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Hopeful Monsters

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  102 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
“Hopeful monsters” are genetically abnormal organisms that, nonetheless, adapt and survive in their environments. In these devastating stories, the hopeful monsters in question are those who will not be tethered by familial duty nor bound by the ghosts of their past.

Home becomes fraught, reality a nightmare as Hiromi Goto weaves her characters through tales of domestic cri
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Paperback, 176 pages
Published September 1st 2004 by Arsenal Pulp Press (first published March 1st 2004)
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Charles
Apr 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Stuff I Read - Hopeful Monsters by Hiromi Goto Review

I picked this up in preparation for Wiscon '14 where the author will be one of the guests of honor. It's something of a strange thing, this collection, very dark, very concerned with the themes of death and dirth and family and culture. If it was just that I'd be tempted to say that it is typical, but this collection was anything but typical. The stories, ranging from rather mundane tales of picking relatives up at the airport to those featuri
...more
Ben Nash
Most of the stories in this collection stick in the mind. Goto creates strong characters, places, and situations. The horror she finds in some common parts of life becomes that much more visceral for it.

"Tales from the Breast" was the closest to a twist-ending story here, but it was a great one. Funny and a bit terrifying at the same time. Sometimes a person's body can become alien to them, and the portrayal of just how difficult breast-feeding might be worked to heighten that sense.

"Drift" wasn
...more
Bree
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
So I'll be honest - while the writer and the reader in me agree that this collection is beautifully, even masterfully written, many of its subtleties are completely lost on me. It's not a collection to sit down and read in a sitting or two - though it was assigned as a reading assignment for a graduate class to be completed in a week. This one takes digesting and contemplation and several re-reads. While I generally appreciate that kind of complexity - I think this collection is missing balance. ...more
Joel
Jan 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
I was very impressed with this book of stories.

Many of them have twists of fantasy, especially at their ending; but they are rooted in domestic life and family dynamics. Two of the best stories, "Hopeful Monsters" and "Tales From the Breast", deal specifically with the trials of pregnancy and new motherhood. Many of the stories depict cross-cultural marriages between a Japanese and a Westerner; in "Camp Americana", an old, traditional Japanese man struggles to come to terms with his son's Wester
...more
Melinda
An excellent collection of short stories dealing with themes of family, birth, motherhood and mother-daughter relationships. Using magical realism, Goto, explores life experiences of immigrants and communities that are "othered" America, in particular, Canada.

What I really connected with from this collection of short stories was the realness of the characters' experiences. The mother who is breastfeeding and the physical and emotional pain she experiences as well as the ways that her feelings a
...more
Jingshi
Oct 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
Incredibly apt and descriptive prose. Sometimes I found her stories a little too metaphysical or monologue-ish, but more often her choices of words arrested and amazed me. It is worth obtaining this collection for the title story alone. The description of of how her protagonist received bad news will stick with me for a long time.
Jude McLaughlin
Jan 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Start with Shirley Jackson's cynicism and sense of horror, mix in the mythic and folkloric qualities of Nalo Hopkinson's work, and add a dash of poetry, and you have Goto's short stories. We got this volume after listening to Goto read from "Tales From the Breast" at WisCon, and the end of the story was not a disappointment. The rest of the stories are just as good, and just as gripping.
Pamster
Jul 23, 2013 rated it liked it
The title story made me almost throw up. I was like, oh my god, I cannot read this while I eat. THEN I was like, I DON'T HAVE TO FINISH IT AT ALL. I let it gooooo. Some of the other stories were really good, but still a lot of gross body stuff making me uneasy throughout. Bods! Yuck!
Marcus
Sep 13, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: 21st-century, fiction
Tales of domestic life, almost all from a Japanese woman's perspective. Not written for my demographic.

Stinky Girl stands head and shoulders above the rest.

Other stories I would give the thumbs up to:
Tales from the Breast
Drift (was ok)
Home Stay
From Across a River
Leseparatist
Oct 23, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013, can-lit
The stories are such a mixed bag - I really enjoyed some of them (including the title one) and others left me completely unimpressed.
Kyle
Dec 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novel-studies
Amazingly abnormal (and sometimes scary) short stories that examine a lot of complex themes.
Kazza
Jan 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Hit or miss. Some really great stories and some that I didn't quite follow. Overall enjoyable.
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Hiromi’s first novel, Chorus of Mushrooms (1994), received the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book in the Caribbean and Canada region and was co-winner of the Canada-Japan Book Award. Her short stories and poetry have been widely published in literary journals and anthologies. Her second novel, The Kappa Child (2001), was a finalist for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Regional ...more
More about Hiromi Goto

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