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Heroic Measures

3.48 of 5 stars 3.48  ·  rating details  ·  643 ratings  ·  169 reviews
From the author of The Tattoo Artist comes a new novel—taut, moving, accomplished—set in a fraught, post-9/11 New York... about real estate, dog love, and a city on alert.

A gasoline tanker truck is “stuck” in the Midtown Tunnel. New Yorkers are panicked... Is this the next big attack?

Alex, an artist, and Ruth, a former schoolteacher with an FBI file as thick as a dictio
Hardcover, 193 pages
Published June 30th 2009 by Pantheon (first published January 1st 2009)
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this book came closer to making me cry than any book ever has.(said karen, forgetting she has an entire shelf devoted to "books that made me cry" - a regrettable oversight.) there is so much perfect charming poignant love and affection and need and small quiet despair in it,that it touched a little emotional nub that books can't usually find. it's not even particularly sad, it's just a little piece of "right there".

when i was little, and would go to the library seriously all.the.time., they use
Mar 02, 2010 Greg rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Greg by: karen
Not a perfect five, but a very strong four and a half.

Karen reviews this book better than I would. Her review can be found here.

Seriously, Karen's review will be better than this. But here goes my version of the review.

One, for reasons that I don't care to write about, this book got me incredibly depressed. Normal people avoid things that depress them, I on the other hand give them five stars and think they are great, but then work on figuring out all the things in my life I can push as far aw
Jen Estrella
I kept hearing people say that this book was like, theeee most amazing book. A particular Goodreads friend who I trust very much when it comes to book recs even claimed this as one of her favorite books! So that being said, I was expecting this lil novel to blow me away.

Well. It didn't blow me away in the manner I expected it to, but I loved it nonetheless. It was a very sweet book about a very sweet subject, one that is very dear to my heart. Dogs! I think any dog lover will first imagine their
Stuti (Turmeric isn't your friend. It will fly your ship
I like books with old or animals. I like 'em because, in real life, I've never been, probably never will be close to my grandparents, or animals. But then I absolutely hate portrayals of old people/animals as these veterans at everything who give advice, advice, advice. Heroic Measures is specifically marvelous in the sense that it's brought me closer to two people and a dog whose lives ordinarily, on the surface wouldn't garner my interest, much less engagement. It reminded me(not a lot, mind y ...more
Heroic Measures follows Alex and Ruth Cohen through a chaotic New York City weekend circa 2002 as the elderly couple simultaneously holds an open house for the East Village apartment and deals with the beloved dachsund's life-threatening back injury, all against the backdrop of a potential terrorist threat playing endlessly on the local news.

Both Alex and Ruth are charply drawn characters. Ruth, a retired schoolteacher and former subject of FBI investigations during the McCarthy years, fears for
To be clear, I have not been reading this 200ish page novel for the last three months, regardless of any information conveyed or implied by this profile.
I got this book at a used book store, and purchased it based on its merits of a) having great reviews from prominent publications, b)having a dachshund on the cover and c) purportedly being about a dachshund.
I am pleased to say that Heroic Measures, is, indeed, about a dachshund, which is really all you need to know about this small, gem of a n
I loved the writing style of this little gem of a book, and that the author was able to convey so much with so few words. Her character development was deft and convincing despite the spare prose and I really cared about these interesting people. I was engaged from the first page.

Ruth and Alex, a childless, elderly couple who have lived in the East Village for 50 years, need to sell their apartment --- the stairs to their fifth-floor walkup have become just too much for them to handle. The story
Bonnie Brody
Heroic Measures is a little gem, one of those rare books that you pick up and can't put down, while at the same time you wish it would never end. It is about a couple, Alex and Ruth, and their dachshund Dorothy. One weekend morning Dorothy is not acting herself and shortly afterwards she can not walk. Alex and Ruth rush to the emergency after hours veterinary hospital where they find out that she most likely has a disc problem and will require surgery. Alex and Ruth are a childless couple and Do ...more
Heroic Measures – Jill Ciment

This was one of a pile of books I took with me to our summer cabin. Others around there hike and fish and golf. We sit on the deck and read. I don’t remember why I picked this book. I think it must have been from a review here at Goodreads.

