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McSweeney's #15 (McSweeney's Quarterly Concern #15)

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  314 ratings  ·  26 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 January 25th 2005 by McSweeney's
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(showing 1-30 of 568)
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So it turns out I'm not that into 90% Icelandic fiction. The non-Icelandic stories were great. Before you get all up in arms and call me anti-Icelandic I would just like to point out that I have several Bjork albums.
Charlotte Kartz
Not my type of book. Some of the short stories were interesting, but i also found some of them hard to get through, and it almost made me want to skip the short story because it lacked my attention....
The second half of this issue of McSweeney's is all Icelandic fiction. I liked getting to know a (very) little about Iceland's literary culture and style, and my interest is piqued. I'd love to read more by these authors.
Otherwise, we have the typical high-quality writing and beautiful book design I've come to expect from McSweeney's. Sure, there are stand-out stories, and subtler ones, but no real duds here. Short fiction is so refreshing sometimes.

I really am just a pretentious McSweeney's f
My interest in this installment of McSweeney’s was mainly for the contemporary Icelandic literature, of which there are about 150 pages here--including both novel excerpts and short stories. Unfortunately, none of it is especially memorable, and a few of the longer pieces so bored me that I didn’t finish them.

However, three pieces were of moderate interest; that is, the stories were very nearly… about something! They at least had a strong scenario at the back of them to give your imagination so
I'm finding McSweeneys perfect for BART riding. Each story lasts from two to four rides, and there's not the anxiety of where I left off and how much rereading needs to take place to catch up, because short stories are so, well, short. It's been a while since the short story genre appealed to me, but now that I'm back in a commutery lifestyle, they are back to being perfect. Commutery in the sense that someone else is doing the steering. Which tells you nothing about the stories and more about m ...more
Heather Pagano
Exactly what I'm looking for out of a McSweeney's issue- every story was vivid and memorable. Not that I liked each and every story, but they all grabbed my attention and gave me to a unique experience or perspective, and many characters or situations still pop up in my mind weeks later.
I remember feeling worse about this issue after finishing it than I do now. The second half (the Icelandic fiction half) dragged a lot more than the first half. It was very uneven and the best Icelandic stories were still slow starters. Still, "America", "Fridrik and the Eejit" and "My Room" were excellent. The American half was similarly uneven. "Manifesto" might be my least favorite piece in any McSweeney's. Blech. However, "A Precursor of the Cinema" was haunting and gorgeously wrought. I was ...more
Richard Jespers
In spite of the obvious level of talent, the work largely seems average or good at best. One example is “Country Underwater,” an excellent story by Kiara Brinkman.
Like any collection of short stories from multiple authors, this one was a mixed bag, but I did learn that Icelandic authors are not ones I will be seeking out in the future. This issue redeems itself with a few standouts that I think I particularly appreciated because it's been so long since I've read a truly imaginative story. Steven Millhauser's A Precurser of the Cinema was an engaging and creative read, as was the last story, excerpted from LoveStar, by Icelandic author Andri Snær Magnason. ...more
This edition of McSweeney's featured my first published short story in many years. MIDNIGHT is a satiric and very sanguinary parable about an imagined meeting between a trade unionist and Joseph Stalin. But its political commentary is about the rough equivalence in terms of motives and methods between the extreme right and the extreme left. The conjuring tricks of the Commintern and the Hoover Institution are not that different. It's ironic that this story appears in the "Icelandic Issue" consid ...more
Paul McCann
At this point I'm figuring out how to read these things. I stopped reading a selection from a novel called "Uninvited" - just a mess. I barely finished the story about an underground room.

The first story, "Precursor to the Cinema" by Steven Millhauser, was a standout, as was "Interference" from /LoveStar/ by Magnason. /Nerve City/, another selection from an Icelandic novel, was also one of the better ones in this collection.
Interesting collection... half of the book was the traditional mix of authors and the other half all authors from Iceland. The Iceland half felt foreign in some ways, although I'm sure most of that was my knowing their source. I liked the folktale quality to some of the stories and some were the usual McSweeney's fare and fit right in.
Many of the stories were good, but I only really loved two: "A Precursor of the Cinema" and "Uninvited". It gets an extra star for making me think about the concept of the citizen artist--as described in the intrduction to the Icelandic half of the book.
Oct 03, 2007 Molly marked it as to-read
I bought this at Powells in Portland, and still haven't read it. An entire issue on Icelandic modern literature, which is pretty cool if you ask me--darkness, madness, drinking, violence. All Laxness wrote about was sheep.
It's unfortunate that from a book partially devoted to Icelandic short fiction, the least enjoyable stories from the book were (to me at least) the Icelandic stories. Sorry, Timothy.
As much as I REALLY wanted to like the Icelandic fiction in the second half, I have to agree with others that I skipped a lot. The first half was more solidly good.
Um, sure. I like that they printed it in Iceland. It just didn't hold my interest, so I decided to move on. I still enjoy McSweeney's.
Loved this issue; the Icelandic stories are especially treasures. If you read only one, make it "Uninvited" by Einar Mar Gumundsson.
Johanna DeBiase
Only read the Icelandic part to prep for my trip to Iceland. Everything sounds like a saga. Good read for the most part.
This particular collection briefly changed the way I thought about things. Mostly, it made me dream about going to Iceland.
Nov 04, 2011 Sonrisa is currently reading it
very strong collection of short stories all Icelandic authors. piecing my way through it along with the others.
Lie Down and Die
I Understand
Counting Underwater
Jeffrey Brown
bought for the cover--completely uninteresting writing.
e. d'alessandro
who knew icelandic short stories could be so entertaining?
I'm a big fan of the Icelandic fiction in this issue.
roddy doyle ha ha ha great man
Dylan marked it as to-read
Oct 09, 2015
Renato Cruz
Renato Cruz marked it as to-read
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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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A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius What is the What The Circle Zeitoun You Shall Know Our Velocity!

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