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The Architect of Flowers

3.76  ·  Rating Details  ·  131 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
Discover Great New Writers

Trouble has been simmering in the year since David Darby s wife died unexpectedly. Now, as Y2K approaches, it has come to a boil .


Acclaimed for The Wasp Eater, his first collection of stories, Lychack focuses now on a fascinating range of human behavior. With a fluency of tone and a gifted eye, he examines the dark and unfathomable moments i

Paperback, 161 pages
Published March 23rd 2011 by Mariner Books (first published January 1st 2011)
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Lee Libro
Aug 29, 2011 Lee Libro rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
The publicists at Author Exposure provided me with a complimentary copy of William Lychack's short story collection, The Architect of Flowers. Such a title drew up mystical visions: expectations that the book might treat the reader to not just stories, but perhaps a brush with the Creator Himself. While this might seem like a high expectation, the writer in a way, is the God of their own universe, and in the case of William Lychack’s writing, there can be no question that he is a powerful one.

David Abrams
Aug 06, 2011 David Abrams rated it it was amazing
Long after you have finished reading The Architect of Flowers and set it aside to move on to other books, the cadence of William Lychack’s prose will continue to click like a metronome in your head. You may forget the plots of these stories (an old woman trains a crow to steal for her, a boy confronts memories of his father at his funeral), you may forget some of the characters (a ghost-writer, a pregnant woman raising chickens, a mother and her gun-toting son), but I’m willing to bet you’ll hav ...more
Bonnie Brody
Feb 28, 2012 Bonnie Brody rated it it was amazing
William Lychack's stories in The Architect of Flowers are dreamlike and ethereal. Each of them deals with a simple situation that could happen to any of us, yet there is something eerie and other-worldly about each story. All the stories are detailed reminiscences of something that happened and could be reinterpreted in more than one way. In one story, a police officer is called to a home where a dog is dying. Out of kindness, he shoots it. In another story, a woman buys a dozen chicks and all b ...more
Sep 04, 2011 Annie rated it it was amazing
I walked by the Discover New Writers shelf at B&N and picked this up. I'm not usually very into new short stories, but I was nearly unable to put this down. Lychack's style is so unique--very terse but somehow he says a lot with very few words. Gorgeous descriptions, lots of very odd and intriguing characters. LOVED it. I just got his novel The Wasp Eater in the mail a few days ago and am about to start it. Can't wait!!
Nov 07, 2012 Susie rated it it was amazing
Reading this reminds me why I long to be an author. The prose is pure synesthesia...lovely, melding every sense to each paragraph. We can feel, taste, smell, imagine the sights and yet the stories themselves are not grand and meaningful. Each compact story relates small moments and common idiosyncrasies that I could relate to, such as raising a brood of chicks that turn out to be all roosters, but one....or the pondering of an old woman who senses that her fear of her husband dying and leaving h ...more
Eidalis Vaquedano
Apr 30, 2012 Eidalis Vaquedano rated it really liked it
When I first saw this book at the store, I had only picked it up because I liked the title. After I read the first few pages, I was glad I picked it up. These short stories are all ones with such simple storylines and simple characters, yet there is something so captivating about William Lychack's writing.
He is able to describe things in almost a dream-like detail. In the story, "Griswald", the first few paragraphs have such great descriptions of the place and people. Also in "Like a Demon", in
Jun 19, 2011 Julie rated it liked it
This is one of those collections I will probably return to later, because much of it was beautiful but much of its charm was lost on me, here in June 2011. If I pick it up again in a year, it might be my favorite book. I don't know what pronouns ever did to this guy, but he really doesn't like to use them, and I guess the writers who praise him as poetic and lyrical were more able to appreciate the sentence fragments and odd constructions. I found them distracting. But there are gems in this boo ...more
Dave Cullen
Oct 30, 2011 Dave Cullen rated it it was amazing
An amazing book. Startling imagery and insights, too.

It brought me to tears may times, but not a difficult read, by any means.
Jan 03, 2015 Capucine rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels
I've adored, and devoured this book of novels.

My love for novels is growing from almost nothing to big things, Lychack is part of the process.

His characters are profoundly human, they have resonated in my heart though I'm not aware or keen to know the exact feelings of some of the situations his characters evolve through.
I worried for them while following their stream of consciousness and their memories.
It is a beautiful collection of novels, I know it would be one of the few unique books I'd
Magnus Ver Magnusson
Jul 18, 2011 Magnus Ver Magnusson rated it it was amazing

Great collection of stories. Edgy and tight. Beautifully written.
Lydia Presley
Jun 18, 2011 Lydia Presley rated it really liked it
It's fairly recent that I've become a short stories lover. Deborah Willis' Vanishing and Other Stories converted me and I've been on the lookout for other collections that would wow me as much as that book did.

