this is just a tiny short story, but it is freeeeee! and, sure, it is all boastful and "LOOK AT ME I AM 65 PAGES LONG!" but know that fifty of those 6...morethis is just a tiny short story, but it is freeeeee! and, sure, it is all boastful and "LOOK AT ME I AM 65 PAGES LONG!" but know that fifty of those 65 pages are just samples from two of his other, full-length books. but a free story is nothing to sniff at and even though Little Star was one of the first things i ever bought when i got my NOOK and still haven't read, i did read this! so, BOOM! it's a nasty little comeuppance story about bad things that happen to a paparazzo, who is not entirely an unsympathetic character, but - you take pictures of people doing it, and this is what you get. lesson learned. and here is a picture of a snake eating a crocodile.
never eat anything bigger than your own head. that's another lesson for you. also for free.(less)
seriously??? will mine be the first review of this on goodreads?? that is a lot of pressure.
here's a funny confession: for some reason, i didn't cloc...moreseriously??? will mine be the first review of this on goodreads?? that is a lot of pressure.
here's a funny confession: for some reason, i didn't clock that this was a book of short stories, even though antonya nelson pretty much writes short stories exclusively, and when i got to the second piece in the collection, i was trying to wrap my head around "and who are these characters and how do they relate to the characters in the first chapter?"
also silly of me is that i thought i had read many of her books before, but it turns out i had only read one: Nothing Right, and begrudgingly at that. correction: begrudgingly at first, but then blown away. (also, how cute is it that i used to win books through the firstreads program??) but in my head, i had convinced myself that i had read, and loved, many of her books. all of this is to preface the confession that i liked this book a bunch, but i didn't love it-love it as much as the other one i read.
i am a latecomer to the appreciation of the short story as medium. i am also moderately intoxicated. so go easy on me.
i have never read alice munro. as a self-professed lover of canadian lit, this is a huge confession, and a huge oversight in my reading background. but in my head, i equate the style/subject matter of alice munro with that of antonya nelson. which is meant to be deeply complimentary. nelson is nowhere near as well-known, but i feel that she should be. and even though this particular set of stories didn't resonate with me the way my first experience with her did, that is not to say this isn't still a great collection.
antonya nelson writes stories for grown-ups. which, again, is meant to be complimentary. she doesn't waste time with stylistic fireworks or flashy quirks. she writes realistic, even sedate, stories with recognizable characters. they generally feature female protagonists, but the situations are universal and not specifically gendered: love, death, family, missed opportunities, settling… in this collection, there are a lot of may-december relationships and the familial baggage that accompanies such relationships in the form of children from previous marriages, resentful and exhausted parents, and the emotional responsibilities to those not of blood ties, but of this new iteration of the nuclear family. which is maybe why i didn't feel as connected to his collection as i did to the last one i read - just a lack of relatability from my particular vantage point.
but there's still a lot to celebrate here. my very favorite was the last story - more of a novella - in which a fractured family of three (surviving) siblings are faced with the situation of putting their father in a home while also having to contend with their own aimlessness and various personal failures. lots of meat in that story, and some deeply touching scenes.
so! we are going to call this a 3.5 and we are going to say that one or more of you should pick up an antonya nelson book and tell me what you think and we can try to make her as well-known as alice munro, who i will read. someday.(less)
this book is exactly what the title says it is and somehow still not at all what i was expecting. it's not that my reading comprehension skills are we...morethis book is exactly what the title says it is and somehow still not at all what i was expecting. it's not that my reading comprehension skills are weakening, i just didn't think that the person who gave me all the things i squee over:
chip and bean:
would also write a religious comic about finding a man.
i bought it without even looking through it; i just said "simone lia has a new (in this country) book?? MINE!"
and then i got it home and read it, only to discover there was nothing cute at all in this book.
unless you think that it is cute when god plays operation
now, i have no problem with the deeply religious. it's not something that is a part of my life, but if it gives other people solace, i'm not one of those nonbelievers who needs to sneer at them. however, while religion can be used as something to structure comedy around (mel brooks, life of brian), it is very rare for spiritual journeys to generate comedy gold. for example, repurposing the lyrics to old INXS songs (removing the saucier lines) and turning it into a song about god's love is just… icky.
there's just not much of a story here, cute or otherwise. religion aside, it's also not very interesting to listen to a woman complain about not having a man in her life. and while Fluffy is a very loosely told series of episodes instead of a sustained narrative like this one, it somehow feels more satisfying. fluffy is an adorable bunny whose antics warm the heart, while this is just kind of… sad.
it gets a three star because i love simone lia, but it is on the very low end of the three. (less)
so, just like Little Bee, this book begs you "NOOO, DON'T TELL ITS SEEEEKRITS!!" and if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.
so part of me is tempted...moreso, just like Little Bee, this book begs you "NOOO, DON'T TELL ITS SEEEEKRITS!!" and if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.
so part of me is tempted to write this whole long review about how this book is a magical adventure focusing on a young girl in manhattan during the blackout of 2003, when all the red pandas living in the sewers came out to play, carrying tiny flashlights and shepherding people from manhattan to their homes in the outer boroughs and all the lessons this young girl learns along the way from her red panda guide about life and humanity and art history and, ultimately, herself.
because i would read that book.
instead, i am just going to say that it is perhaps unwise to market a book in this way. true, the only reason i read it myself was because i came across it when making YA list for work, and i was all "SECRETS?? I LOVE SECRETS!! I WANT TO KNOW THE SECRETS!!" it's a very effective way of drumming up interest around a book.
but the problem is, when you are prepared for a big twist, it is very easy to guess the big twist, which i did very early on. if you think you are just reading a book about some rich family and a girl with a faulty memory and a mysterious summer, with no tantalizingly bossy instructions about keeping the book's secrets, you might be more surprised when the reveal is revealed. but when such a big deal is made of SHHHHHHH, and you know you are expecting something unexpected, you will probably find it, and so reading the book just becomes an exercise in waiting for the character to figure it out. which is fine, but less effective in terms of shock value.
i liked it anyway, but i think it would have been more fun to gasp in genuine surprise at the path it took. so forget i said anything, forget what the synopsis tells you to do, and just read it like you would any other book.
this should help you forget everything you have ever known: