Jessica's Reviews > Lust and Other Stories

Lust and Other Stories by Susan Minot
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Apr 01, 08

bookshelves: chicklits, crazy-ladies, love-and-other-indoor-sports
Recommended to Jessica by: Robert Barnett Newman
Recommended for: dull preppy girls who who get involved with men who will make them unhappy in quite specific ways
Read in March, 2008

So I guess Minot is kind of like Midge to Gaitskill's Barbie?

Or something...?

I wanted to like this book because Robert recommended it. While I always hope to like the things my friends and Booksters tell me to read, I suspect I was especially invested in dear Robert's tastes because he's probably the most encouraging reader I've ever (virtually) known, and that includes my mom.

Unfortunately I tried, and I didn't like it! Well, the first story, as many other Booksters here have noted, is very good, and earns a star. And the second story had a few things going for it too, actually, now that I think of it. And the very last story was quite fine. But then there was THE REST OF IT.... To me it read like a series of monologues about the guys these chicks have been sleeping with. That is boring! I already have to listen to my friends do that in my daily life! Plus she kept calling men "fellows" like that's normal and I found it distracting. More importantly, I was bored and just couldn't relate, maybe because I don't go to these sorts of parties or get myself in these sorts of relationships with these sorts of guys -- but that shouldn't matter! I mean seriously, I just wasn't interested in the situations or the people.... especially not the people.

Maybe I would've been more okay with this book if I'd just read a story at a time, over an extended period, instead of all just at once. As it was pretty early on I wanted to grab all these women violently by their shoulders and shake them hard and scream: "MAYBE IF YOU HAD MORE TO THINK ABOUT THAN YOUR CRAPPY LAME BOYFRIENDS THIS WOULD BE A WHOLE LOT BETTER FOR BOTH OF US!"
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Comments (showing 1-13 of 13) (13 new)

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message 1: by brian (last edited Jul 19, 2008 11:23PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

brian   i read this freshman year of college and was impressed. i was certain i was reading something important and relevant. naw. i was just young. read it four years later and hated it. tried to figure out why, so i gave it to my at-the-time girlfriend...

she summed it up nicely: beneath minot's supposed openness and rawness and experience... she's really just a prig who's had too much sex. the stories are dull and unimaginative and self-important and so damn precious (verging on the maudlin) that they make me want to scream.

and you are right to pinpoint the use of the word 'fellow', jessica -- whether it's a writer wanting to choose an oddball word for effect or a writer who's hopelessly out of touch is irrelevant... 'fellow' is microcosmic for the work as a whole.


message 2: by Jessica (last edited Apr 01, 2008 11:49AM) (new)

Jessica I'm glad to see I am not the only one is who is not lustful for "Lust & Other Stories." Minot's a good writer, I just never fell in love (or lust) with her. I do like Gaitskill...not her latest novel ("Veronica') but her stories...I admire them.


message 3: by Jessica (last edited Apr 01, 2008 03:40AM) (new)

Jessica I ain't dissing it...pas moi, but I can't speak for Brian and Jessica the Other. All I'M saying is I ain't in love with it. that's all.
what's up with that picture, Mauricio? Have you become Cats now? Is that Bardot??


message 4: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Bardot is a huge animal lover, protector, activist...so v appropriate, your meow...is that her, then?


message 5: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Mais non, Maurice! shoulda been:
"Oui...."


Jessica ....she's really just a prig who's had too much sex.

Harsh, Brian, but good call. Yeah, that was my sense too. I guess that's sort of what I meant by the characters being boring. At least in Gaitskill and Eisenberg, who have some similar themes, you feel like the characters are kind of interesting with strange motivations and want more than.... I dunno, an engagement ring? What do these girls want? Something pretty pedestrian.

Maybe it just hasn't aged that well.

Other Jessica, I'm glad you like Gaitskill. I see she likes you, too!


Jessica Poor Suzie...

That all makes sense, Robert. I'll agree that based on her author photo, Minot is almost painfully good-looking -- I hope you hit on her when you met, and found your way into one of these stories! I imagine this book is a dead on description of a certain time and milieu.... it just wasn't one that interested me much, I guess, though in the past I've been fascinated by New-York-in-the-Eighties stories.

I just remembered that this morning I had a dream about writing a Bookface review, in which I recommended the children's book The Paper Bag Princess to the characters in these stories. That's bad, huh, that I'm dreaming about Bookface? Okay, I'm off to the library.... where the big bad Internet can't get at me.


message 8: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Marshall: I think a lot do...But I am not one of them. I like to expose students to underexposed authors (no, I don't expose myself sillies!)


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

Jessica, exposing yourself might be good for your career.


message 10: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Donald, I'm happy with my career. I'm a writer but I'm also other things...it's not all I do or want to do.


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

Jessica, I was just joking. I would never asssume that an author, a damn good author BTW, needed to put themselves out further in any way.

I was making a naked woman joke. Get it?


message 12: by Jessica (new)

Jessica ah...yes, of course. But you see, that wouldn't help at all, I meant to tell you. The body is not at all what it used to be....I'm afraid it'd be a real turn off: sales would plummet immediately!


message 13: by Jessica (last edited Apr 02, 2008 08:38PM) (new)

Jessica Robert, in answer to you question: underexposed authors? Depends on the course I'm teaching, but one on fiction writing or the short story might include stories by: Kelly Link, Tamar Yellin, Elizabeth Harvor, Robyn Sarah, Javier Marias, Shelley Jackson, Rikki Ducornet, Brian Evenson, Benny Andersen, Dino Buzzati, Lydia Davis, Jon Baumbach, James Salter.... This is not to say of course, that I dismiss or neglect the masters: Trevor, Munro, Chekov, O'Connor, Welty, Carver, Dahl, Mansfield, Chopin, etc. In the fall I'll be teaching Global Literature. Can't wait. Am compiling the reading list now.


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