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Double Happiness

3.1 of 5 stars 3.10  ·  rating details  ·  68 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Best-selling and widely acclaimed author Mary-Beth Hughes, "a writer of dexterity and imagination" (The New York Times Book Review), delivers a seductive, deeply human, and sophisticated story collection about the universal need to be loved and the complicated imperfections that jeopardize the ties that bind us.
The stories in Double Happiness are extraordinary portrayals
Kindle Edition
Published (first published January 6th 2010)
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Reading Hughes' stories I felt like I was eating a thick, juicy steak after days of too many salads. There is something Heminwayesque about Hughes' writing. The sentences are short. They contain few high falutin words. As I read I felt I was skimming on the top of the abrupt sentences then as meanings began to open up I sank into the meat of the words. Emotionally it felt like ok let's move along folks, there's nothing to see here then red lights are burning your eyes, the blue lights come on to ...more
Loved the first couple of stories, then the rest were hard to read, meaning I found her prose difficult to follow. The use of no quotation marks is something I've employed as well, but you have to be very careful with this device. Hughes uses it throughout, and it can get very confusing as to who is saying what. There were flashes of wonderful passages, but as a whole, I found myself skimming to the end. I would check out her novel, however.
I did not like these stories. She seems a talented writer but while she covered dark themes, her characters were nasty and strange and the author had no ability to sweeten their edges just enough to soften them. Nothing like Alice Munro or Lorrie Moore sadly who deal with poignant and devastating details.
Aug 28, 2010 Betsy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all
Recommended to Betsy by: can't remember
These are short stories but each packed a punch. Most are about the dynamics between people - lovers, siblings, parents/kids - but they're very intricately plotted, going forward and backward in time, and sometimes hard to follow but most were really interesting. They're the kind of stories where once you finish one - or even midway through - you feel the need to flip back to the beginning and revisit what transpired before you got from there to here.
Lisa Lawless
The spare on details with punches of flashback or -forward shock writing style started feeling formulaic after the first couple of stories. I was sure it was just going to get worse. Then, the last story in the book, the one for which the book is named, changed my mind. The style was meant for that story.
Jenn Stevens
yawn. It's not that the writing isn't good, they're all good. but I've been reading a lot of short story/literary fiction books lately and they all feel and sound the same. I get tired of the subtle "men lead lives of quiet desperation" theme that seems to run throughout every story I read.
May 04, 2011 Dawn rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Dawn by: New York Times Notable Books of 2010
I couldn't finish this book of short stories. I didn't have a single emotional connection to any of the characters in the first several stories. The writing is sparse and cold, but hey, the New Yorker loves it so what do I know.
Sarahc Caflisch
Jan 05, 2011 Sarahc Caflisch marked it as never-finished  ·  review of another edition
I really really liked some of the stories, but found some to be too boring to hold my attention right now. Please keep in mind that this may be just about me and my current attention-span and not in anyway about the stories.
Wan Ni
Some of the stories just aren't very captivating. Consequently I have to skip them. I expected to be emotionally moved but the blurb sets up more expectation that the book can offer.
I found these stories to be confusing. I wanted more... Details, information, clarity. The only story I enjoyed was the last.
Sue Russell
I would give some of the individual stories 5 stars but not the book as a whole. A more honest rating would be about 3.5.
Some well written short stories! An undertone of sadness in the first two, where I am. Nevertheless, a view into life.
read each story a couple times - felt I had missed something the first go round. very elegant style.
Loved some of the stories, others were really just ok. A mix of 2 and 4 stars throughout....
Splendid stories. Hughes is a very fine writer.
Catherine Woodman
very poignant well written short stories
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