writers, the bestselling author of Ragtime, Billy Bathgate, The Book of Daniel, and World’s Fair turns his astonishing narrative powers to the short story in five dazzling explorations of who we are as a people and how we live.

Ranging over the American continent from Alaska to Washington, D.C., these superb short works are crafted with all the weig
Paperback, 160 pages
Published May 10th 2005 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published January 1st 2004)
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Ahmad Sharabiani
Sweet Land Stories, E.L. Doctorow
عنوان: قصه های سرزمین دوست داشتنی؛ ای.ال. دکتروف؛ مترجم: علیرضا کیوانی نژاد؛ تهران، نشر چشمه؛ 1393؛ در 168 ص؛ شابک: 9786002291875؛
عنوان دیگر: داستانهای سرزمین دوست داشتنی؛ و نیز با عنوان «خانه ای در دشت» با ترجمه مهرشید متولی؛ انتشارات ترگمان در سال 1389 و 1390 در 178 ص
داستانها: خانه ای میانِ دشت؛ این تکه از سرزمین؛ سرگردانیِ جولین، و ...؛
میلاد کامیابیان

غصههای سرزمینِ دوستنداشتنی

میلاد کامیابیان

خلاصه اولبار که آدم اسمِ کتاب را میشنود، شکّش میبرد مبادا اشتباهی پیش آمده باشد. ای. ال. داکترو (همان دُکُتروفِ سابقِ خودمان) و «قصههای سرزمینِ دوستداشتنی»؟ عجبا. بعد، کمکمک به صرافت میافتد که نویسندهی رگتایم و بیلی باتگیت و پیشروی لابد غرضی داشته از افزودن بر پیاز داغِ عاطفیِ عنوان. تازه، در اسمِ اصلیِ اثر به انگلیسی آش شورتر است. این است که مخاطب بو میبرد لابد کاسهای زیرِ نیمکاسه است. شاید که نویسنده میخواسته با این تأکیدِ آیرونیک عملاً عیان کند که هیچ
Io non ho ben capito perché si parli di “fallimento del sogno americano” riferendosi a questa raccolta di racconti. A mio modesto avviso, il fallimento che Doctorow ci mostra sta nelle persone in sé, non nel “sogno”. Anche se i personaggi fossero tutti nati e cresciuti a Timbuctù, sarebbe stato lo stesso, sia pur con modalità differenti. Semmai, direi che è un’attenta e riuscita panoramica di quanti insidiosi motivi esistano per sprecare la propria vita e di come sia facile illudersi o consolars ...more
Sweet Land Stories is a collection about the myth of the American Dream: the people who abuse it, the people who awake from it, the people who continue to believe in it long after it has failed them. Unbound, these are stories one might not think to gather together, but they make a surprising sense together. They resonate in unexpected ways, particularly in the ways each story asks questions about the nature of power, the impossibility of outrunning the past, and the belief that children can hel ...more
I think it is always difficult to review books of short stories because each and every story is so different. This collection seems to give a sweeping snapshot of aspects of the USA, including political cover-ups, religious cultism, bigamy, teenage decline and crime. It was a really interesting in that each story was written in such a succinct, matter-of-fact way, as if it were all normal and all unremarkable. To the extent that none of the stories raised the kind of ire you would have thought t ...more
Saw the movie "Jolene" which was based on the short story in this book. An interseting array of short stories based on life in America.
Jan 21, 2016 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
قصههای سرزمینِ دوستداشتنی / ادگار لارنس داکترو / تهران: چشمه، چاپِ اول 1393
داستانهای امریکایی – قرن 20م

«علیرضا کیوانینژاد»، در «مقدمهی مترجم» با اشاره به نقلِ قولی از «فرناندو پِسو»، نویسندهی پرتغالی، که: «نمیتوان روشنفکر بود اما چون مشغولِ تهیهی کاتالوگِ یک موزهایم از اظهارِ نظر دربارهی اتفاقی اجتماعی طفره رفت»، «داکترو» را روشنفکری میداند که خاطراتِ شبِ گذشتهاش را به داستانی آبکی تبدیل نمیکند و از اظهارِنظر دربارهی حوادث جامعهاش نیز طفره نمیرود. [7] او بخشی از تاریخِ شفاهی «امریکا» را مکتوب ک
One of my favorite authors, but this one was hit or miss. Stepping this far out of New York was sometimes freeing for him, but other times rang false.
Simon Mcleish
Mar 05, 2013 Simon Mcleish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally published on my blog here in July 2007.

