I cannot cope with short stories, even fabulous ones. Don't do as I did and read them all in a row.
The twelve stories that are said to be in this col...moreI cannot cope with short stories, even fabulous ones. Don't do as I did and read them all in a row.
The twelve stories that are said to be in this collection are the following: 1. A Story Without a Title 2. Art 3. The Student 4. Ivan Matveyitch 5. The June Premier 6. A Slander 7. The Beggar 8. A Malefactor 9. Minds in Ferment 10. The Looking Glass 11. Old Age 12. On Trial
Please note the fifth story is NOT included!
William Coon narrates all of the twelve eleven stories. Each story is followed with a pause and a little music. This is very good since you need time to think about the story just completed and start afresh with the next one. STILL, do NOT read one after the other!
OK, I love how Chekhov writes. With just a few descriptive words he manages to draw distinct characters. You cannot mistake what makes each one tick. You are given their attire, how they move and how they think.... or don't think. Each story has a message. Many of the stories are filled with humor. Some with irony. Some of the stories I did not know what was being said; I hadn't a clue.
I am just going to tell you just about the first story, but only in general terms. It was my absolute favorite. I wish all had been this good, but they weren't. I loved it because it has humor. I mean it is really, really funny. (view spoiler)[A hunter comes to a monastery and exclaims that the monks are just sitting on their butts doing nothing about the problems in the cities around them. He tells them to get off their butts, to go out into the world and DO something about all the problems out there! (hide spoiler)] I loved it because it allows each reader to interpret the facts as they wish. I believe a religious person, which I am not, can equally well draw completely different conclusions than those I have drawn...and yet we can both love it. It has irony. And at the end you can sit and talk about how one can interpret the "loose" ending. This is why people of different beliefs can all love it!
One more thing - Chekhov draw a picture of the Russian people, the common people, that will stick with you forever. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
So this was a Tolstoy...... Hmph, the story doesn't say much except to reiterate how difficult and painful death can be, both physically and emotional...moreSo this was a Tolstoy...... Hmph, the story doesn't say much except to reiterate how difficult and painful death can be, both physically and emotionally. The story is way too short to establish empathy for Ivan Ilyich! He was a judge. A game of bridge was his favorite amusement. All his life he conformed to proper decorum, becoming with age aloof and irascible. What was the point of life - both he and the readers may ask?! Talk about a depressing book!!!!
The narration by Walter Zimmerman was certainly not bad, but it didn't add anything.(less)
A SHORT, short story and you now I am not into short stories. Still, I liked it. Why? Because Thurber lets you escape with Mitty into his fantasy worl...moreA SHORT, short story and you now I am not into short stories. Still, I liked it. Why? Because Thurber lets you escape with Mitty into his fantasy world, and you understand why he flees there. This has to be short, or it will be longer than the story itself.(less)
Definitely worth reading, but do NOT listen to the audiobook narrated by the author. She is a good author, but not a good narrator. Dreary, let me jus...moreDefinitely worth reading, but do NOT listen to the audiobook narrated by the author. She is a good author, but not a good narrator. Dreary, let me just leave it at that......
The writing reflects that she is trained as a journalist. However, the book is rather unstructured and reads as a group of different stories. Story after story of different Muslim women's experiences in the Middle East in the early 90s. Even if it isn't totally up-to-date you have to understand the past to understand the present.
I liked how the author distinguishes between different sources for current Islamic beliefs - the Koran, the Hadith and cultural practices.
I was upset by the double standard so often evoked in the stories.
The author clearly attacks the misogyny central to many Islamic beliefs...... She is a converted Jew. I was a teeny bit uncomfortable sometimes worrying to what extent her statements were completely objective. She did usually balance different views against each other, but I could hear through her intonation her own personal view on a subject. (Bad narration!)
Very interesting, but not a book where you engage yourself in the lives of the people mentioned.(less)
The audiobook Fishing the Sloe-Black River is a book of 12 short stories, narrated by Clodagh Bowyer, Tim Smallwood, Paul Nugent, Fiana Toibin, Sean G...moreThe audiobook Fishing the Sloe-Black River is a book of 12 short stories, narrated by Clodagh Bowyer, Tim Smallwood, Paul Nugent, Fiana Toibin, Sean Gormley, John Keating and Ed Malone. The Irish patois was perfectly executed by all except for the one story narrated by Ed Malone. Only he failed to space the words and give an intonation that fitted the lines well! I noted how if a narrator emphasizes the wrong words the meaning of the sentence would be messed up! Paul Nugent and Fiana Toibin must be Irish! Fiana even sang some songs for us! The lilt and the off-key tone could not have been improved upon.
