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Mendocino And Other Stories

3.46 of 5 stars 3.46  ·  rating details  ·  428 ratings  ·  50 reviews
With an unerring eye for the small ways in which people reveal themselves, Ann Packer focuses on women and men in their 20s and 30s whose lives, for all their ritual calm, do not quite fall into place. These stories explore those moments when the fog clears and we see each other - and ourselves - in a clear new light.
Published May 1st 1994 by Chronicle Books (CA)
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An nice collection of stories by an excellent writer. The characters in the stories are at an age where their lives have already taken shape, and their careers or roles known. However there's something disappointing about it -- they have arrived but yet it's haunting, a goal so worked for, so desired, achieved and yet... feels out of tune, or out right empty.

You see that played out in the stories Mendocino, Nerves, Babies, Hightops, The Glass House, and Lightening.

Another common theme in the sto
Ben Hess
Aug 27, 2014 Ben Hess rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Karen Nelson
Ann's excellent compilation of short stories - all set in Northern California, including Mendocino - consistently left me thinking about the characters, their plight, and their impact. I typically find short stories don't end well ... that we're left hanging, needing more. With Mendocino, even though the stories are a mix of first person and third person, large casts and small, I found them a delightful treat.
I don't normally make a point to read short stories but I saw this collection in a used bookstore a while back and I had enjoyed the author's well known novel, The Dive from Clausen's Pier, so much that I thought it was worth a look.

I think I enjoyed this even more than the novel. I think she has a gift for writing short stories in particular. She's able to establish (for me) personal connections to characters in such a short amount of time in that you feel intimately connected to and invested i
Good stories, good characters, well written. I liked that these characters were normal people. there didn't have to be quirky characters or unrealistic scenarios. But, and it's an interesting but, I found most of the stories utterly lacking in the ending category. I recently published a couple of short story collections. A number of co-workers and friends who have now read my stories for the first time complain that they are too short (which they probably are) and the endings just leave them wan ...more
The first story, "Mendocino," was definitely the worst in the collection, and while things got a bit better thereafter, the book pretty much failed to hold my interest. Packer's observations herein don't really shed any new light on anything, which isn't necessarily what you look for in an author, but it doesn't hurt; it's also disconcerting when time after time those observations, which you know are trying to shed unique light on a situation, fall flat and come off as mundane. Several of these ...more
I want to write like Ann Packer. I want to perfectly infuse a story with such brilliant little nuances of character and relationship. But alas... I don't write anywhere near as well as Ann Packer. Fortunately, I got to read this intimate collection of stories, many of which teased my brain after I'd finished them, challenging me to put the pieces together to reveal a greater theme and making me wonder what would become of the characters' lives beyond the page.

Some of the stories struck me more
Sarah Sammis
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
An impulse led me to my bookshelves where I pulled down this book. It had a birthday card inside from 2005. The card looked like a dream I'd had the night before, so I re-read the book - a collection of finely-wrought stories all different from each other, in tone, in character - none earth-shaking or emotionally taut, not memorable either (clearly) but all with quiet perception of late-century, middle-class Americans.
This is the year of the short story on the podcast Books on the Nightstand. I decided to read a few collections, and this is my second (I think) this year. Packer's stories are set mostly in northern California where she lives and have a stong sense of place. I was not disappointed in this collection which was poignant at times, and occasionally funny.
Maybe Ann Packer was going through some personal tribulations during the timeframe in which she composed these short stories: many of them are intimate portrayals of solitude, loneliness, and the thwarted desire for a child. This collection showcases Packer’s talent for short, poignant stories—each a melancholic gem.
Well- I've got to say that though the writing was good, I came away from most of the stories feeling empty and flat, as if I was missing the dinal chapter of a book or something. I'm quite disappointed, because I thought The Dive From Claussen's Pier well done. I couldn't relate to most of the characters.
I like short stories. It's nice bite size reading for bed time. Plus, if one story sucks, you just go to the next one. These stories have great characters. Sometimes the stories are so relatable that they're almost painful to read. I think Ms. Mary Cunningham gave me this book, but I can't remember.
Flawless collection of short stories about seemingly ordinary people. I began reading this during a road trip Labor Day weekend and COULD NOT put it down. My joy for this book is only surpassed by my finding that the author will be in my city for an appearance next week, yes ....
Katie O'Connell
I was completely drawn in to each of these stories. And I loved the way they finished - not neatly tied up, but also not some big cliffhanger. I wanted more, but could also sort of imagine what else would have happened afterwards (because I felt like I understood the characters well).
Oh Ann Packer, will you marry me? This is everything I want in a short story collection. The stories sort of go together, but you can't explain or pinpoint why. They're lovely and feel sort of like they're full of people you might have known, doing things you never knew about.
I really enjoyed this collection of short stories. I read it after I really enjoyed The Dive From Clausen's Pier and found that I like Packer's short stories even more. Each story was like a little snapshot of real people.
I think my problem is that I really just don't like short stories. They always leave me feeling emtpy and wanting more. I think that is the point but it doesn't satisfy me the way reading a novel usually does. :)
Dec 29, 2007 Beth rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Short Stories fans
After reading this book back to back with "Later, At the Bar" I found myself annoyed that none of the stories had anything to do with each other. Few of the charachters gripped me in the way that an Alice Munro can.
Spare, beautiful, slightly melancholy stories. Not at all what I would have expected from the author of The Dive from Clausen's Pier (which is a great read--just a very different one).
Packer has a way of grasping and worrying over the most subtle emotions and interactions. These stories were wholly human and satisfying. My favorites were the title story and "Tillman and I."
Maria (Ri)
This was ok, but, I was looking for a little more. I enjoyed Dive from Clausen's Pier because I knew the characters so intimately. That felt a little missing in the short stories.
Cheryl Mccormick
The first couple of stories I feel were cut short, it left me hanging thinking what's wrong with his arm or that's it? I read this book in one day so it's a good quick read.
Elisabeth Kinsey
Ann Packer makes me want to pretend I never took it upon myself to write, since, in comparison, that is not what I do. She is amazing. Keys in the bowl. That's all I gotta say.
I LOVED this book! Each story pulled me in quickly and was fully engaging. I'm generally not a huge fan of short stories, but every story in this collection was a gem!
I longed for more Ann Packer after reading the Dive from Clausen's Pier. I enjoyed the short stories, but sometimes I wanted the short stories to be much longer.
Lovely. Would read it again. As with most short stories there were some I liked better and some I could have done without. Quick read. Want to read more by her now.
Packer's characters and plots are very believable. She has a way of capturing the unspoken feelings between people. I enjoyed this short story collection a lot.
I don't usually read short stories, but this one caught my eye and was borrowed from a friend. It's a good collection of stories, and I like Packer's writing style.
LOVE LOVE LOVE this author. Her short stories are amazing anf I love how they leave you feeling satisfied and wanting more at the same time. Quick but lasting stories.
I liked it. Didn't love it at the end of each story I was left wanting more and to continue to get to know the characters better. Great writing though
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Ann Packer is an American novelist and short story writer, perhaps best known for her critically acclaimed first novel The Dive From Clausen's Pier. She is the recipient of a James Michener Award and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. Packer is the daughter of Stanford University law professor Herbert L. Packer and Nancy Packer, a writer and former professor of English and creative writ ...more
More about Ann Packer...
The Dive From Clausen's Pier Songs Without Words Swim Back to Me The Children's Crusade: A Novel Ploughshares Fall 1993 Guest-Edited by Sue Miller

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