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McSweeney's #18 (McSweeney's Quarterly Concern #18)

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  385 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
McSweeney's began in 1998 as a literary journal, edited by Dave Eggers, which published only works rejected from other magazines. But after the first issue, the journal began to publish pieces written with McSweeney's in mind. Soon after, McSweeney's attracted works from some of the finest writers in the country, including David Foster Wallace, Ann Cummins, Rick Moody, Hei ...more
Hardcover, 200 pages
Published December 8th 2005 by McSweeney's (first published January 15th 2005)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Aug 13, 2007 Deepthi rated it liked it
Despite the fatiguing effect of the ever-present "we" and present tense used in most things McSweeney, I still enjoy reading the shorts. This collection, which came with the delightful Wolphin #1 (check out "The Delicious" PLEASE), is the usual assortment of eccentric and poetic prose with the occasional reference to NPR programming (it's an incestuous group, no?) in the mix.

Here's a quick rundown with my preferences:

"The Stepfather" by Chris Adrian
Sort of an adult Lemony Snicket story. Kept my
Jul 05, 2008 Jaimie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves short stories.
Recommended to Jaimie by: Timothy
Shelves: reviewed
If you have, through some terrible oversight or tragic turn of events, never considered getting a subscription to McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, may I heartily suggest to you this very moment that it is more than a merely good idea, and that it is in fact (and not merely in verisimilitude) one of the best ideas you could ever have, -- even if you are suffering from yaws, which, rumor has it along the grapevine (as whispered in the avocado tree [as suggested amongst the flute-like staffs {staves? ...more
Mar 28, 2008 Clark rated it liked it
This was my first McSweeney's and I thought it was a great place to start. There were some wonderful standouts like Chris Adrian's "The Stepfather" (a smartly written satire of the Bush presidency), Adam Levin's "Hot Pink", Joe Meno's "People are becoming clouds" and Joyce Carol Oates's "Bad Habits". Edmund White's "My Hustlers" was a real low point as it confused descriptions of an alternative sexual lifestyle with interesting story and Alan Ackerman's "No Cry of Distress in Our Streets" was al ...more
Dec 31, 2010 Laura rated it liked it
I enjoyed most of the stories, even if few of them really entranced me. I enjoyed Oates' story; but I love her. I think I'd like to read a Roddy Doyle book, after the taste we got in his short, New Boy. I also thought that Hot Pink by Adam Levin was really cool, a touch of Burgess in the colloquial prose. The final stand out to me was Yannick Murphy... I will be looking for her novels. I love that McSweeney's mails me stuff I may never have thought to read previous to their packages. :)
Apr 17, 2008 nicole rated it liked it
Shelves: 2008
took me FOREVER to finish. i got stuck on adam levin's hot pink, which then wound up being my favorites. i stammered and stalled my way through the second half, eyeing my copy of the corrections (which i am holding on to for the next reading drought). i loved joe meno's story about the wife who turns into a cloud. it made me think of all the things i loved about the boy detctive fails, which i read exactly this time last year. if i didn't have so many other books on deck, i'd re-read it.
Jan 14, 2008 Rosey rated it it was ok
I really enjoyed the first story in this collection. There were a couple others here and there I could get into. Some I found utterly pointless. What are ya gonna do? You can't please everyone. Nonetheless, I've never been able to get into Joyce Carol Oates' short stories before, and I actually liked her story in here, so maybe I'll try a novel and see what all the hype is about... Overall, it is an okay collection... maybe I'm just not into stories that go essentially nowhere.
Apr 03, 2008 Jesse rated it liked it
The usual mix of inventive and wearisome. Though it maybe devalued Egan's "The General" as a beautifully satirical story about the later career about a third world dictator, I dug Daniel Orozco's "Somoza's Dream." Joe Meno's "People Are Becoming Clouds" seems like it'll stick, too. Others, who knows?
Lynne Wright
Nov 01, 2014 Lynne Wright rated it really liked it
"And did I kiss her then? Did Nancy Christamesta close her eyes and tilt her head back, away from the moon? Did she open her mouth? Did she open it just a little, just enough so I could feel her breath on my chin before she would kiss me and then did I finally kiss her?

Fuck you."