Sweet Land Stories is a collection of five short(ish) stories, all but the last published in the New Yorker in the first few years of this decade. In order, A House on the Plains describes a young man's discovery that his mother is a serial killer, enticing men to a midwest farm to kill and rob them; Baby Wilson is told from the point of view of the boyfriend of a young woman who steals a child from a hospital; Jolene: A Life describes the disast
Alex Snellgrove
Dec 31, 2011 Alex Snellgrove rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a collection of 5 short stories that at first seem to have been written by 5 different people, the author managing to inhabit the world of his characters to an extraordinary degree. The first two are narrated in a very informal US vernacular which appear to date from the mid-1900s and it's a shock to realise how recently they were first published (early 2000s). They are creepy and the characters are marginal (let's be honest - criminal) and they are completely astonishing. The next, abou ...more
May 24, 2010 Patrick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ian Pisarcik
E.L. Doctorow's "Sweet Land Stories," presents us with a side of rural America that is rarely witnessed firsthand, but that we all know exists. It is a realm of problematic rationalization:

"This newborn baby, whom we have stolen from another couple, will be safer and healthier with us..."

"My mother is justified in marrying and subsequently killing rich foreign men and keeping their money..."

"This man is so idiotically cocky and financially successful that I'm sure he'll make a great husband and
Nov 26, 2013 Cat. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well. Five stories. Not uniformly bleak. Well, actually, yes they are. Don't read these to cheer up.

Read them if you want to see a well-constructed story. "A House on the Plains" begins with a mother and son departing Chicago for a house outside the city (sounds like now it would be around Aurora, in the middle of another city, but anyway...). It's only very slowly that you realize that this happy family is not your and my kind of happy family. At least I hope not!

"Jolene: A Life" is grindingly
Frederick Bingham
A collection of short stories by E. L. Doctorow. The most memorable one is Child, Dead in the Rose Garden. It is about an 8-year-old child who is found dead in the Rose Garden after a ceremony. An FBI agent tries to find out how the child got there, who he was and what killed him. The trail eventually leads back to one of the President's big contributors in Texas. The child belonged to one of his gardeners. The whole thing is hushed up and covered up by White House political operatives who don't ...more
Vikki Marshall
Jan 09, 2012 Vikki Marshall rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Doctorow is one of America’s great storytellers and in this collection of short stories he takes us from Washington D.C. to Alaska on a whirlwind tour of life in the cracks of America. His characters are flawed, even at times seemingly unlovable, but Doctorow brings up a richness and density that exists within the imperfection of life. We meet mother and son con-artists, a baby-stealing couple, the lives on a fundamentalist religious commune, an FBI agent deciphering an abandoned body in the Ros ...more
Bookmarks Magazine

Each critic professes great respect for Doctorow, who, at age 73 and many awards later, has earned it. However, there the split begins. Many critics hail these stories, four of which were published previously in The New Yorker, as an achievement that perfectly captures the American nation's mood, its aberrant characters, and dark underbelly. But others dismiss the book as a slim, shallow effort that does not live up to Doctorow's past work. Common complaints? "A House on the Plains" doesn't fit

Colleen Lecomte
This book is a collection of short stories I found in search of the novella "Jolene", which is now a major motion picture as well. Ironically, I did not care for "Jolene", but really enjoyed the other short stories in this book. The first story, "A House on the Plains", was right up my alley and was very enjoyable! A slim volume, this is a good start for those not sure if they are really into short stories and would like to have the quality of a good collection of short stories without the lengt ...more
May 02, 2013 Amanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Doctorow's stories in themselves; they travel and twist along as real life downs but darker than most of us will ever thankfully live. My only issue is that he has the pretentious need to deny the tenants of syntax and grammar--he has "learned the rules" and now he can break them. It distracts me from time to time but the stories themselves make up for it. Jolene: A Life, is by far the best short story I have ever read.
May 08, 2011 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
I generally don't enjoy short stores because I don't feel that they do quite as well with character development, which is what makes fiction fun for me. However, Doctorow rights incredibly well and thus succeeds in making you like the characters even in these brief stories. Unlike many of the previous reviewers, I actually liked the first three stories far more than the popular last two - to each his/her own, I guess.
Grady Ormsby
Feb 27, 2012 Grady Ormsby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Sweet Land Stories" is a collection of five short stories by E.L. Doctorow. The range of diversity in human personality is infinite. Doctorow certainly comes up with an interesting range of his own in this collection. Eccentric, unusual, quirky, strong, strange, diverse.

