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

3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  326 Ratings  ·  27 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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Dec 18, 2008 Sarah rated it did not like it
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
Feb 02, 2008 Charlotte Kartz rated it it was ok
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....
Eric Hinkle
Jun 12, 2016 Eric Hinkle rated it really liked it
Really cool book! The first half is short stories from mostly American authors, and the second half is contemporary Icelandic writers. That section is the real highlight of this collection. It's exposed me to a lot of fascinating writers, and I've gone out and bought about 8 books from those authors already. A lot of the stories are extracted from their novels, for some reason, but it's a great introduction to what is currently* happening in Icelandic fiction.

*I guess this was published about 1
Feb 04, 2014 Christina rated it really liked it
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
Jun 03, 2008 Adam rated it it was ok
Shelves: scandinavian
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
May 03, 2008 Felicia rated it liked it
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
Oct 06, 2014 Heather Pagano rated it it was amazing
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.
May 24, 2009 Clark rated it liked it
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
Nov 17, 2014 Richard Jespers rated it really liked it
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.
Nov 02, 2008 Kerri rated it liked it
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
Mar 19, 2011 Eric rated it really liked it
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
Jan 28, 2010 Paul McCann rated it really liked it
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.
Apr 06, 2015 Carla rated it really liked it
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.
May 26, 2016 Mike rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
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.
Sep 29, 2009 Jonny rated it liked it
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.
Oct 26, 2010 Mandy rated it liked it
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.
Jul 22, 2011 Scott rated it it was ok
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.
Apr 15, 2009 Jamie rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Loved this issue; the Icelandic stories are especially treasures. If you read only one, make it "Uninvited" by Einar Mar Gumundsson.
Johanna DeBiase
May 27, 2015 Johanna DeBiase rated it liked it
Shelves: iceland
Only read the Icelandic part to prep for my trip to Iceland. Everything sounds like a saga. Good read for the most part.
Apr 07, 2007 katrina rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mcsweeney-s
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.
Jan 01, 2013 Heather rated it it was amazing
Lie Down and Die
I Understand
Counting Underwater
Jeffrey Brown
Jun 20, 2008 Jeffrey Brown rated it liked it
bought for the cover--completely uninteresting writing.
e. d'alessandro
Jan 14, 2010 e. d'alessandro rated it really liked it
who knew icelandic short stories could be so entertaining?
Oct 03, 2008 Tom rated it really liked it
I'm a big fan of the Icelandic fiction in this issue.
roddy doyle ha ha ha great man
Yinzadi marked it as to-read
Sep 24, 2016
BookDB marked it as to-read
Aug 29, 2016
Michael marked it as to-read
Aug 16, 2016
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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
More about Dave Eggers...

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