While Lychack's collection in The Architect of Flowers didn't quite do that, it still impressed me. There were a few stories in this collection that had me gasping at the beauty, laughing at the turn of bad luck involving a set of chicks and crying with sorrow at the circumstances surround
May 21, 2011 Matt rated it liked it
This book of short stories really is one of the most lyrically pleasing collections of prose I've read in a long time. Though I'm not sure Lychak's style is all that varied, or even always rooted in the stories he tells, he writes beautiful sentences and layers them one after the other into this mood of disappointed reminiscence.

The stories here are, to a surprising degree, haunted by parental death. Or at least that's how I'm reading it-- it might be something grander, the end of one world and
Jun 04, 2014 Rosslyn rated it liked it
I think the 'lyrical rhythm' everyone speaks of was mostly lost on me; I mostly found myself wishing Lychack would just use more pronouns. I'm also not usually much for short stories, but some of the them were still really sweet.
Jul 04, 2012 Casey rated it really liked it
Though a few of the stories in this collection missed for me, I can't help but marvel at the way Lychack uses language and point of view. Of particular interest to me are the opening sentences of each story. Lychack thrusts readers into the story in ways I've never really seen. Stylistically speaking, Lychack reminds me a little of Darrell Spencer and Jack Driscoll, though the content of each writer's stories are quite different.

Good stuff.
Nov 26, 2010 Joe rated it really liked it
I Review William Lychack’s “Architect of Flowers” in the March 26 Boston Globe.

Poetic writing drives the best stories in Lychack’s first collection: Thirteen stories, two of which were collected in the Best American Short Stories and the Pushcart anthologies. These tales of sometimes anonymous middle-class New Englanders read like vignettes or character studies; others are full-blown stories.

Jul 25, 2013 Jennifer rated it it was ok
I tried to get into this book, I really did. All short story collections have some stories that are amazing and some that are lackluster - unfortunately, I didn't find many in this book that engaged me and none were amazing. Something about the author's style was a miss for me. I found the third person narratives didn't engage me at all and enjoyed the first person stories much more.
Caitlin Griffin
Aug 09, 2012 Caitlin Griffin rated it it was ok
Some stories I liked but none really stood out to me. It also really bothered me that every character had the same voice, talking in fragmented sentences like "Am forever on the verge of lost" or "Didn't know a chicken from a duck". If one or two characters talk like that it's authentic, but if they all do, that's the author just using his own voice for everyone.
Emily Piersol
Nov 01, 2011 Emily Piersol rated it really liked it
I picked up this book on a whim, with the intention of just reading one story and then never seeing it again, but I couldn't put it down. The stories are only vaguely related, with the general theme of broken relationships and atypical love. While some are sad, some are nostalgic, and some have hint of humor, they are all beautifully written.
Nov 28, 2011 Nancy rated it liked it
With beautiful writing, Lychak explores relationships between spouses or parents and children in this collection of short stories. I enjoyed it, although I always felt the characters were just beyond my grasp, that I couldn't quite understand or relate to them. Which may have been the point, but it kept me from really loving the book.
Oct 01, 2011 Amanda rated it really liked it
This book was amazing; the writing is powerful, emotive, thoughtful, and gripping. "The Wasp Eater" is written in this same stunningly masterful style, and though the content of these short stories deeply disturbed and upset me at times, this further evidenced how completely effected by and drawn into it I was.
Apr 20, 2016 Jeremiah rated it really liked it
This book jumped to the top of my queue after I read the first story,"Stolpestad," at the bookstore. I really enjoyed this collection. Lychack's prose is outstanding, with sentences full of synesthetic description and imagination. The kind of writing you feel fortunate to read.
Oct 20, 2013 Alison rated it it was ok
This collection didn't do much for me - the style and tone kept me at arm's length from the characters in almost all of the stories, and I never really engaged with anybof the pieces. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for this style of narration.
Jun 17, 2011 Brenda rated it really liked it
Shelves: other-arcs
My review in issue 2 of Glint Literary Journal can be found at:
Nov 18, 2011 Christopher rated it really liked it
These stories are stunning – in a manner that explores uncomfortable , unsettling experiences. I couldn’t stop reading the collection.
Jen Tierney
Apr 02, 2012 Jen Tierney rated it really liked it
I've only read the first 5 pages so far, but it has completely drawn me in. Beautifully written prose.
Nov 13, 2012 Kaitlynn rated it it was amazing
Dec 15, 2012 Nick rated it really liked it
Shelves: stories
Beautiful stories.
Autrey marked it as to-read
May 31, 2016
Caitlin Strebing
Caitlin Strebing marked it as to-read
May 30, 2016
Katy Mullins
Katy Mullins marked it as to-read
May 05, 2016
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WILLIAM LYCHACK is the author of the novel The Wasp Eater. His work has appeared in The Best American Short Stories and The Pushcart Prize, and on public radios This American Life.
More about William Lychack...

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