Half in Love: Stories
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Half in Love: Stories

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  577 ratings  ·  75 reviews
Lean and controlled in their narration, abundant and moving in their effects, Maile Meloy's stories introduce a striking talent. Most are set in the modern American West, made vivid and unexpected in Meloy's unsentimental vision; others take us to Paris, wartime London, and Greece, with the same remarkable skill and intuition.
In "Four Lean Hounds, ca. 1976," two couples...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published June 17th 2003 by Scribner (first published July 8th 2002)
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This fine collection of stories is set mostly in Montana and were originally published in periodicals such as The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, and The Ontario Review. Many have the sharply detailed yet emotionally elusive quality of New Yorker fiction, for example the first two stories, "Tome" and "Four Lean Hounds, ca. 1976."

In the first, a lawyer must deal with a disabled client who takes hostage a young employee of the state agency that has handled his case. The ironic details...more
I will be honest and tell you that I requested books by Maile Meloy from my library because I adore Colin Meloy's singing and lyrics. Even his banter with the crowd during a concert is amusing and endearing.

Anyway, uh, right, Maile Meloy. Usually I look forward to short stories, but after the first two or three in a book, they all go downhill. The first story, "Tome", was about a lawyer who went to help her client in a hostage situation. The second was a teeny bit contrived, about a man who rea...more
Ally Armistead
"Half in Love" will always remain one of my absolute most-favorite short story collections. Ranging from WW II England to Montana ranch country to American suburbia, "Half in Love" explores just that, the nature of love between strangers, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, fathers and sons.

Of all the stories, the most powerful (for this reader anyway) is "Red," the story of an American soldier in WW II England who is so desperate for warmth and beauty that he tries to "extract" some mea...more
These stories are not as refined or as perfect as Meloy's novels, but they are just as beautiful. Almost all of them take place in Montana or other similar barren, solitary locations; all are haunting and somehow frightening. She is so spare, so simple in her writing, but in a way that makes her so very powerful. This woman knows how to make you FEEL it in your gut. It's incredible, really.
"She is beautiful, and sparkles like jewels when she is wearing none: skin like gold, white teeth and clear blue eyes."

"Sometimes my son has a face like a storm, and then it clears, and again he is the most attractive child I have ever seen."
There was a time when I enjoyed stark, skeletal stories like these; now I find them more withholding than "lean and composed." But that's just me.
Meloy makes me brave about my own writing. She writes elegant single scenes that contain a whole world's worth of story just under the surface. Somebody told me once that single-scene stories never get published and I wish I'd known about Meloy back then--because she does it so well. I had to return to the book to the library, so apologies for not naming the specific story here, but she tells one story about a couple that goes to ask a man if they can have some sheet rock from his property. In t...more
I'm guess I'm a sucker for stories that an a melancoly undertone to them and all of these stories do. Meloy, sister of The Decemberists' lead, can capture that feeling, clearly and intensely, in the stories she writes. And, the stories in this collection focus on thoughts, feelings, reactions, a very interior focus. The problem with the stories comes in exactly how to end them. For me, only a few of the endings works naturally given the flow of the story's specific details, focus. "Aqua Boulevar...more
Lori Weir
Fourteen great stories mostly set in the American ranching west with female protagonists. Each story is raw with emotion and really allows you to understand the character's thought process in a short space of time. Meloy never shies away from the gruesome side of life, the natural turn of events, telling things the way they are, in a way that most people would run away from. However, Meloy does this in such a way that you cannot help but turn the next page and see what she has in store for you n...more
Joan Colby
A remarkable collection of short stories. Meloy is not afraid to exhibit her versatility; though many of the stories take place in the west, the voices and situations vary with narrators of either sex and widely divergent backgrounds. Meloy treats her subjects with subtlety but unlike so many other current short fiction writers, she invests her tales with moral centers, which is not to say that she is a moralist, far from it, but that she sees her fiction as having a core question, rather than m...more
Reading Maile Meloy makes me feel like I can write. Not because writing is easy - it isn't - and not because her stories are overly simple. Instead, reading Maile Meloy reminds me that we all have stories to tell. They don't have to be profound. They don't have to be complex. They only have to be true, in the sense that in their retelling, they are faithful to what it was we experienced or witnessed, no more, no less. Like 'lagom' - which I feel like Meloy has incorporated a lot of in these stor...more
(Short story collection) Not my favorite Maile Meloy, but I still like it. This collection is full of stories that pack and emotional punch.
Lindsey Kate Sloan
Certainly as solid as her latest collection. The stories in "Half in Love" are subtly heartbreaking. The sentiment is so well done that it almost blindsides you; refer to "Kite Whistler Aquamarine" for the saddest line about a horse you will ever imbibe. The Montana stories in this collection bring to mind the Proulx collections. Favorite story: "Last of the White Slaves", for the line: "So, no love to you except the old love, and that was real enough."

