Ecstatic Cahoots: Fifty Short Stories
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Ecstatic Cahoots: Fifty Short Stories

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  67 ratings  ·  12 reviews
In this remarkable collection of bite-size stories, Stuart Dybek, one of our most prodigious writers, explores the human appetite for rapture and for trust. With fervent intensity and sly wit, he gives each tale his signature mix of characters—some almost ghostly, others vividly real—who live in worlds tinged with surreal potential. There are crazed nuns hijacking streetca...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published June 3rd 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Valerie Miner
Here is my review of PAPER LANTERN from the San Francisco Chronicle, 10 July, 2014

Paper Lantern by Stuart Dybek
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 207 pages, $24.00
Ecstatic Cahoots by Stuart Dybek
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 195 pages, $15.00

June is a great month to celebrate fiction with the publication of Stuart Dybek’s two effervescent, musical collections, Paper Lantern, nine love stories, and Ecstatic Cahoots, fifty short-short stories. His characters explore urban Chicago and...more
Prior to this book, my only other encounter with Stuart Dybek was his last short story collection, the sublime I Sailed With Magellan. Most, if not all, of these stories have already appeared in various publications, and I'm guessing that a writer of Dybek's stature can get anything he writes published by somebody.

This collection is as disparate as Magellan was unified. There are stories that are one or two paragraph fragments. Some qualify more as verse. Some are really abstract. And while I c...more
It's hard not to have a real affection for these stories, since I think a lot of these stories were written, or at least seeing print, when I was Dybek's student-- he had a rare talent for placing things in the NYer and smaller mags, and it was, to me at the time, the smaller mags where Dybek was doing the interesting stuff.

Now, twenty years or so later, I'm a little less bowled over by these stories, having read some things since-- Lydia Davis, Joy Williams, etc-- that I think do more with the...more
Gerry LaFemina
Mostly short (short) stories and some prose poems, the pieces in Ecstatic Cahoots demonstrate Dybek's lyric and imagistic prowess: filled with pathos, humor, and insight. Surprising turns, recurring refrains, and that "just right" detail, remind me again why Dybek is so good. Are all the pieces great: no, of course not, but I'll take 85% great anytime from a collection with this many pieces. What I'm most grateful for is Dybek's ability to try different rhetorical strategies, to engage a variety...more
Aug 04, 2014 Lori marked it as to-read
"But this septuagenarian's two new collections establish him as not only our most relevant writer, but maybe our best." 8/4/14 NYTBR, Darin Strauss
Rose Zivkovich
I couldn't even finish this one - I guess short stories aren't for me. :( Most of these were just plain weird!
Tyler Weathers
Tripe by an overrated writer. Enough!!!
I wish there were negative stars.
poetic, inventive
The first and last thirds of this collection were very enjoyable, but the middle was dull and uninspired. A favorite quote from the first third: "Her tongue rolled r's against mine, but couldn't save me from failing Spanish."
Tim Chapman
I've been a Stuart Dybek fan since I first ran across a copy of "The Coast of Chicago." His short stories are as engrossing as a novel and as lyrical as a poem. "Ecstatic Cahoots" is a collection of fifty of these little gems. Brisket is my favorite of the bunch, but they're all worth reading. I'm sure you'll find your own favorite.
Some of the stories are fetching, haunting or humorous. But many are not really my cup of tea and are too slight or not as clever as they should seem -- especially once they get stacked up against each other. The one exception is "A Confluence of Doors", which is a very big exception and is a fantastic fantastical story and well worth reading.
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Stuart Dybek has published three short story collections: Childhood and Other Neighborhoods, The Coast of Chicago, and I Sailed With Magellan; and two volumes of poetry: Brass Knuckles and Streets in Their Own Ink. He has been anthologized frequently and regularly appears in magazines such as the New Yorker, the Atlantic, Harper’s Magazine and the Paris Review.

He has received numerous awards, incl...more
More about Stuart Dybek...
The Coast of Chicago: Stories I Sailed with Magellan Childhood and Other Neighborhoods: Stories Streets in Their Own Ink: Poems Paper Lantern: Love Stories

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