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Flying Leap: Stories

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  359 ratings  ·  38 reviews
Twenty-three stories introduce a startling, shimmering new voice in fiction. From a man persuaded to donate his own heart to his dying mother to the arc of a love affair conducted solely on a park bench to a brief history of women in the form of a fashion catalog, these stories provide short, sharp shocks as provocative as they are entertaining.
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published February 1st 1998 by Picador USA (first published 1998)
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I'd heard good things about Judy Budnitz, that she's original, wacky and all that. And I really appreciate it when a short-story writer tries to experiment and entertain rather than shock and depress. But too many of these stories just left me cold. They tried so damn hard to be clever that they felt forced; the characters were cliches. I did enjoy a few of them, though, mainly the ones that weren't so conceptual/allegorical and seemed a little more personal. I wish someone had told her to wait ...more
Um, well... sad and strange are the adjectives I'd use to describe this collection of stories. I really didn't get the funny, adventurous, surprising, enchanted, magical or fantastic vibe that everyone else is feeling. But, I did finish the book, therefore saving it from my "unreadable" category, so I didn't hate it! I did always want to know what happened next, but I was mostly disappointed by the answer.
My criteria for 5-star short story collections:

1) At least two stories must really dazzle me
2) I can at no point feel bored while reading any of the stories

The best story here is "Skin Care," which is the heartbreaking tale of a girl with leprosy looking for love. It's poetic and beautiful and so LONELY. Ugh. What a great bit of writing. My other two favorite are the first two in the collection: "Dog Days," which is a post-apocalyptic that doesn't focus so much on the "why" as it does on feeling
David Runge
Charming and dramatic. Twists reality without asking you to suspend disbelief too far.
I love this bizarre and magical collection of short stories. I first read it when I borrowed my mom's copy almost ten years ago, then I snapped up a copy of my own last week when I spotted it in a used book store. Budnitz has a real gift for telling stories that are absolutely believable within the confines of the magical realities she can create. She also writes convincingly from various perspectives. For example, she writes as an exaggeration of the cheerleader stereotype in one story, then sw ...more
Flying Leap by: Judy Budnitz

Genre: Fantastical

Number of pages: 244

Description: Judy Budnitz has assembled a collection of fantastical, shocking, and, yes, surprisingly human tales, in Flying Leap. From cheerleaders to the apocalypse, dog suits to heartbreaks, Budnitz’s comical and bizarre tales included a little bit of everything and left me wanting more.

Why I read it: Contemporary Fiction 311, but I would have read it outside of class in heartbeat.

Quick read? The stories read quickly, but ther
Alex Scales
Confession: This is the most excited I've been about a short story collection in years.

As gorgeous as The Virgin Suicides was, I was left pretty cold after finishing it--extremely well written, but just didn't move me. I never truly engaged me beyond a mechanical sense. So this is the perfect antidote for that apathy.

Budnitz is hysterical. I mean, cheerleaders sacrificing themselves to the "School Spirit" kind of hysterical. While looking her up on The All Mighty Google, I saw a review describ
Surreal. Enjoyable.
Keyshia Dorsey
i usually can't get into short story books but this one was really really good
An extremely inventive collection of magical tall tales. The story "Train" is a work of art and worth the price of admission alone.
This book needed some more editing. There were some wonderfully written stories, with a plot line that really reeled you in. There were other stories that were probably trashed in her writer's workshop or graduate school or both and she still insisted to include them in this collection. Someone should have put their foot down and kept them out. They made reading this book very clunky and at times boring and tiresome.
There are some amazing stories in this. The tale of the boy whose mom needs a heart transplant had me laughing piteously, painfully, achingly guffawing. But most of the stories didn't touch me--there was a contrivance, a distance, a lack of heartfelt connection. For a book so enticingly, boldly titled, I expected more risks and more engagement. That said, her use of language is beautiful. The characters aren't as interesting.
This is a stellar collection. It was one where I found I could only handle reading a few stories each night, because after each one, I'd need a pause to think it over. Where so many collections and anthologies are like watered-down lemonade - easy to drink lots, not necessarily satisfying - this was the good stuff - potent, profound, unique, crafted.

Loved it.
Very creative stories, I sometimes don't enjoy short stories, but these were so good and short enough to keep my interest. Very good writing. I especially liked the story "Average Joe" and the last story in the book but they were all so good, I gobbled it up. I've already ordered her other book of stories.
I learned about this author from NPR's "This American Life", and was optimistic about the book when it arrived. Unfortunately, I can see why Budnitz's stories lend well to radio, and not so much to text. The stories were fluffy, full of imagination, and lacking in literary intrigue.
Dec 25, 2007 Heather rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Winterson Fans
This book is another great gift for women who love to read. Budnitz has a unique style. I think that modern writers with style - and unique style at that - are rare. She is imaginative and it works.
Super enjoyable short short stories that often delve into the surreal. Maybe because of the incorporation of these elements, many of the stories also take on an apocalyptic quality. Recommended.
Jul 12, 2007 Andi rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: cynics and satirists.
I love this collection of stories. They are morbid, funny, short enough to hold my attention, and touching. This is a book I re-read almost every summer with a glass of chardonnay.
I actually learned about her from the New York Post and was blown away by her passion and imagination. I sat through a bunch of terrible clowns to hear her read and it was worth it.
I bought this book for "Got Spirit" a story about cheerleaders marching into a bond fire possessed with School Spirit. They are interesting short stories, but nothing amazing.
a very interesting book indeed...a set of 25 stories that will blow your mind. It'll make you think and think until you are already exhausted..haha
I couldn't get into it. It seemed like the premise of the stories I read didn't come across as realistic ... magical or not magical.
Julia Glassman
I really liked Nice Big American Baby, but I could kind of tell that a lot of the stories in Flying Leap had been written by a 23 year old.
i love this collection of stories, it's one of my all-times favorites. It's a shame I haven't liked any of Budnitz's other work.

Wonderfully absurd, dark and humorous tales of life in the modern world. It's NPR Kafka and that's a good thing to have.
This woman writes some of the most intriguing and sublime stories I've ever read. Magical realism that would make Borges proud.
John E
Fun stories (for the most part). I loved "Yellsville", but disliked only one or two of the 25 stories included.
I'm in the odd position of disliking these stories, but finding them vaguely interesting.
I enjoy all of Judy Budnitz's short stories. And she has plenty of them. (smiles)
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Judy Budnitz was born in 1973 and grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. She graduated from Harvard in 1995, and recieved an MFA in creative writing from New York University in 1998.
More about Judy Budnitz...
If I Told You Once Nice Big American Baby Flush The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Twelfth Annual Collection Tin House: Fantastic Women

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