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Black Tickets
 
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Jayne Anne Phillips
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Black Tickets

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  661 ratings  ·  55 reviews
Jayne Anne Phillips's reputation-making debut collection paved the way for a new generation of writers. Raved about by reviewers and embraced by the likes of Raymond Carver, Frank Conroy, Annie Dillard, and Nadine Gordimer, Black Tickets now stands as a classic.

With an uncanny ability to depict the lives of men and women who rarely register in our literature, Phillips writ

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Hardcover, 265 pages
Published September 28th 1979 by Delacorte Press (first published 1979)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,277)
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Teresa
Ground-breaking, brilliant, masterful.

I'm sure many writers have been inspired by the stories in this collection. Phillips published these stories in the 70's, the style of which now seem to be all over the internet. I have to admit that there were two stories that befuddled me at their ends (as a lot of these short-short stories in general seem to do to me) but I still think that's my lack of perception and not the author's fault.

Two of the stories also seem to have the same female lead charact...more
Metaxy99
If someone asked me to describe Flannery O'Connor as music, I'd refer them to classic blues and hard-edged folk like Son House and Leadbelly and early Dylan.

If someone asked me to describe Jayne Anne Phillips' Black Tickets as music, I'd sit her down with a playlist that included a narrow band of blues/post-blues tunes infused with rock and punk, like Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac doing I Loved Another Woman , Catpower singing Robert Johnson's Come on in My Kitchen , PJ Harvey doing Dylan's Highw...more
tee
I live to find books like this. I don't know what I want to do with my life other than find those books that make you vibrate with excitement - this was one of those books. Sometimes it feels like I'll never find another book that hits me hard, ever again and then I do and my faith is restored. The only reason I want to live to be old, old, old is so that I might find every good book in the world and experience what I felt with reading this, it was amazing.

Some of the stories lost me but I think...more
Laura Toto
If anyone is interested where poetry meets prose, this is where it begins. Astonishingly forward and musical. The beat, the hum of her writing, it is like the beating of one's heart.
Tara
I'm embarrassed to say I had not read the complete book before, just the shorter stories in various anthologies. While I had always enjoyed her brief ones, I was blown away by the longer ones. I can only imagine why this book is not taught more in Lit classes, perhaps because of the very gritty content, but it should be. It's a real lesson on what can be done with the English language and with narrative voice. I was less entranced by the title story than by some of the others, such as Country. S...more
David
Ok. another rule-breaker.. read this one AGES ago, but I just added Christie Malry's Own Double entry, because it was one of the few books that made me laugh out loud (and to cry as well), and on that flip side, I add, Jayne Anne Phillips's short story collection, Black Tickets.
As the book-track of my life goes this is a huge milestone. As I recall, I stumbled upon this as a junior in high school, i think I had just gone to a reading by Harlan Ellison (who! a story for another time!), and there...more
Kirsten
This collection walks a tightrope wire of dense, lyrically visceral prose. As such, it is a bit uneven. Certain stories sing with a meld of memory and present, others seem too unmoored. Many of the stories are so brief that they seem to be portraits: a quick, charcoal sketch, drawn in furious haste. I have mixed feelings on whether or not they are successful.

Still, I give this collection 4 stars because when it works, it really works, and I found myself provoked and challenged, even by the lesse...more
Richard Thomas
So thrilled to have found JAP. She certainly gives Mary Gaitskill a run for her money. Dark, sexy, surreal stories, this was a real joy to read. Also, this must have been some of the first flash fiction, back in 1975. Great collection, off to read more of her work.
Owen
Great collection of short stories that exhibit impressive economy. Sparse punctuation, no quotes, plenty of fragments. Often stories lasted no more than a three paragraphs over two pages. A must-read for any one interested in the art of conveying more with less.
Patrice
Hard, hard short stories written by a native West Virginian. They speak to the lives of our most disenfranchised and they are disturbing. I will probably re-read at some point because I could sense an arc to the stories that may merit further exploration.
Adam
Some excellent, gritty short stories, that, unfortunately, tend to blur together a bit. "Snow" is possibly one of my top ten short stories of all time. Of all time.
Laura
I got this off some essential reading list from either WSJ or 'New York' Magazine. . .it completely blew me away. Her writing is just amazing - very descriptive, almost poetic but very dark at the same time.

These are thematically linked short stories and vignettes; a look into the lives of those going through some (generally dark or less pleasant) transformation. Yet most of them are hopeful, and she's a really great storyteller.

This is a really great read; I'd say it should be on college readin...more
Lynne Favreau
Jayne Anne Phillip’s collection of short stories Black Tickets were touted as “original” and “the best since Eudora Welty” and “early genius” upon first publication in 1979.

