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In This Light: New and Selected Stories

4.05  ·  Rating Details  ·  60 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
A vibrant selection of stories from the author of Sweet Hearts and First, Body

This selection of Melanie Rae Thon's stories showcases her breathtaking ability to become each one of her characters, to move inside the bodies and minds of the dispossessed. One woman speaks for them all: "I'm your worst fear. But not the worst thing that can happen."

In This Light shimmers wit
Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 24th 2011 by Graywolf Press
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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern11/22/63 by Stephen KingState of Wonder by Ann PatchettThe Art of Fielding by Chad HarbachThe Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
Kirkus Best Books of 2011
49th out of 88 books — 179 voters
Dubliners by James JoyceNine Stories by J.D. SalingerThe Complete Stories by Flannery O'ConnorThe Martian Chronicles by Ray BradburyInterpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
Best Short Story Collections
179th out of 945 books — 659 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 198)
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Matt Hlinak
Oct 11, 2012 Matt Hlinak rated it it was amazing
Throughout my formal writing training, I have studied the works of successful authors, based on the idea that I can find something useful in those works to apply to my own writing. It is impossible to quantify the extent to which my reading has influenced my writing, but I have not, with one exception, self-consciously tried to emulate another writer. In my one imitation experiment, I struggled with the decision of how closely to hew to the source material. After all, I wanted to write an homage ...more
My review from the Missoula Independent:

In This Light, by Montana-raised writer Melanie Rae Thon, is a brutally lucid new collection. Reading the nine stories seems akin to being electrocuted and then wading into a frigid body of water nine times in succession—only to realize that you love every step of the way. What I'm trying to say is that this is a damn fine collection of short fiction. You don't merely read this book, you listen carefully to its spellbinding rhythms, and once you've recover
Mar 16, 2015 Alan rated it really liked it
Recommended to Alan by: Michael
Shelves: short-stories
Enchanting, disgusting, beautiful stories about life and death among losers and thieves, drug addicts, the ostracised, the poor and the ordinary. But the writing is far from ordinary. My initial enthusiasm was dampened about half way through because the very richness that was so appealing began to lie a little heavy, like a taster meal at a top (read expensive) restaurant. You longed for a plain potato/ a Carver-esque sentence or two. However along would come something to take your breath away e ...more
Calvin Glover
Feb 20, 2013 Calvin Glover rated it it was amazing
It is my good fortune to attend a fiction workshop taught by Melanie Rae Thon at the University of Utah. I knew I had to get in her class after reading this collection of some of her stories. She is an incredibly powerful writer. Her characters are often violent or destructive, but they are never clichéd. She writes with an unflinching honesty coupled with compassion. You have the sense that every sentence has been carefully crafted; every word meticulously selected. Some day, when I grow up, I ...more
Apr 21, 2014 Jen rated it did not like it
Wow. I mean, if authors write what they know, then I feel really sorry for Melanie Rae Thon. I've never read anything of hers before and I thought this collection of short stories sounded interesting from the descriptions on Goodreads. Unfortunately, I was sadly disappointed.

I'm not one who generally enjoys dark, potent, heavy dramas. That's all this author seems to know how to write. I really wanted to like these stories, and I wanted to understand the characters and empathize with them but I w
Sep 05, 2011 Angela rated it it was amazing
Melanie Rae Thon's new short story collection explores the themes of love, guilt, grief, and redemption. Thon's brilliant lyrical prose transcends the gritty mundane into spiritual timelessness. Most of these stories are old favorites gathered into one volume. There are, however, a few new gems which I devoured.

In the short story, "Confessions of Raymond Good Bird," Thon's use of word choice paints a portrait of a man delivered from his earthly sins to eternal life in love. Thon describes Raymon
Oct 24, 2011 Zuzana rated it it was ok
I won this book in a FirstReads giveaway.
The author is certainly talented, and the quality of the writing is very good. However, the content of the stories is dark to the point of making you almost physically nauseated, and seems to go along the lines of, "What else can go wrong in people's lives? Let's add that in, too." I suppose if I found pleasure in the depressing, I would have really enjoyed this book. As it is, though, I mostly enjoyed the last story - maybe because by then I had come to
Feb 03, 2012 Nychola rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
This is a book of short stories. Sounded like it would be interesting. I think the first story set the tone for my expectations which was subpar. I dont really get the point of the first story. The way this particular author writes annoyed me though i can't quite put my finger on the reason why. Maybe i just felt too many stories felt pointless..maybe i missed the reasoning somehow.
Robbins Library
Mar 08, 2013 Robbins Library rated it really liked it
Shelves: linda-recommends
Each story is amazingly well-crafted and the subject matter is pretty dark. My inclination upon finishing was to immediately go back and read all the stories again because I think I could have gotten more out of them, but as always I have a huge pile of other books on desk. I highly recommend In This Light to anyone who appreciates good writing. Very strong collection!
Dec 26, 2013 Lynn rated it it was amazing
I adore Melanie Rae Thon, and her stories contain the empathy and spirituality of her character. The language and heart in these stories is beautiful. Each story delves into the mind and soul of the characters.
I read these stories slowly, one at a time, and I recommend that method. These stories are meant to be savored.
Patricia Geller
Feb 23, 2012 Patricia Geller rated it really liked it
Stories from all her collections and some new ones. She is a fabulous writer. I would just go back and get her earlier books.
Mar 16, 2013 Linda rated it really liked it
Recommended to Linda by: Kevin O'Kelly
Shelves: read-fiction
My review is here.
Luann Schindler
Jun 09, 2011 Luann Schindler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Such a rare collection of stories. Wish there were more "new" stories.
Jul 17, 2011 Mary rated it it was amazing
A great book of wonderfully written short stories. Enjoyed each one.
Kim Anderson
Jun 24, 2011 Kim Anderson rated it really liked it
So many beautiful stories written over the years.
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Melanie Rae Thon is a Professor of English at the University of Utah.
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