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How To Get Along With Women

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  100 ratings  ·  17 reviews
A sharply original debut collection, How To Get Along With Women showcases Elisabeth de Mariaffi''s keen eye and inventive voice. Infused with a close and present danger, these stories tighten the knot around power, identity, and sexuality, and draw the reader into the pivotal moments where - for better or for worse - we see ourselves for what we truly are. ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published October 1st 2012 by Invisible Publishing
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Sep 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: canlit, short-stories
If there were awards for best book titles, this would be a serious contender. The only problem with such a snappy and sassy title - assuming one can indeed call it a problem - is that it immediately raises expectations.

After a bit of a bumpy start with "Dancing on the Tether", I was quickly won over by the stories that followed. "Kiss Me Like I’m The Last Man On Earth" and "He Ate His French Fries in a Light–hearted Way" were both fantastic pieces that had me waging an internal war between linge
Ann Douglas
The short stories in this collection read like assignments for a fiction-writing workshop. I like the fact that the author is willing to experiment with language and structure, but some of these things can become distracting to the reader (for example: the lack of quotation marks when characters are speaking). Maybe this type of book simply isn't my thing. PS The title was great. I would have loved a collection of short fiction tied to that theme. ...more
Yutaka Dirks
Sep 19, 2013 rated it liked it
I reviewed the collection for Briarpatch magazine:

How to Get Along With Women is a finely written collection exploring the ways our identities, our most intimate relationships, and our experiences can be shaped by the world we inhabit, a world mapped by dynamics of power. De Mariaffi’s insights pierce deepest when she brings the reader close to the heart of her characters.
Aug 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
A self-assured debut collection of short stories, focusing on female relationships and the power struggles that come along with them, whether these are romantic relationships or female friendships. Elisabeth de Mariaffi has such a keen eye for detail and a killer ability for getting into the minds of her characters.

Full review to come in Quill & Quire.
Sep 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Two stars for how much I actually enjoyed the collection (only 'The Astonishing Abercrombie!' did I really like), but three for the obvious craft and skill, which I could admire, even if most of these stories failed to connect with me on an emotional level. ...more
Oct 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
I aligned myself with another researcher. We held meetings after hours and made lists and lists of questions. In partnership, we created a new study that would follow the men from their formative, pre-man years. This was to be our life’s work. My partner took charge of the Centre for Specimen Generation. It was her job to sweep the men’s holes for tissue, sample the tissue for DNA, fill our test tubes with nutritive agar. We built glass enclosures, fifteen per lab, and incubated the bodies as if ...more
Peter B
Dec 21, 2017 rated it liked it
A short story collection on the Giller LongList and I usually like short stories but these abandoned me somehow. I enjoyed the characters but struggled with the style and the absence of a thread to hold as I went through each story.

Review by Yutaka Dirks

The 11 stories in Elisabeth de Mariaffi's debut story collection, How to Get Along With Women, take place in locales as diverse as Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, and Marseille, France. The stories are intimately linked to their particular settings; in each, de Mariaffi explores how the characters' actions are shaped by their geographical, historical or political place in the world.

The 10-year-old protagonist of "Kiss Me Like I'm The Last
Feb 13, 2013 rated it liked it
de Mariaffi does a lot of things really well here, most notably layering emotional TNT and building tension as the reader waits for it to go off, tentatively turning pages. But often the explosion never quite happens, or it fizzles and smokes and chokes and is never quite resolved. Something like that. But she's a very skilled writer, some kind of expert in the frail human psyche. Best gems included "Kiss Me Like I'm the Last Man on Earth" and "The Astonishing Abercrombie!" ...more
Corinne Wasilewski
Apr 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Stories with deeply flawed (immature? selfish?)characters who lack insight and tend to behave in ways that hurt others and/or themselves. Many stories left me with a pit in my stomach -- they were that good ("good" as in true to life). Reminded me of "Hellgoing" by Lynn Coady, although, I think this is a better collection. The writing is stellar, by the way. ...more
Feb 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading this book is like grappling with a skilled, but sexy fighter: you'll come away exhilarated, sweaty, and more-than-likely punched in the balls. Really sharp stuff, and a very original voice for Canada. ...more
Oct 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Excellent collection of short fiction -- a smart, surprising voice, memorable writing with narrative and turns of phrase that at times just blew me away. I can't wait to read whatever Elisabeth writes next. Highly recommended! ...more
Peter Darbyshire
Dec 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book so much I wanted to give it six stars instead of just five. So I carved a new star into the screen of my computer.
Feb 03, 2014 rated it did not like it
Wasn't my cup of tea. ...more
Oct 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Some of the stories in this book were deeply inspiring while others left me downright confused by their placing in this book.
Oct 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Excellent. Loved the flow and language. I like the curtness of her writing and her people.
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Elisabeth de Mariaffi is the author of a new collection of short stories, How To Get Along With Women (Invisible Publishing, 2012).

Her poetry and short fiction have been widely published in magazines across Canada, and she's one of the wild minds behind the highly original Toronto Poetry Vendors, a small press that sells single poems by established Canadian poets through toonie vending machines.

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