My favorite line from all the stories is, "His real father was in the state penitentiary with no parole for the same reason his mother was in the burial ground behind the First Baptist Church."
Sweet Land Stories is a collection of short stories that are set all around the US. Doctorow is very skillful with words and has crafted a compelling set of stories. More bleak than "sweet", the stories look into the souls of seemingly average characters. Each story twists and turns, drawing the reader in and then spitting them out somewhere unexpected. While the creepiest for me was probably "Walter John Harmon", my favorite was the last in the set - "Child, Dead in the Rose Garden."
Feb 18, 2014 Era rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
These were well written interesting short stories that always left me thinking about the characters and the plot. Sometimes I had to take a minute to try and understand what exactly was going on because the plots were also a little bit ambiguous and they made you think, not much as given to you straightforward. The last story "Child, dead, in the Rose Garden" gave me goosebumps at the end.
Jun 30, 2011 Joel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've only read two Doctorow novels (one was okay, one I was bored with) but these short stories are amazing. The writing is brilliant and the characters are really interesting. Baby Wilson and House on the Plains are my favorites. The only downside to this book is that there are only six stories. I wish he'd write more short fiction!
Feb 24, 2016 Jim rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
The title of this collection of five short stories belies their nature. These are hard stories about the dysfunctional, the felonious, and the damned. I didn't especially like the first three stories, but the last two -- "Walter John Harmon" and "Child, Dead, in the Rose Garden" -- are really good, especially "Child, Dead, in the Rose Garden."
Aug 28, 2007 Rick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: usfiction
From the mysterious House on the Plains to the comic Baby Wilson (or as much as baby kidnapping can get comic) to the moving Jolene: A Life - EL Doctorow brings a gentle ironic voice to a selection of short stories that examines life in the US over the past century. The characters and plot are meticulously observed and beautifully written.
Mary Ann
Apr 19, 2011 Mary Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book of short stories, have not read all of them yet. Obtained this copy when I attended a Reading/Book Signing with my daughter in 2005. Was a great experience.
06-05-11, have read 2 of the 5 stories so far, they do not disappoint.
08-13-11, I have finished reading the stories, wow, they are all very good; but I think my favorite is "Child, Dead, in the Rose Garden"
Robert Hepple
May 13, 2014 Robert Hepple rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a collection of five fairly short stories originally published between 2001 and 2004. The plots are dark, a little seedy at times, fast-paced and cover a variety of situations in the USA. I found them all compelling in different ways, and was disappointed only in the speed with which I got through them. Very impressed.
Aug 07, 2008 Joan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The rating is all for the last story in this collection which is called "Child, Dead, in the Rose Garden" and is about the most accurate depiction of Houston you could get. Warning: not for republicans.
Marissa Morrison
I love how Doctorow reinvents his writing style for each piece, using the narration to make characters come to life. In spite of their differences in tone, the stories are all shocking and mysterious.
Jul 27, 2014 Lsilberman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
I thought these stories sounded a bit familiar, so I checked my list of books read (which pre-dates Goodreads by over a decade), and, sure enough, I read this book over seven years ago. I don't mind, though--the stories were well worth reading again.
Aug 08, 2015 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dark, well written, intriguing.

These stories reveal the dark side of human nature at all levels of society and during different times. Very reminiscent of Faulkner, but, in my opinion much better written.
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E. L. DOCTOROW’S works of fiction include Homer & Langley,The March, Billy Bathgate, Ragtime, the Book of Daniel, City of God, Welcome to Hard Times, Loon Lake, World’s Fair, The Waterworks, and All the Time in the World. Among his honors are the National Book Award, three National Book Critics Circle Awards, two PEN Faulkner Awards, The Edith Wharton Citation for Fiction, and the presidential ...more
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