mstan's Reviews > Ladies and Gentlemen

Ladies and Gentlemen by Adam Ross
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's review
Nov 12, 11

bookshelves: american, short-stories, src-fall-2011, favourites
Read on November 12, 2011, read count: 1

There are some slight flaws to the short stories (the endings to some of them are rather abrupt or conversely, long-drawn) but I was blown away by all of them nonetheless. This is the type of short story I enjoy - meandering between past and present and different perspectives, yet thoroughly engaging and grounded in reality and relationships - snapshots of daily life, if you will. While my favourite short story writers Raymond Carver and Alice Munro differ very much in their styles, they provide this as well. The hyped contemporary writers Ben Loory and Jim Shepard, whom I've read recently, are a little too avant-garde for my taste.

Ross's stories center around how people fit against each other, into time, and into society. 'Futures', the first story, explores the bleakness of unemployment in modern America and juxtaposes this against the smugness and fecklessness of youth, who feel that there is no need to commit to any single thing just as yet. 'When in Rome' is about two brothers - one who becomes a successful lawyer and the other who drifts about doing semi-criminal things. 'The Suicide Room' - an absolutely fantastic piece - is about the invincibility of (college-aged) youth. There are only seven stories and the other four are just as good. The images Ross's writing evokes will stay with me for a long time: a room full of blood but with no trace of human bodies visible; (view spoiler); a violent mugging in the streets; the desperate cry of a man who realises he can detect the colours of other people's 'auras' during his job interview.

There are no good or bad people in Ross's world, merely many flawed ones. Try as we might not to identify with them, it's hard not to.
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