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Wearing Dad's Head

4.14  ·  Rating Details ·  147 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
Barry Yourgrau's imagination makes critics reach: Fellini? Kafka? Freud in a funny hat? Yourgrau is a fantasist like no other: his stories run brief and hallucinatorily vivid in style, heart-jarring and intimate in emotion. As Susan Cheever puts it: ""Odd, true, and thoroughly hilarious.""

Here is Barry Yourgrau's celebrated second book, which focuses his transfiguring surr

Paperback, 224 pages
Published May 12th 1999 by Arcade Publishing (first published 1987)
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Glenn Russell
May 09, 2014 Glenn Russell rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books

Back nearly 30 years ago when I first read this book of Barry Yourgrau’s collection of outlandishly imaginative surreal, fabulist micro-fictions, I thought his writing was too good to be true. I just did complete another rereading and I can assure you – Barry’s book is, in fact, too good to be true. But, thanks to the blessings of the gods of our childhood dreams and our weird, hallucinogenic visions, we can read and appreciate his stories as well as marvel at his ability to turn a vivid, highly
The next morning, at dawn, I'm led out in manacles into the chill air and up the wooden steps erected under the jail wall. My knees keep starting to sag. I recognize my mother's large, festive sun hat in the throng of bloodthirsty early-risers. A manicured hand waves enthusiastically to me. I acknowledge it in miserable embarrassment, wiggling my fingers in front of my thighs. "Give 'em hell" I hear her cry. "Mom, come on -" I murmur. The hangman raises the noose. I feel its dreadful weight touc ...more
Sep 09, 2012 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh my lord, what a beautiful work of art. Hilarious, grotesque and poetic. One of those gems I tripped over in a used bookstore. If the cover (not the stupid one with the headless hat), first story, and title didn't sell me immediately (they did), then the last sentence of the author's bio on the back clinched it: "His reading act, performed at all the right Manhattan art haunts and beyond, blends literary stand-up comedy and surreal oedipal drama." WTF? Amazing! Also, the quote from Roy Blount, ...more
Bud Smith
Dec 27, 2015 Bud Smith rated it really liked it
weird stories, some of them very short and others even shorter than that and other ones even weirder than the weird one. Most about mom and dad. sometimes mom and dad would turn into glorious animals and it'd be wonderful and profound and I'd say 'holy smokes' to myself and start reading the next one and there would be mom and dad again and this time they'd turn into butterflies or silverware or dad would get his head cut off and mom would cough rain and after awhile I was like 'i wish this guy ...more
Jan 15, 2012 Jorgen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I love this book!

I love that Barry is able to take the hidden impulses and embarrassments of everyday life and make them fantastic and hilarious.

I love his way of just starting a story in the middle in a way that let's the reader know exactly what's going on and where you are and what crazy rules the world has w/o going through as many words of exposition as the entire rest of the story.

For example, the story "Pirates" (my favorite), starts thusly

I am taken prisoner by pirates. They put me in ir
Astonishing collection of surrealist short (and short-short) stories, usually told in first-person present.
Janis Minton
Jun 30, 2009 Janis Minton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Janis by: Doug Dutton
Extraordinary collection of short stories. Yourgrau is an alarming, exhilarating, hallucinatory tour de force, an uncmmon diagnostician of the curiosities of the human heart.
Dave Cullen
Jun 01, 2009 Dave Cullen rated it it was amazing
What an imagination. (The title is literal, not figurative.) A delightful read. There is nothing like this.

And it really develops as it goes, too.
Emily Detrick
Sep 26, 2008 Emily Detrick rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Emily by: aaron craker
I have never read anything that is more like dreaming while awake and conscious.
tom bomp
Nov 03, 2013 tom bomp rated it liked it
The best stories are generally the longer ones. A lot of the shorter ones either feel too ridiculous for no reason or just aren't really that interesting. There are quite a few cool ideas though and when he stretches out his development of the ideas and relations between the characters are pretty nice. In general the mood is nice and given that the stories come pretty thick and fast you're never really left stuck on a crappy idea. There's too much that's pretty eh to give it a high score but if ...more
Dec 21, 2008 Kate rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
Very weird and not in a good way. I've had this book on my shelves for a long time - it has a print date of 1987. Probably then, this book of very short stories was cutting edge and hip. Sadly for the writer, they didn't age well. It was a chore to get through them. I'd give it a pass.
Mar 29, 2007 Dave marked it as to-read
Carol recomended this book.
Apr 16, 2016 JAMIE rated it it was amazing
Intriguing from start to finish. I love how the story is also told in short stories. Great read!
I Watts
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Writer-performer Barry Yourgrau is author of "A Man Jumps Out of an Airplane: Stories" (new edition, May '17). His other books of surreal brief tales include "Wearing Dad's Head," "Haunted Traveller," and "The Sadness of Sex," in whose movie version he starred.

Audio of story, "Honky-Tonk,"" from "A Man Jumps Out of an Airplane" is on youtube:

Barry is also
More about Barry Yourgrau...

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