I would not recommend listening to one story after the other, as I did. They all became jumbled in my head. I couldn't keep any of them straight. Some I didn't understand. So many people and such miserable existences; I was truly saddened. Usually this author makes me smile but only one story did that for me, and this was the second to the last one entitled "A Word in Edgewise"(Fiana Toibin). You soon realize that this is one woman reminiscing, as she lovingly and delicately paints makeup, for the last time, on the dead woman lying before her. Her lips, her cheeks, her eyebrows had to be done up just right! What these two did together! Shared jokes. Swimsuits today were nothing more than dental floss! Maybe their suits were more substantial but they were "a wiggling too" back then! Re condoms: "It must be like washing your feet with socks on!" If you are anything like me you will smile. But this was the only story that had me smiling, and this is unusual for McCann. The stories were too depressing.
Many marvelous details that pepper his longer novels are repeated in these short stories. Repeated, they are less fun. Songdogs and fishing and marmalade cats and blue anoraks and even exact phrases from the novels are here.
So this book was just OK. This is my first two star rating for a McCann book. Read something else by McCann. This is not representative of what he can write. However, I am not going to return this book to Audible. Why? Because I did like that one story, the one mentioned above. It was that good; I will listen to it again. It is beautiful and funny and sad, all rolled together. (less)
"Everything In This Country Must" is quite simply too short.
The title story only lasts 23 minutes. I am listening to the audiobook performance. Yes,...more"Everything In This Country Must" is quite simply too short.
The title story only lasts 23 minutes. I am listening to the audiobook performance. Yes, it feels like a performance, not the reading of a story! The narration by Clodagh Bowyer, in her young feminine Irish patois, was fantastic. The book’s narrator is a fifteen year old. Her perception of the event is that of a young Catholic Irish girl. She saw the body of the male swimmer. That is what she would see. She saw the agony and frustration of her father. She saw both, and there she stands wondering how one reconciles the two! Politics and religion and culture all mirrored in one short episode. I end up frustrated because I want more! I have been given a beautiful snapshot!
The second story lasts only 26 minutes, narrated by Paul Nugent. This story shows the other side, a Presbyterian family living in Northern Ireland. The point of contention is here within the family. Secrets. Still, very, very Irish! I am less sure what McCann is trying to tell us, but the small details create a picture that you feel rather than see. The short remarks, which can scarcely be called dialog, capture the mood perfectly. Another snap-shot, but less satisfying because I don’t know what is being said.
Awfully glad that the next track is two hours and forty minutes long. Something to bite into and hold a while…. This one is narrated by Sean Gormley. Beautiful. That is the best adjective to describe this. McCann knows how to capture a person, that person’s cultural identity, age, family, circumstances and what makes that person who he is. He knows how to capture the wonderful in the sorrowful. He knows how to make you draw parallels between the book’s characters and your own loved ones. The main character is a Catholic, 13 years old and Irish. The setting is, I would guess, in the early 1980s. The themes are sexual awakening, family relationships, friendship and of course the religious/political strife that so characterizes Northern Ireland. You don’t have to be interested in the political theme to love this book. Any mother who has had a 13 year old son will relate to this book. It is believable, it is sweet, and it is hard. This too is a snap shot, of a few weeks in a thirteen-year-old's life. Do you remember swimming with your young adolescent son, splashing water, the cold air, the quiet lake, the pull on your arms as you propel yourself forward?
Took away one star only because the “glimpses” are too short and the middle short story confused me. It is amazing that I can give a book of short stories many stars! (less)
Delightful. I highly recommend this audiobook narrated by Donal Donnelly if you want immersion into the most Irish of Ireland, the Aran Islands. The t...more Delightful. I highly recommend this audiobook narrated by Donal Donnelly if you want immersion into the most Irish of Ireland, the Aran Islands. The three islands (Inis Mór, Inis Meáin and Inis Óirr) are located in Galway Bay. This is a book relating the author's experiences, a famed playwright, who visited the island several times 1898-1901 on the suggestion of Yeats. These visits are the bedrock for his plays. The narrator's brogue is fantastic and further enhances ones experience. Listen to it, don't read it.
You get fables, depiction of the food, clothing, occupations and the islanders' simple "manner of being". You learn about kelp burning, thatching, rope making, farming, fishing, the festivals and the fairies.
What makes this book is HOW it is written - the language used, the brogue, and the simple, straight-forward speech of the islanders. The stories are simple and many you will recognize (Three Billy Goats Gruff and The Goose that Lays Golden Eggs and more), although clothed in the islands' mantle. There is subtle humor. You will feel as though you are yourself sitting in front of a hearth hearing the stories, engulfed by fog and tangy salt smells. A delightful reading experience.
I never felt the author looked down on these islanders, as some other readers have noted. (less)