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May We Shed These Human Bodies

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  483 ratings  ·  92 reviews
***Best Small Press Debut of 2012 -- The Atlantic Wire***

May We Shed These Human Bodies peers through vast spaces and skies with the world's most powerful telescope to find humanity: wild and bright and hard as diamonds.
Paperback, 150 pages
Published September 30th 2012 by Curbside Splendor Publishing Inc. (first published September 14th 2012)
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4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  483 ratings  ·  92 reviews

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Oct 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
I love Amber Sparks’ imagination and her way with words and the vagueness of her stories. She writes stories that are super short but filled with meaning and metaphors and hints of deeper darkness and I adore this. She writes longer stories that resonate deeply, often filled with fairy-taleness in a way that makes them feel both familiar and wonderfully original; I adored this too. The stories in this collection all share her special brand of weirdness - and weird short stories are my favourite. ...more
Posted at Shelf Inflicted

This strange, experimental, imaginative collection is full of brilliant ideas and explores serious issues, but I felt many of the stories were a little too clever, wispy and insubstantial as air. I like the combination of magic realism, fantasy and horror and the variety of stories. There was enough weirdness and bizarre situations to capture my interest, and my enjoyment of stories by Aimee Bender and Kelly Link drew me to this collection. Unfortunately, the character
Joshua Nomen-Mutatio
Aug 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Amber Sparks creates the kind of fiction that I’m now realizing is a sort of yin to my maximalist pomo yang. The elegant restraint and concision of the sort that I’ve been thoroughly enjoying since reading a few other (odd coincidence) A-name authors of a similar bent (Amelia Gray, Alissa Nutting, Aimee Bender) who also exude a real knack for the casually fantastical, the slyly and smartly surreal, the ability to burrow down into the whimsy and tribulations of childhood and the darkened corridor ...more
Richard Thomas
Jul 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing

As its title suggests, May We Shed These Human Bodies (Curbside Splendor) by Amber Sparks is a collection of stories that is grounded in reality, but often has a hint of the surreal, the supernatural, woven into its fabric. The power in these stories comes from the awareness that a life is at a tipping point, and the assignment of emotional weight to everyday events we typically ignore. Just out of sight, behind the curtain, in the sh
Jul 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
from publisher

Read 9/11/12 - 9/18/12
4 Stars - Strongly Recommended to fans of short stories that charm, intrigue, and warn...
Pgs: 145
Publisher: Curbside Splendor
Releases: Sept 30, 2012

Amber Sparks has a knack for saying a lot with very little. The short stories in this collection range anywhere from a few paragraphs to a few pages long, and yet they tell their story more clearly and more entirely than some novels I have read.

This book popped up on my radar way before the review copies were avail
Jen Campbell
Jan 19, 2016 rated it liked it
3.5 ☺ I'll talk about it in my next wrap up. ...more
Jessica Stevens
Aug 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I picked up this book from Pitchfork music festival, where they were selling a few extra advance review copies that they had. It was a total bargain and the book looked intriguing, and I was on a book-buying-kick that day, so I got it. I do not regret this decision one bit. The short stories in this book are a lot like chips - they are small, and very good, and you will sit down and read one and then read another and another and before you know it you've read half the book. However, even though ...more
Jason Pettus
Sep 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this review, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

Today's review comes with a bit of a personal bias; although I don't know author Amber Sparks other than being briefly introduced to her once at a party, her new book of stories has come out through our friends and peers over at Chicago's Curbside Splendor, a group that CCLaP frequently collaborates with
Peter Tieryas
Feb 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Adding the Youtube Video Review:
I really enjoyed this and reviewed it at the Collagist, which you can check out here:
Small segment from the review: "Amber Sparks, the fairy godmother of rebirth, has a wicked genius about her that transmogrifies the ordinary and makes us long to befriend the unusual gamut of quirky fiends that occupy her pages, even if it means losing a little skin in the process."
Nov 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Copy received through the Goodreads First Reads program.

"There were no books in the Afterwards, which the people thought was some serious bullshit." I fell in love with that line instantly, and it's only 3 pages into the book!

What an odd little collection of short stories. I don't mean that in a disparaging way at all--I think there was only one story in here that didn't really work for me. Several stories toy with experimental story structure, which often puts me off. Here, though, it works. Th
Michael Seidlinger
Oct 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Some of the most inventive fiction I've read in quite some time.
Sep 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Loved these stories from the brilliant mind of Amber Sparks very much.
Diana Ashkanani
Jun 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed the writing style!
Melanie Page
Jul 10, 2012 rated it liked it
What, exactly, is it? Sparks's book wears many hats. It's a collection of short stories and flash fiction. At times, it's a series of lists: objects in an exhibit, school periods and corresponding homework, numbering/bullet points, character types (Mother, Father, Child, etc.), math equations, and boxing rounds. It's an entry into all points of view: first, second, third. You'll find longer stories that are plot-driven, flash fictions that are exercises in descriptive language or pondering theor ...more
Mar 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lapl
Amber Sparks has the weird, wondering imagination of a child that some adults wish they still had, but most have completely forgotten.

I need to buy a copy of this physically thin, yet figuratively full collection of short stories. SO creative, strange, silly and beautiful. I cannot wait for Amber Sparks to publish again!