If your goal is a relaxing, warm fuzzy read, then this is your book. It never gets the slightest bit dark even though it deals with end-of-life issues. An aging couple who wish to sell their walkup apartment in NYC, thereby gainin
Printable Tire
You wouldn't think a novel about an old couple trying to sell their apartment and take care of their old dog would be such a page-turner, but it is. Part of its ability to be one is its sparse prose, which lacks anything but the most necessary ornamentation, and is somehow able to make you forget after a while you are reading a dog's perspective. Part of the suspense is also built around a sub-plot surrounding a potential terrorist on the loose and the media circus that creates.

The terrorist med
Kasa Cotugno
A wonderful New York novel. Written with today's paranoias and conflicts. Partly told through the eyes of a loving family pet. Read in one sitting.
What a lovely gentle story. An old couple's dear daschund is suddenly paralysed, and they need to help their dog while at the same time deal with the practical details of selling their New York City apartment, all in the midst of a possible terrorist attack. The real estate dealing is funny, the dog point of view is cute but kept minimal, and the author nicely weaves in Chekhov's famous short story of "The Woman With the Pet Dog" . The city of New York is as much a character as Alex and Ruth and ...more
Kayla Cagan
A picture-postcard of a family in New York City, post-scare. Stunning, sad, surprisingly funny and all in a perfectly succinct novel. I never cried but read the book- a gift from a friend who lives in Brooklyn- with a lump in my throat the whole time.

The tension is both emotional and physical in the story, and feels exceptionally real. And some of my favorite characters are the neighborhood New Yorkers, who are drawn in the perfect shades and hues of the city.

Big thumbs up for this little nove
Elizabeth Green
5 out of 5 stars!!

This book follows three main characters Ruth, Alex, and Dorothy, their dog. The book is set shortly after 9/11 in side New York City. Ruth and Alex are getting up there in age and are faced with the decision of selling their apartment and moving. This is a big change in their life that they are struggling emotionally and mentally to make. Along with making a huge decision they are trying to help Dorothy after she hurts herself. While all of this is going on New York City and it
Eric Klee
Heroic Measures is the tale of an elderly couple with plans to sell their New York City apartment in an elevator-less building in favor of an apartment in a building with an elevator. Meanwhile, their senior dachshund can't walk one day, so they have to rush him to the vet for emergency back surgery, and there's a maybe terrorist on the loose in NYC that sends the city into a panic. That's the entire plot for the novel, and it works well for the most part.

If you're a pet lover that has ever had
[At the vet's office] "...a cartoon of a little dog, a stick, and an elderly couple scotch- taped to the back of the door

Man: Fetch.

Little Dog: Oy, I got a pain in my tail from wagging so much, my stomach hurts from that lousy dog food, when are we going for a walk, already?

Woman: He thinks you said "kvetch". "

I love this book!"
Wow, what a sweet little book. It manages to cover a lot of stuff in a small space -- aging, love, friendship, real estate, the terror threat, xenophobia, New Yorkers, Chekhov, and dogs and how we love them. And it's not, in the end, sentimental at all. Good, life-affirming stuff; kind of a perfect book to wind up on September 11.
Laura Stone Johnson
After forty-five years negotiating the stairs of their five floor East Village walk-up apartment, septuagenarians Alex and Ruth have decided it’s time to move. They’ve contemplated retirement communities and luxury islands off the Southern coast, but their New York roots are too strong and they decide to search for an elevator building in the same neighborhood. They find it comforting to know they won’t have to change pharmacies.
As if finding the perfect New York apartment weren’t a daunting e
A beloved sick dog and a weekend of worry as she undergoes surgery. A terrorist - they think he's a terrorist - is on the loose. Elderly Alex and Ruth's apartment is up for sale and an open house is being held the same weekend this all takes place. It's their dog. It's their apartment. It's their worry. They struggle to climb the five flights up to their residence but oh, do they really want to leave this place they've known and loved and called home all these years? They receive offers and high ...more
Kay Fair
Just plane reading. Heroic Measures, by Jill Ciment is one of those novels that writers love. It reminds us what a true artist of the craft can do in taking a seemingly trivial and peripheral story and somehow make us care. The story centers around an elderly couple in New York City, attempting to sell their apartment amidst the personal crisis of their dachshund's pending surgery, as well as the city-wide crisis of a possible terrorist attack in the Midtown Tunnel. By all logic, this novel shou ...more
Terri Vlasak
I recommend the book. It is an easy read, at once pleasant, complex and thoughtful. On the simplest level, Alex and Ruth are 70-plus year old Manhattanites who must sell their apartment - the 5 flights of steps they must climb to reach it are becoming too much for them. They need to move to an apt with an elevator - hopefully in the same neighborhood. As they prepare for their open house, their beloved dog Dorothy - an aging dachsund - collapses in pain and must be rushed to the vet. To complica ...more
Shonna Froebel
This novel takes place over a few days in New York City. An older Jewish couple, Alex and Ruth, is looking at selling their coop as they are worried about the stairs to their 5th floor home becoming a problem for the future.
Their elderly dachshund, Dorothy, has suddenly lost control of her rear end, causing them to rush her to the animal hospital.
Alex and Ruth are worried about their dog, their home, their future, and Alex's artwork.
With a tanker stuck in the Midtown Tunnel and everyone talking
Shazza Maddog
Ms. Ciment follows three characters throughout a twenty-four hour period: Ruth, Alex and Dorothy. Ruth and Alex are an older couple, living in Brooklyn, shortly after 9-11. They live in a walk-up apartment and the five flights of steps is too much for them. As they are readying their apartment for an open house, their elderly dachshund, Dorothy, develops a spinal problem. Ruth and Alex load her up on a cutting board and take her to the vet - only to find out as they hop a taxi that someone has d ...more
Jul 23, 2011 Donura rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: own

