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The Odditorium: Stories

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  61 ratings  ·  14 reviews
An "O, The Oprah Magazine" Title to Pick Up Now & "" Book of the Week

A "San Francisco Chronicle" Recommended Book

"Emotionally rich." --"New York Times"

"Ambitious, lush and even thrilling." --"Los Angeles Times"

"Ripping good yarns." --Minneapolis "Star Tribune"

"The stories in this strange and original collection bend genres--horror, mystery, Western--into wondr
ebook, 256 pages
Published January 10th 2012 by Bellevue Literary Press
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Very few short story collections are as ambitious and successful as Melissa Pritchard's The Odditorium. First of all, Melissa Pritchard is smart. She almost frightens me, she's so smart. She does her research. She writes about the crimes of history, human psychology, the depths of the soul, and the memory of land (I mean that both ways: the land's memory and human memory of land). Think about a story with Sitting Bull and Annie Oakley. You cannot imagine what is going to happen here. These are g ...more
Meg Tuite
This collection of eight worlds transported me inside the lives of these magical, haunting, luminous characters. No one can write like Melissa Pritchard! Her prose is a dense, exotic forest of language that you want to disappear in forever.

“Dank grub, cabbage vermin, white, hairless, altricial slug. It scarcely flourished in its cradle plot, its solitary necropolis, neither living nor dead, its budded tongue a fleshy club, its legs fwumped and futile.”

Pritchard never shies away from the darkest
Jaclyn Michelle

Melissa Pritchard has some legit authorial street cred. Thus far, her short fiction has won:
*the Flannery O'Connor Award,
*the Carl Sandburg Literary Award,
*the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize,
*a PEN/Nelson Algren Honorary Mention
*TWO O. Henry Prizes,
*TWO Pushcart Prizes,
*the Ortese Prize in North American Literature from the University of Florence,
*the Barnes & Noble Discover Award,
*fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Hawthorne Found
Review based on ARC.

There is no doubt that Ms. Pritchard has a talent with words... However, i feel she is lacking in story and flow. I have often said that I love a well-written book, but even better, a well-told story. The conflict is apparent in the Odditorium.

It is clear that she has a poetic and lyrical method to her prose. But I don't care about the characters, not a single one has been endeared to me, and it feels like a well-written, albeit dry, history book. One that I know is fiction.

Patricia Murphy
Ah, I love you Melissa. Thank you for writing these intensely intelligent, socially responsible stories.
It's hard to find fault with the dense recreations here, stories that are, I think, in the mode of Jim Shepard: historical fictions, by and large, that emphasize character over narrative. Sometimes, like in Shepard (and maybe about half the stories here), the characters are historical personages, and the other half are ostensibly imaginary characters. And really, I think the goal of these stories is to set character against that historical tableau, to see them as both products of and somehow dis ...more
Melissa Pritchard's new collection of short stories draws on the deep well of history to produce stories based on characters both famous and obscure. This collection of eight stories, told in a variety of ways, is inventive and satisfying on a number of levels.

My absolute favorite stories from The Odditorium are based on the strangest historical figures. "Pelagia, Holy Fool" is based on a woman named Pelagia, born in 1807 during the reign of Tsar Alexander I who was a Fool-for-Christ. In short,
LeeAnn Heringer
I remember as a kid I'd go to the county fair and pay 50 cents to see a two headed calf or the world's largest horse or a three-eyed toad and it wasn't really a circus freak show, they would just be odd things. That's kind of like this book, the stories are well-written, odd little things that you wouldn't normally focus on. There's a thread through the stories of what is news, what gets chosen to reported, how frequently this information is wrong or truncated. And in the end, the stories failed ...more
I had to take this down one star because, although most of the stories are magical, a few seem like wastes of time (and they are the longest). I absolutely loved all the tales based in history but I felt like the others were put in as filler in order to make the book long enough to pay full price. Those stories have their merits but should be in a different collection; one called 'Life's little mundanities' or something.
Amber Polo
I once heard Melissa Pritchard tell students to collect words. Ms Pritchard is a careful gatherer of words and a master at using them. This collection brims with historical variations from 17th century Germany to modern India. Stories cleverly told with humor and understanding of the human condition.
Read slowly on a winter's eve.
I enjoyed the rich texture and detail of these stories. If you read one story in this book then the longest 'Captain Brown....' stands out as an almost novella that really had me engrossed. Very pleased to have discovered this author and will seek out her other books.
So could not connect to this book. While the author has a way with words and a definite talent as a writer I found this collection of stories dry and un-entertaining. Disappointed to say the least.
absolutely brilliant little book.
Clever, stylized writing
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“In death, as in sleep, I am all things.” 3 likes
“He understood the mind's pride, filleting, pinning down life. Understood taking apart, reassembling and labeling. To Understand was to control, to keep the terror of human insignificance at bay. It was routine to self-importance, this ability to kill and to rebuild, to catalog and stop any motion too directly pointing out human limitation and death.” 1 likes
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