And I almost forgot! Found a small note inside this library book typed on an actual TYPEWRITER (can you believe it?!?!) stating: "I really enjoyed this collection, I hope you do
Ampersand Books
Jan 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Reviewed by C. L. Bledsoe

The first story in May We Shed These Human Bodies is one of the longest and best: “Death and the People,” a creation myth-esque story about Death taking all humans, all at once, because they couldn’t bear to have anyone die alone. This actually works out pretty well for a while. The Earth is able to cleanse itself of the damage and accumulated garbage and detritus people have left, and the People, as Death calls them, have lots of time to do things they enjoy. Of course,
Feb 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is maybe one of the best books of stories I've read in a while, a kaleidoscopic collection of narratives that had a real emotional charge, even when the form and especially the contents of the stories were, well, pretty fantastically far-out.

I think the wrap on this book is that these are newvaeu fairy tales, and I think they probably fit pretty well into that whole Bernheimer axis, but when I was reading, I kept thinking "myth, not fairy tale," like what was happening that was odd in the
Dec 13, 2013 rated it it was ok
This book of stories takes on heavy themes for a first collection - dementia, chemical weapons, the extinction of mankind, and bullying among them - and largely fails to do these themes justice. Choosing such content, Sparks might have set herself up for a nearly impossible task; other writers have devoted entire novels to any single one of these subjects, while Sparks breezes over each in a few pages. Her casual language throughout the book reenforces the feeling that she isn't willing or perha ...more
Rachel Petty
Jul 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
Incredible collection of such diverse characters, forms, themes, and how shall I say it, realms of existence? The prose is youthful and inventive. The kind of prose that makes you thankful that someone finally put into words the emotions you have been experiencing or the things you have been seeing. All the stories have a sort of "magic" to them. Just finished it and I already feel like I need to reread it.
Robert Kloss
Jun 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a diverse and exciting collection of stories and flash fiction. Both readable and formally inventive, comic and serious, contemporary and mythic, this is post-Nabokovian high literary experimental prose at its finest.
Oct 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Wow. These stories are so powerful. They punch you in the face. (In a good way.) I am extremely impressed by the wide range of voices in this collection. Each story is a delight and surprise.
Shane Bendaña
Oct 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
May We Shed These Human Bodies by Amber Sparks is a collection of thirty short stories, some of them a page or two in length. Most of these stories are modern fairy-tales gone wrong due to the inspiration of the idea of the fall of man. The first story in the collection, “Death and the People,” is a story much like Everyman and Dr. Faustus, yet more engaging and sarcastic. Death approaches the people and asks a single person to follow him to the afterlife, but the people are so close to one ano ...more
Curbside Splendor
Jun 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
We're publishing this book in September 2012. Amber Sparks' short stories have been widley published in literary journals. We're pulling her work together to show it off. It will punch you in the face, and you'll be thanful for it. You'll thank us. Thank the universe. Thank America. Enjoy.

“In May We Shed These Human Bodies, Amber Sparks proves herself not only a fine writer but also a high scientist of imaginative bliss: This is a collection of marvelous inventions, each one a wonder-machine pro
I read this a few months ago, but it looks like goodreads swallowed that review. Here's what I remember:

My favorite story (though there are many here) was "The Chemistry of Objects." In a collection this eclectic, it's hard to say that any one story's representative, but I remember reading that story and being really excited to read the rest of the book, which I think I did the same day.
Sep 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
"Why can't you just be a little bit brave, the nurse sighed. Why can't you.

But you just can't, that's all. It's the one thing you have no talent for: being a little bit brave."

--Study for the New Fictional Science

Really enjoyed this collection. The story "You Will Be the Living Equation" ripped my fucking heart out when I read it in Annalemma a year or two ago, and it ripped my heart out again when I read it here. Beautiful.
Aug 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
There is something about how Sparks puts words together, ideas in a sequence, that just is completely her own. People use the word "startling" too much, but that's what these stories are. They startle, and fascinate. Sometimes you read to be entertained, and sometimes you just marvel. This book is definitely a case of the latter.
Oct 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
The children are savory and tender, more delicious than the Grand Slam breakfast at Denny’s.

The short stories in this book all have a fairy tale-like, ethereal quality. This is a very cool little collection for those who enjoy dark and bizarre fiction.
Victor Giron
Jun 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I'm publishing this, so yeah I love it.
Oct 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Lyrical and affecting. A great volume of micro-fiction (with a few forays into prose poetry as well). Carry this around with you to look cool and intriguing.
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I adored Amber Sparks' second collection, The Unfinished World and Other Stories, which my parents bought for me from the wonderful Strand Bookstore in New York last year. I was therefore markedly impatient to get my hands on her debut short story collection, May We Shed These Human Bodies. Despite the moderate expense for a secondhand book, and the fact that I had to order it from the USA, I decided that it would be the perfect treat to read whilst on holiday in France in August.

May We Shed The
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“She thinks now that she has always been a person that needs layers. Not a scarf or a sweater, but walls between her and other people. A series of homes within homes. A series of places to hide.” 1 likes
“Fingerprint, he writes. A map to mark the spaces you’ve inhabited. A map you make yourself, quadrant by quadrant, inch by inch, until the landscape of your life looks like a vast and unexplored terrain. Here there be monsters, it will say.” 0 likes
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