A close second from "Thirteen & A Half"...more
Leslie Jamison
I should start by saying that I genuinely respect Maile Meloy’s prose and love her wisdom about people in general (it seems) and her characters in particular. That said, I feel like her later stories are better than her first ones. What was razor in Both Ways felt vaguer in Half in Love. Characters faded into the extremity of their situations, winter storms and rugged plains. Some set-ups (the disgruntled man takes a hostage, the dead man was cheating on his wife) felt overly conceived of and th...more
I usually don’t enjoy short stories because it feels like there isn’t enough there to be able to really sink into them, but that isn’t the case for Half in Love. Though in the short story format Maile Meloy must sketch her characters quickly, she is so good at conjuring fully formed people that almost from the first paragraph of most of these stories I felt that I both knew the characters well and wanted to hear more about them. Her settings, from the ranches of Montana to wartime Europe, are ev...more
Maile Meloy is an amazing short story writer and she owns Montana as much as any living writer owns any other land. The first five stories in this book fit with the best of her work in Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It amongst the greatest in modern fiction. Meloy falls off a bit in her journeys to Europe in this book, and then recovers with the haunting "Paint".

I've now read all four of Meloy's adult fiction books, and with one 5-star and two 4-stars amongst them I will certainly read a fifth...more
I don't have high expectations, really. I mean, look at my track record...I'm easy to please. Yet, I could not find one story in this collection that I liked. Although beautifully written, each story is about as interesting as watching paint dry. Also, I don't always need to have a happy ending, but I do require purpose in a story. A reason to turn the page. Instead, what I got were sad, random glimpses into people's lives for no apparent reason than to show that's it's tough all over.
Maile Meloy writes haunting short fiction about human frailty, for lack of a better term. Each of these stories was about a connection that just wasn't quite made by characters who weren't quite present to each other. Many of the stories refer back to Montana in a way that I like, as in the other collection I read. However, Meloy may fall into the same category as Jhumpa Lahiri for me, a brilliant author whose work is just a little too real and sad for regular reading.
Un fantástico primer libro de cuentos. Ninguno de estos cuentos, sin embargo, se acerca a la maestría de los incluidos en "Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It", y hubo momentos en que francamente sentí que los finales podrían haber sido mejores, o quizá es que me sentí tan embebido en cada una de estas historias que no me parecía posible que tuvieran que terminar a la siguiente página. Después de estos dos volúmenes de cuentos es bastante seguro que me leeré las novelas.
3.5 stars.
I love short stories, so I wanted to like this book more than I actually did.
Some of the stories grabbed my attention and heartstrings immediately and I didn't want them to end. Others, not so much.
I think that I also had a hard time skipping around so much. If all the short stories had been held in the American west, I think I would have appreciated the book more. I found it hard to skip around the globe quite so much.
This is a middling book. None of the stories was bad, but nothing was super spectacular, either. I have a feeling that a few months from now, I won't remember this book anymore--though I'm not sad to have read it.
This is the story collection of Maile Meloy's to read. Each story has a compelling plot as well as characters who are fully realized, and one can imagine how the rest of their lives turn out after only the brief glimpse these stories allow. The prose is crisp and lyrical, and the author needs only a few words to break your heart. Each story seemed even better than the last, though all are stunning on their own.
I really liked these stories, and so read Meloy's two novels, which were hugely disappointing. The novels are a degraded version of Anne Tyler- dysfunctional family's drama with the specters of incest and religion in the air, and an Americana backdrop to it all. Unoriginal concept, unoriginal execution. But I highly recommend the short stories. If you like Anne Tyler, you may like the novels.
Chad Walker
About half of these are excellent, amazing stories. But a lot of what makes them great - namely, their uncanny evocation of a particular landscape, wherein seemingly everyday people and situations are made dark and strange - is also really fragile. So sometimes it comes off, sometimes it doesn't. I think she's gotten more consistent since this one was published.
I would give this a 3 1/2. I didn't think all the stories were as good as her other book "Both Ways Is The Only Way I Want It", but some were really good and the rest were good. She is an excellent short story author. Some of her stories were set in Montana, some in Paris, some somewhere in the American West. Most are about relationships, all very moving.
Maile Meloy is a lush writer; her work is vivid, evocative, and thoughtful. While her collection has ups and downs, it's a solid first effort with at least 2–3 truly wonderful, write-home-about-it stories. The others are nice, but not remarkable. A great plane read, cafe read, or rainy day read, it's easy to pick this up and put it back down.
Adele Stratton
Wow. Not sure how I stumbled on this writer, probably through a meandering on Amazon.com. I don’t remember enjoying a set of short stories more. With incredibly few words she brings to life human stories; with every single one I was engaged and engrossed by the first paragraph. Absolutely uncanny. I will read more by Meloy soon.
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Jun 27, 2007 Jessie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Western Story Lovers
Shelves: own
Half In Love: Stories is a nice show of effort, but it never really delivers in the end. Malie Meloy uses beautful metaphors and detailed descriptions of time and place, but they never really wrap up all together or flow very well. Each story leaves you hanging, but not in a very good way.
Erin and Jim
This is the second collection of short stories that I have read by Maile Meloy. She writes very brief stories in this collection that feel almost like the beginnings of promising novellas. I particularly enjoyed "Garrison Juncton," "The Last of the White Slaves," and "Kite Whistler Aquamarine."
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Maile Meloy was born in Helena, Montana, in 1972. A Family Daughter is her third book. Her short stories have been published in The New Yorker and The Paris Review. Her first story collection, Half in Love, received the Rosenthal Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters , the John C. Zacharis Award from Ploughshares, and the PEN/Malamud Award. Her first novel, Liars and Saint...more
More about Maile Meloy...
The Apothecary (The Apothecary, #1) Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It Liars and Saints The Apprentices (The Apothecary, #2) A Family Daughter

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