Nov 21, 2007 Kiersten rated it liked it
This one has some good stories in it. I particularly remember one that I think was called "Hot Pink" or something like that. It was just about some guys walking around a city, it might have been Chicago. I remember someone carrying a bag of oranges. I obviously don't remember it "particularly" well, like I said. It was a good story, whatever it was called.
Jan 01, 2008 Jessica rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Although I enjoyed many of the stories in this issue, overall I did not find this crop as wonderful as other McSweeney's pieces I have read. I liked "The Stepfather" by Chris Adrien, "New Boy" by Roddy Doyle, "My Hustlers" by Edmund White, "Happiness Reminders" by Rachel Haley Himmelheber, and "People Are Becoming Clouds" by Joe Meno.
Aug 06, 2009 Kirsten rated it it was ok
Shelves: short-stories
Happiness Reminders by Rachel Himmelheber
The rest...not so much. These issues are kind of like pop-rocks - infectious, and they're exciting the first whirl-around, but inevitably get boring when the novelty is gone. At first, I really wanted a full subscription, but I think I might satiate myself by buying occasional issues that feature writers I already know I like.
Jan 27, 2008 Maggie rated it really liked it
Great collections of short stories...this is the mcsweeney's issue that grabbed me...two stories, people are becoming clouds and deb olin unferth...first one is tender with great imagery and deb olin unferth just makes you feel good about yourself and makes me laugh...
Dec 30, 2008 Sarah rated it really liked it
I like this issue a lot. It had some really good stuff and some really weird stuff. I think some of the weird stuff was written so the author could feel smarter than the reader. They failed, but it was still entertaining.
Jul 08, 2009 Sean rated it did not like it
This one looks to have been on my shelf for close to five years. Really, McSweeney's used to be good. This one is terrible. They seem to select stories based on how pretentious, affected and fake the voices of the writers are. I couldn't even finish half of these.
Izetta Autumn
Feb 29, 2008 Izetta Autumn rated it really liked it
Shelves: shortstory
What a fantastic gathering of short stories - inventive, creative, and truly lovely writing. In a publishing world full of not so very good writing, and accented with less than innovative or interesting plots, McSweeney's Issue 18 highlights some fo the very best talent.
Jun 19, 2009 Gareth rated it really liked it
short stories for hipsters and poncey fans of "literature". Some great ones, some strange ones I didn't understand, and a couple of crap ones. Still worth reading (especially because McSweeney's were having a sale when I bought this for $2).
Aug 06, 2007 D'Anne rated it it was ok
Every issue of McSweeney's takes me forever to get though - in a good way. This was not the best issue, I'm afraid. A handful of good stories, even more okay stories. Nothing really sucked per se, but nothing made me want to shout it from the highest hill.
Nate D
May 23, 2008 Nate D rated it liked it
Some really excellent short fiction here, particularly Chris Adrian's "The Stepfather", "Hot Pink", "My Hustlers", and "Bad Habits". "The Railroad Nurse" tantalized with a nice twist and loss of context, but barely did anything with its excellent setup.
Oct 24, 2008 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Definitely one of the better McSweeney's, there were no duds in this one. Usually there are one or two stories in these collections that I will read two pages of and then skip, but I really enjoyed everything in this one.
Karen Shea
Jan 25, 2015 Karen Shea rated it really liked it
This book quietly centered around dad issues, but if it was marketed as such it would seem contrived, which it's not.
Jul 01, 2009 Karen rated it really liked it
Favs: The Stepfather/Chris Adrian, Hot Pink/Adam Levin, Bad Habits/Joyce Carol Oates, The Railway Nurse/Nelly Reifler
Oct 03, 2008 Claire rated it liked it
Loved loved loved "People Are Becoming Clouds" and "Hot Pink." Can't reccomend them enough. The rest were alright.
Apr 07, 2010 Yuliya rated it liked it
so far happiness reminders and my hustlers i liked the most... maybe bc both of them are about gay issues?
Jul 08, 2009 Traci added it
Purchased in my McSweeney's Having A Book Sale Extravaganza, which only served to remind me I have no time to read books. Hooray for short stories!
Jan 23, 2014 Mike rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This is a great issue. I found three new authors I like plus the three or four stories I loved by authors I already knew.
Jul 07, 2015 Steve rated it liked it
I'm a pretty big fan of most anything McSweeney's related but this collection of stories seemed a bit flat compared to others in the series.
Aug 31, 2009 Lee rated it liked it
Hm, done reading this...I want to make note of the highlights but I don't have the book with me; to-do later.
Tim rated it really liked it
Apr 12, 2012
Tiah Keever
Tiah Keever rated it really liked it
Apr 26, 2009
Ryan Chapman
Ryan Chapman rated it liked it
Mar 05, 2007
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Dave Eggers is the author of ten books, including most recently Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever?, The Circle and A Hologram for the King, which was a finalist for the 2012 National Book Award. He is the founder of McSweeney’s, an independent publishing company based in San Francisco that produces books, a quarterly journal of new writing (McSweeney’s Quarterly ...more
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Other Books in the Series

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