In 2008, I didn’t find them to be all that compelling or original, but that may be a sign of the times. I just don’t believe that if these were published today for the first time they’d inspire the same accolades. And isn't that the test of a classic, standing the test of time?

The use of shock and rawness as a literary devic...more
Ryan Werner
Aside from "1934" and "El Paso" (which I add begrudgingly, as it did almost the same thing as "1934" except poorly), Black Tickets is a series of eye-rolling, "look at me using the word 'cunt' in the 70's" imagery stacked up on top of itself for no apparent reason. When Phillips can avoid talking about licking someone's thighs or wafting in the stars or grinding inside another being, she's not a bad writer. However, even when those moments come about, she more often than not ends up falling into...more
Lucynell
Disappointing. Vague and ineffective. It seems like a case of style over substance. Style's not particularly engrossing either. It was highly praised on its publication but it just didn't do anything for me. Two stories though standout. Lechery and Stripper are rough cut diamonds. Lush and bleak and very lonely in this collection's mediocre company.
Ellen
The first half of this was slow-going for me (aside from "Home"); and I struggled with what sort of rating to give this book.
With some of the stories ("Lechery," "Black Tickets," "El Paso," and many of the short-shorts) a lot of the action seemed buried under names and weirdness and poetry; I've seen this done in more recent collections as well, but somehow better?
However, things did improve later on, "Gemcrack" was written in the same style as the aforementioned stories but the elements came...more
Emer Martin
I read this book so many years ago and I still think about it today. Voices from the edge of America. Wonderful.
Amanda Gugliotta degeorge
the stories were too cryptic (& dated) for my understanding.
Tereneh
Stunning so good it hurts. The pieces are shocking, full of life, reality, grit and beauty.
Megan Jones
This was recommended to me by my mentor after telling her I liked dark stories, and Joyce Carol Oates. Her suggestion was spot on - I loved the subtle darkness within each story and the original formatting. Because l actually finished this book over a month ago, I can't remember the specifics I wanted to write in my review. I just remember thoroughly enjoying this work!
Erica Freeman

Phillips is one of the authors I looked to when developing my portfolio of creative writing for my undergrad thesis; and this is one of the books that helped my shape my love of short stories, prose pieces and paragraphs.

Her style completely drew me in...her subject matter reminds me of Oates...what is real and unfortunate about being human.
Floyd
A dazzling first story collection, shocking when it was published. Not all of the stories have stood the test of time (some of them are mere vignettes, others are poetic narrative exercises that fail to gel into something complete)but the best of them are the unmistakeable work of a bold young artist trying her range.
Kayl Parker
These are hard stories to read, about the forgotten, the lonely, the confused that society, and sometimes literature, often passes over. It's not an easy read, but it is a very American ballad. It's not fun all the time, but I couldn't put it down.

It's not easy, but it's worth it. I promise.
Bobby
I really liked some stories, but couldn't get into others. Stylistically, it was inconsistent, and I was turned off when the stories read more like dense poetry than prose. I was also not so enamored with the brief, one or two page portraits interspersed throughout the book.
Ruth Mair
I felt that the main strength of Black Tickets was that the small vignette-like stories felt so true to life. Although with some of them they felt too short, too long, or too vague, so many stood out positively that I really enjoyed the book.
roberrrrrrrrrrrrrrrt
this is a fantastic read. the prose is absolutely amazing. a collection of short stories that lead the reader by way of language instead of action. an impressionistic, magical-realism book. extremely poetic. a good read while high.
Julene
I read this when it first came out and highly recommend it for anyone interested in short stories that deal with sexuality. It is gritty and shows the street life of the underworld. It is up there on my list with Mary Gaitskills Bad Girls.
Kristina
The shorter stories in this collection are stronger. The longer ones seem almost too long, as though Phillips begins to ramble, and I am left wanting more of the tighter, controlled language she achieved in the shorter pieces.
Kim Loughran
I learned the name of a writer I had never heard about. I found this book in the exchange bin at the library. Now I own her Machine Dreams, pounced on at a book sale. It's terse and quirky.
Casey
I loved the sentences (or, frequently, the fragments) in this book. Very intense read, though, so I was glad to have the break between stories. I like the tiny stories especially.
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Jayne Anne Phillips is an American novelist and short story writer. Phillips graduated from West Virginia University, earning a B.A. in 1974, and later graduated from the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa.

Phillips has held teaching positions at several colleges and universities, including Harvard University, Williams College, and Boston University. She is currently Professor of Engl...more
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