You Think That's Bad
Other writers to often settle for remaining in their comfort zone; by contrast Shepard sta ...more
Nevertheless, the stories suffer from a certain sameness. Shepard's efforts to write in different registers and voices fall a bit flat, and the domestic trajectories central to virtually every story are predictable. ...more
The swagger of Jim Shepard’s opening lines pulled me in at once, and the book continues with a subtle grace. Each time I set the book down, it found its way quickly into my hands again.
Many argue that art’s greatest achievement is to place us face to face with our humanity. These stories exemplify Jim Shepard’s mastery of such a lofty craft.
“For one stretch we had to unload their saddlebags and drag them by the halter ropes while Aziz shouted into their ears distressing facts about their parentage” (22).
“Dip your foot in the water and here's what you're playing with: Xiphactinus, all angry underbite and knitting-needle teeth, with heads oddly humped and eyes enraged with accusation, and ribbone ...more
Several of the rev ...more
"You get lonely, is what it is. A person's not supposed to go through life with ...more
My advice would be to skip the first four stories (and especially the first), which simply aren't on par with the rest of the collection. Those four stories (with the possible slight exception of the second, "The Track of the Assassins") aren't much distinguished from the sort of clunky, obvious efforts you'd see in an average literary journal, and they don't do anything to support the idea (which you often hear advanced) that Shepa ...more
Maybe the reason why you don't see it that often is because of the tremendous amount ...more
"She thought she'd put up with however many years of stonewalling for a good reason, a ...more
You Think That's Bad is a collection of short stories from one of my favorite writers, Jim Shepard. There are eleven stories in the collection, ten of which were previously published in The Atlantic, McSweeney's, The New Yorker, and Electric Literature among other. It is an interesting collection of stories, taking on inadequacy, desperation, loss, heartbreak, love, and alienation.
Take "Minotaur," previously published in Playboy, which takes on the secret world of black operations research and d...more
Everyone always remarks upon Shepard's range of material, and for good reason--dude is reading some pretty great (and, in some cases it seems, some pretty arcane) history books, and rendering those into very human stories of longing and, typically, regret. People don't pay enough attention ...more
Overall, it's worth reading, but I'd suggest pacing yourself; don't binge the collection like I did.
Will not rate this book because while I think the writing might be admirable and the author highly well-read, I just couldn't get into any of the minds of the narratives. So I'm putting down this book and--maybe later.
Mentions of prehistoric creatures in In Cretaceous Seas irritated me at first; I had to search things up and made sure what my mind sees is correct with what the c ...more
My favorite was "The Netherlands Lives with Water."
(Please go read them, so we can talk about how perfectly he can sums up the human condition, the duality of how the world destructs us as we destruct ourselves, the beautiful landscapes in every one of his tales, the stories within stories, those endings - like an afterthought - that just destroy you, the way he can shift focus from one person's internal dialogue to the external conditions surrounding them, the way that no story contai ...more
Shepard's work has been published in McSween ...more