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A Man Jumps Out of an Airplane

4.01  ·  Rating Details ·  141 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
This is Barry Yourgrau's debut book, the one that put him on the literary map, where he remains a landmark of imaginative prowess.

In A Man Jumps Out of an Airplane, the author focuses his wide-awake subconscious mind on thematic standards--father, mother, lover, sex, the imagination itself--and recasts them into madcap parable, surrealistic fables, and grotesque fantasies.
Paperback, 160 pages
Published May 12th 1999 by Arcade Publishing (first published November 30th 1983)
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Glenn Russell
Oct 28, 2016 Glenn Russell rated it it was amazing

Barry Yourgrau, born in South Africa in 1949 and living in New York City for many, many years

A book of dozens and dozens of one and two page micro-fictions where you will encounter bizarre happenings of all varieties, casts, shapes and sizes: a man climbs inside a cow, gentlemen in tuxedos perch in a tree, a couple of girls are locked up in an aquarium, a man comes home to find his wife in bed with a squirrel, there’s a bathtub filled with rutabagas, it snowing in a living room, a man rents two
Oct 10, 2008 Chaz rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Short story surreal fantasy fiction fans
This is truly a fun/carnivallike collection of short surreal stories -- between 500 and about 1000 words each. Anyone looking for an escape from reality or a tool to guide your own daydreams will really enjoy this compilation. I kept thinking of these stories as a swim inside a Dali painting, interwoven with Phish soundscapes, Sesame Street ish characters who have Playboy tendencies.

There's some really interesting scenarios; a man goes inside of a cow on a bet -- a guy with a last cigarette on e
May 31, 2010 Suzanneyada rated it really liked it
Surreal short stories. And I mean short. Each one is anywhere from 1-4 pages long. But they go much deeper in their metaphors. A sampling of opening lines from the stories: "A man climbs into a cow on a bet." "It's snowing in the living room." "A man comes home and finds his wife in bed with a squirrel." "On the bus, I meet a guy who says his hobby is jails."

It's poetry and prose, fiction but more than fiction. It's a short, quick, trippy read. Though there's too many stories about naked girls t
Aug 24, 2008 Charlaralotte rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2008
I think these short short stories would make good songs. The Beatles could have used them for lyrics. Not sure they work so well as short short stories.

I did love "The Joke:" A mother and son both decide to wear disguises when they meet. And neither can understand why the other is looking so weird. It haunts their relationship forever.

Otherwise, I'd rather read something by Yourgrau that lasts a bit longer & develops into something substantial. This book wreaks of flippancy. Or maybe I'm ju
Jan 30, 2015 Dennis rated it liked it
Shelves: booze-n-bookclub
An unusual collection of short stories. I like stories that have a definite beginning, middle and end. Some of these stories met that criteria, others didn't but seemed like they could be the start of a longer story. Some of the more interesting ones were "Milk," "Domestic Farce," "On the Lake," and the very surreal story where the books title comes from "Soup Bone."
Jun 07, 2014 Brendan rated it it was amazing
A true masterpiece, this collection of flash fiction is like a smorgasbord of rich and exotic desserts, each sweeter and more colorful than the previous.

While absolutely absurdist in content, Mr. Yourgrau gives us a lot to ponder and analyze in this series of dream-like episodes. A true treasure that should be shared and savored.
Nov 17, 2008 Maryka rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: fiction
Barry Yourgrau writes down those dreams you forget when the alarm goes off. I love the
spareness of his style--most of these stories are a page to a page-and-a-half long--
and the weirdness of content. After reading a few, you easily slip into a slightly surreal dimension and its logic soon feels quite comfortable. It's the refreshing sorbet between
courses of standard fiction.
Dec 16, 2014 Alona rated it liked it
While these are all great stories, I think they would have appreciated more if I'd read them in college. Might have also stopped me from writing about 75% of what I wrote. I prefer his collection, The Sadness of Sex.
Dec 21, 2007 Hilary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like weird things
OMG, SO weird. It's like every weird dream you've ever had written down in detail. People made of snowballs, frogs getting back at you. A fun, light read -- moderately creepy. :)
Keith Davis
Nov 26, 2009 Keith Davis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yourgrau's minimalist stories read like transcribed dreams; like dreams they have their own internal logic while being completely surreal.
These stories remind me of snapshots that might be shared by Bukowski, if Bukowski was still twisted, but less of an asshole.
Kathryn Born
Jul 06, 2012 Kathryn Born rated it it was amazing
The greatest book of short stories I ever read. I used to study this book, reading it over and over, trying to figure out how to write like that.

Ashton Banker
Ashton Banker rated it it was amazing
Jan 16, 2015
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May 12, 2014
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Andersen Prunty rated it it was amazing
Apr 24, 2008
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Oct 01, 2007
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Jun 10, 2011
Kevin Toth
Kevin Toth rated it it was amazing
Mar 01, 2011
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Oct 25, 2008
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Nov 30, 2013
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Writer-performer Barry Yourgrau is author of a new memoir about clutter and hoarding, "Mess: One Man's Struggle to Clean Up His House and His Act."

Profile in New York Times: "A Hoarder's Tale of Redemption"

Barry's other books, mainly surreal brief tales such as "Wearing Dad's Head" and "A Man Jumps Out of An Airplane," are considered classics of short-short fiction. He
More about Barry Yourgrau...

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