Assorted Fire Events: Stories
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Assorted Fire Events: Stories

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  226 ratings  ·  22 reviews
The paperback of the critically acclaimed story collection from David Means.
Paperback, 166 pages
Published 2003 by Fourth Estate (first published 2000)
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Patrick Neylan
It begins with two words: "THE DECLIVITY..." and in the stark brutality of those capitals - one word small and common, the other strange, self-consciously artful in its unfamiliarity - the reader feels the beads of sweat prinking into glistening existence on his soon-to-be-furrowed brow, for by those two words and those two words alone, he knows he is in the grip of Great American Literature: remorseless and unforgiving in its brooding power drawn from the primeval heart of that young, dark cont...more
In Assorted Fire Events David Means seems to have found the perfect balance--at least to my taste--of story with mild postmodern/experimental textual flairs here and there. For example, in two of the short pieces in the collection, "What They Did," and "The Woodcutter," he writes without paragraph breaks; he employs footnotes in "The Interruption," and in the footnotes in "Assorted Fire Events" he plays on the reader's expectations of fact and fiction (similar to Tim O'brien's novel, In the Lake...more
Alex Telander
Do not be dissuaded by the title, Assorted Fire Events is not a bunch of stories about vaguely interesting fire events; no, it’s much more than the latter. David Means brings us thirteen new stories, all different and unique, making a very interesting read.

“The piece he stepped on, from an old malt liquor bottle, was as jagged as the French Alps, the round base of the bottle forming a perfect support for the protrusion . . . it went into his heel cleanly, cutting firmly into the hard pad, openin...more
May 06, 2008 Phayvanh rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: beach readers
Recommended to Phayvanh by: bookstore browse
I know this deserves more than 2 stars, but that what it's got. Frankly, it's just not my kind of book. Not enough inner turmoil or angst or dread for me. Did I say that? I mean, it's there--it just didn't move me.

This is my first David Means book, and the cover practically sold itself, on top of the fact that I'd wanted to read a short story collection about a series of fires. (Seriously, I feel like I manifested this out of thin air.) So I put it on my Amazon Wish List. And Santa gave it to m...more
I seemed to gravitate to short stories of late and again they're always on the sad and melancholy side. I really like the majority of the stories here. The writing is crisp and conveys a real emotional impact in the stories, the shocking sense of loss, of failure, of expectations and hope thwarted, of missed connections, and of senseless shocking violence encountered. There a great contrasts - between characters and their situations, present and past, etc., presented in the stories. Particular f...more
Cohesive. Compelling images from the rust belt. Unfortunately, this book is drowning in its heteronormative masculinity. For one thing, it needs a counterpart where women actually do things. Not a single woman in this book actually does anything other than have PIV intercourse with a man. Oh.. there is a bit of pregnant belly-rubbing and hanging of laundry on clotheslines. Right! Stereotypes of masculinity covered in this text include: fighting, wearing Italian shoes, drinking scotch, driving a...more
Jan 15, 2008 Katie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Human beings
Shelves: short-stories
If you want to know how to write a short story that knocks the socks off, go ahead and pick up this book. Keep in mind, you may want to read the stories over and over to see how he does it. This guy is amazing.

The stories focus on individuals who are hanging out in low places. The stories are precise, unpredictable, and lyrical. I am (so far) consistently surprised by these stories without feeling that the author had to push his characters into unnatural action.

His work is similar to Raymond Car...more
i just discovered this writer. he's from the midwest and there are a lot of rural and semi-rural settings--lakes, places featuring cornfields and ditches and newly constructed houses in the woods--that i totally relate to as i grew up in semi-rural wisconsin. but what's coolest about means is how interestingly dense his sentences are and how he moves around in his stories in time. he's experimental in a deep and subtle alice munro kind of way rather than a jonathan safran foer kind of way. his f...more
Tom Coiner
Aug 21, 2007 Tom Coiner rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: moderns
David Means is the greatest. Out of all the short stories I have read, by Roald Dahl, Raymond Carver, Dave Eggers, dozens of other writers, and countless series of Best American stories, David Means is the best.

This guy has only written three books and definitely hasn't gotten the attention he deserves. Buy his books, search for them on the web, take them out from the library, anything to give this great, hard-working writer the press he deserves.

If you have a story about how you don't want anyone to die anymore in your stories - it's a hint that maybe you should write stories about something else. First one is about a beating, second one's a flashback to a brother dying, third one's a little girl - sheesh, this is why I hate short stories. They just condense the tragedy to be consumed faster and you don't even care because you don't know the characters. I may or may not finish it.
Samuel Crenshaw
An incredible collection of short stories that captivate you with deep imagery and intriguing characters. This is simply a must read!
David Legault
Pretty good collection from one of my favorite short story writers, but it couldn't compare to "The Secret Goldfish."

Stories about the homeless men/train riding stories were standouts (the second half seemed to have some filler)
Benjamin Obler
I'll be adding a story from this collection to my fiction workshop at the Loft. Will reread the entire thing before July 2012. The collection has received much praise and some awards as well, and I believe it is well deserved.
Re-reading this one for about the third time now. The range of perspectives in these stories, sometimes even within a single story, such as the first one, is wide and deep.
uneven stories, some even slightly unhinged, but the good one or two is worth looking into
Sage Latorra
Each story was wonderful, but taken as a collection they borded on the repetitive.
Terri Klemetson
I'm went through a short stories phase, skimmed this pretty fast.
Sidik Fofana
SIX WORD REVIEW: It's more my own reading shortcomings.
Means somehow made death a motif.
One of my favorite books of all time.
Jan 04, 2008 Jay rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jan Hus
Frictive strip
Sep 27, 2007 Billy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People looking for a reminder of the unequal distribution of literary talent
Alexandra Wall
Alexandra Wall marked it as to-read
Jul 12, 2014
Giacomo De poli
Giacomo De poli marked it as to-read
Jul 02, 2014
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David Means (born 1961) is an American writer based in Nyack, New York. His short stories have appeared in many publications, including Esquire, The New Yorker, and Harper's. They are frequently set in the Midwest or the Rust Belt, or along the Hudson River in New York.
More about David Means...
The Secret Goldfish: Stories The Spot A Quick Kiss of Redemption and Other Stories The Knocking The Tree Line, Kansas, 1934

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