Really enjoyed this compassionate e-read about life in New York for seniors and the animals they love. Ms. Ciment's technique of alternate chapters from the point of view of the couple Ruth and Alex, and their dog, Dorothy creates the connection between owner and pet. I also appreciated her realistic portrayal of seniors and their needs and desires. Not all seniors are bumbling or senile, and it is important to remind the rest of world of that point as often as necessary so that seniors can be g
This book, although short, was one of the best I've read this year. I finished it within hours of downloading it.

The temporal and physical scope of the book is limited, taking place over the course of one weekend, mostly in the old couple's apartment. But its political, emotional, and societal commentary are ambitious and far-reaching. Ciment juxtaposes the small drama of the couple's sick dog and their attempts to buy and sell a flat with a potential terrorist attack on New York City, raising
I was so excited to read this booked based on the many good reviews on this page. I am thoroughly disappointed. I don't know if it's because I'm not a New Yorker but I just didn't GET this book. I was so bored. Soooo bored. Couldn't wait for it to be done. Upon deciding to read, the premise sounded great to me. What's not to love: animals, crisis in New York, chaos? It just didn't work for me.
A very thin volume, this one is about an old couple taking their sick dog to the vet while trying to sell their five flight walk-up condo for one with an elevator. This may not sound like it is not very interesting. Who wants to read about an old couple anyway? It is however quite a delightful read. The author has a wry sense of humor and she even gives us the dog's POV. I liked it very much.
A story about a old couple trying to take care of their dog, sell their apartment and get a new one. I loved the fact that they are old, that way I could feel peacful and relaxed when I read the book. Even when happened things that required me being worried, I couldn't feel it. Not because I couldn't relate to the story but because I knew it will be just fine, I could feel the "enviroment" and looked from above on the scenes.
The story was very simple as the couple's lives. They live in a small
I have no idea when I finished reading this book but it was a few years ago for sure. Suffice to say it's about a dachshund, two old people and told from the perspective of all three. I just suddenly remembered it while I was watching Dash, my dachshund 11 monthly old puppy, sleeping beside me. Then looking up at me and the memory of this book popped into my head.
Janet Elsbach
Well, a little senility is a lovely thing. I sought this book out because I absolutely loved (and was recently reminded of) The Tattoo Artist. I should read another one of her books, I thought. So I was about ten pages in and realized the book was not predictable, I had just already read it. It's a fine, fine book. Beautiful glimpse, lovingly drawn.
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What's The Name o...: Elderly couple need to move to elevator building [s] 7 22 Jun 13, 2014 03:33PM  
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Jill Ciment was born in Montreal, Canada. She is the author of Small Claims, a collection of short stories and novellas; The Law of Falling Bodies, Teeth of the Dog, The Tattoo Artist, and Heroic Measures, novels; and Half a Life, a memoir. She has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts, a NEA Japan Fellowship Prize, two New York State Fellowships for the Arts, the Janet Heidinger Kafka Pr ...more
More about Jill Ciment...
The Tattoo Artist Act of God: A Novel Half a Life Teeth of the Dog The Law of Falling Bodies

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