Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing
With this first book of fiction, a gifted young writer brings together eight superbly crafted stories that peer deeply into the human heart, exploring lives derailed by the loss of a vital connection to the land and to the natural world of which they are a part.
"Mule Killers" evokes the end of an era and of a grandfather's dreams when he decides to replace animal power on...more
The people Peelle examines are grasping at the bottom rung. There is the obese taxidermist who has recently lost his leg, the unenthused carnie, and the girls whose summer fearlessness astride a duo of ponies is soon swallowed by the perilous da ...more
Then somebody pushes your head back under water.
I kid. But not really. These stories hurt. Oh they hurt so good.
The stories talk about life and choices, aging and its impact on life. This excerpt is from the title story, which was my favorite:
"Most nights, I don't sleep. Instead I lie in bed and page through my list of dread and regret, starting with my childhood and ending with the polar ice caps. Everything in between I file into somethi ...more
I think I would have appreciated the stories if I read them individually rather than in a collection. Peelle's characters sound more or less the same regardless of age and gender, which makes the collection go monotone after a couple of stories. The characters themselves also get a little repetitive after a while. Literally all the stories feature May-December pseudo-romances. All of the stories are set somewhere in the deep ...more
Stories I Love: Mule Killings, Phantom Pain, Sweathearts of the Rodeo, Shadow on a Weary Land
Good Stories: The Still Point, Kidding Season (second half), Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing (but science references are wonderful)
Eh: This Is Not a Love Story
I love this ...more
When I was a child my family moved to Tennessee, and I had never before seen the South. I felt the South embrace me, my family, our lives, and even now that I have moved away, a part of me still belongs there.
In this collection of stories, Lydia Peelle subtly expresses this idea of the South, of belonging to the South and living southern life. It is almost as though the South possesses people. It has its own gravity, its own pull, and it can be tough to break from that orbit, to shake off the we...more
Very good collection of short stories. Lydia Peelle was an impressive writer, and I'm happy to have noticed this one out in perfect among the tornado of used books that is my local bookstore. The stories were realistic, fun, and had a great common theme among them - a feeling of something that is lost, or something that once was. My god, some of these stories were just beautiful.
The only thing that slowed the book for me is that it isn't exactly fun to read. That's usually what writing that ...more
These eight stories remind me of Maile Meloy's writing - bleak but powerful - of characters who take an ever-decreasing resonsibility for their world, and the ever-increasing challenges these positions create.
"The Mule Killers" a story about an aging farmer who slowly goes cr ...more
"The rest of your life, Tanya, is a hell of a lot longer than you think it will be. And you'll grow tired of everything."
"When people talk about the South being haunted, it's true. But it's not the places that are haunted, it's the people. They are trapped by all the stories of the past, wandering a long hallway lined with locked doors, knocking and knocking, with no one ever answering. No one ever will. That's the thi ...more