"we all go a little mad sometimes"
this book kicked my ass. i do not recommend reading it if you have any sort of sad feelings already at work inside of you. or if you are in any way mentally/emotionally compromised. this is not the kind of book you want to find yourself relating to, trust me.
on the purely intellectual level, this is a well-constructed piece of writing that lives in the shadows it creates for itself. it doles out its revelations slowly, like a cerebral detective story, folding b...more
When I was a child of nine or maybe ten years old, an elderly man who lived on the end of our street gave me five dollars to rake up the leaves in his small fenced-in yard. I remember how excited I was by this bounty – FIVE WHOLE DOLLARS! I immediately walked over to the corner store and bought a bag of circus peanuts. Do you remember these? They are made of an orange marshmallow substance shaped to look like an over-sized peanut.
I took the bag to the playground across the street and I gleefull...more
Amelia Gray's sentences are altars, propping up objects and moments and sensations. This tongue-tyingly beautiful novel—while threaded with a smooth, albeit mysterious, narrative and a small spot-lit bundle of characters—is truly the sum of thousands of such details, carefully and lovingly and wisely suffused with significance. Gray's writing implicates such a keenly perceptive set of eyes (and ears and nerve endings) for the li...more
I recently became infatuated with the writings of Amelia Gray while reading her innovative first book, AM/PM. That slim, impressive volume contained the roots of a fresh new voice, ready to break through the pages and blossom. I watched her tend to her growing charm with the short story collection, Museum of the Weird, which glowed in near equal value. There I found an ethereal eleg...more
I WILL GATHER YOUR OLDEST FRIENDS AT MY HOME AND WE WILL HAVE A CONVERSATION. YOU WILL HEAR US TALKING BUT WHEN YOU COME INTO THE ROOM WE WILL STOP TALKING.
On the persistent unreality of loss, perhaps.
Isolate yourself, obsess over the details, they're all you have, they're all you will ever have even as they deteriorate into sopped shreds at the bottom of the basement stairs.
New young authors are writing some really good books these days. In its odd dread and smearing of the assurances of home,...more
As some of the other reviewers have noted, the main character is completely frustrating in his passivity: what is behind his lack of memory? Better yet, what is up with everyone seeing the dead wife? Is this a ghost story or a mystery? Why mention the wife's secret life if it's never explored? Or the sister's death? Or the other, disconnected characters that have nothing to do with David's story of grief?
4 Stars - Strongly Recommended to everyone. Period.
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
My first experience with Amelia Gray's writing was listening to her read from her collection of flash fiction at the 2011 Brooklyn Book Festival. Her's was the last panel of the day - sharing the stage with Alan Heathcock and two male writers I had never heard of - and what a panel it was. She read from AM/PM (which I hadn't read but of which I had heard countless good things). Her...more
“I WILL CROSS-STITCH AN IMAGE OF YOUR FUTURE HOME BURNING. I WILL HANG THIS IMAGE OVER YOUR BED WHILE YOU SLEEP.”
The debut novel by Amelia Gray, entitled THREATS (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) is an unsettling and hypnotic story of loss, disintegration and the ways that love both builds and destroys us, anchors us, and alternately, lets us drift away. This is not conventional storytelling, but if you’ve read Gray’s work already (Museum of the Weir...more
i know, i know.
rather bold publication for FSG, a mystery of dark family secrets nobody can or will talk about. bloody business with dead children and wives, well some dead wives, some still alive, and revolving around a pretty compelling dentist. reminds me greatly of "dra_____" and "snow whale"
you know, you know.
Dra– The Snow Whale
will this be a new departure for fsg?
The language is plainspoken and precise. That's not to say it doesn't have moments of flourish, but the straight-aheadedness of the prose is what grounds the unreal aspects of the plo...more
First of all I agree with some of the points made by high reviewers/raters of this novel. YES, it had b...more
While it’s somewhat sad that the valentine has turned into a tacky commodity sold by the dozen so that no classmate is excluded from cupid’s arrow, I still recall t...more
This is quite the book; Amelia Gray is a master of detail. Such that in every small vignette—most chapters are no more than three pages—there is a lush diversity of compact images that portend way more than they initially seem. I found myself rereading and re-rereading over and over. This is a detective novel of metaphor and linguistic panache. The...more
I can dig weird. I can dig really weird and fucked up to boot. But it doesn't happen a lot. Weird usually only works for me if it's scary, head-trippy, and ultimately satisfying. I experienced none of that with Gray's Threats. The prose feels heavy and overwrought -- pretentious even -- weird for the sake of being weird. What is this story even about? A grieving husband? Sort of. His delusions? His mental illness? Is the odd behavior of everyone around him really happening, or is it a part of hi...more
Here are some things Gray is not concerned with in this book: characterization, plot, pacing, linearity, entertainment. Here are the couple of things she does quite well: absurdly evocative images, exploration of an uncanny psychological state. Both of those things were interesting, but...more
"He clenched his teeth but could make a connection from molar to molar. His inability to grind the teeth to powder inspired a closed-mouth scream, pushing the air from his...more
MFSO has written an excellent review of this book, you should read it.
Introductory aside: What an amazing fucking year for books this has been so far. This book. Snow Child, Blueprints for the Afterlife, Flame Alphabet and Hot Pink. Fucking young writers are kicking ass so far this year, and it's only the beginning of March.
I mentioned how I'd been on a mini-hi...more
Okay. Every once in a while, someone will ask me: Puma, what do you look for in a woman? Immediately, I know two things: 1) they don’t know me very well, or they’d know that I don’t, and 2) they don’t know me very well. That, of itself, wouldn’t be particularly interesting to most people, but it does give me pause to wonder what it is that I do like in women.
It’s pretty simple really, what I like in women is the same combination of traits I like in men—that he or she be either smart and/or funn...more
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