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What's Important Is Feeling: Stories

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  280 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Bankers prowl Brooklyn bars on the eve of the stock market crash. A debate over Young Elvis versus Vegas Elvis turns existential. Detoxing junkies use a live lobster to spice up their love life. Students on summer break struggle to escape the orbit of a seemingly utopic communal house.

And in the title story, selected for The Best American Short Stories, two film school bud
Paperback, 224 pages
Published February 25th 2014 by Harper Perennial
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Average rating 3.54  · 
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Antonia Crane
Apr 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Adam Wilson's "What's Important is Feeling" is an exuberant "Fuck You" for every pimply kid in high school who was under-fucked and over friend-zoned. His collection of stories contains joy, ennui and unforgettable visuals like being accused of beating off on a Frida Kahlo poster in the bathroom (the dried come, her tears). Wilson's stories, at times, are absolutely gorgeous and vivid. While reading Adam's prose, I sensed Sam Lipsyte's "Venus Drive" watching, like a peeping tom in the corner, je ...more
Jun 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-book, short-stories
My initial reason for choosing this book is that the author went to Tufts (as did I) and worked at my favorite book store (Book Court) and lives in Brooklyn (as do I), so it seemed like I should. And upon further diligence (and NOT cyber-stalking) I deduced that I had his father as an English professor. All that said, the best reason for choosing this book should be the writing. The stories capture so many cringe-worthy moments of life with tenderness and that right mix of humor where you don't ...more
Paul Rome
Jan 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Based on reading the e-book single, Soft Thunder, the title story in The Paris Review, and Some Nights We Tase each other in Vice, I'm very excited for the rest of this collection. The lyricism of the prose alone makes reading Wilson worth it, but there's so much more going on each time. Wilson's eye for the human condition has to be one of the fiercest out there. His stories strike that hard to achieve balance of ruthlessness and warmth.
Susie Brancaccio
Sep 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
We Close Our Eyes was by far my favorite story from this collection, and possibly one of my favorite short stories of all time.
Jan 21, 2020 added it
Shelves: 2020
Adam Wilson builds landscapes of relationships then sets avalanches upon them.
Ryan Morris
Of the 12 short stories contained within these pages, I really only enjoyed 5 of them: the first 4 and #6. So as you can imagine things went pretty slow during the last half of the book. If I was only rating the first half, I'd be hard-pressed not to give What's Important Is Feeling a 4/5, probably even a 4 1/2.
The stories I enjoyed contained so much raw heartbreak, angst and coming-of-age. I would not hesitate to read a full-length novel by Adam Wilson as his voice is unique in both its humor a
Gino Alfonso
Jan 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Witty, fun and poignant reminiscent of Brett Easton Ellis's Rules of Attraction and Woody Allen coming of age humor. I wouldn't recommend for anyone under the age of 16 but after that very highly recommend! Laughed out loud on almost every page. ...more
Jun 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. Edgy yet eloquent, funny and simply wonderful.
Mar 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Polly Bresnick
Oct 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Spot on, cringe-y, hilarious and true rendering of the difficulties of being a person.
Very funny in a laconic way that had me tittering on the bus,these stories give a skewed peak on a world too absurd to take too seriously.
What's Important Is Feeling falls into the same trap that many collections do, in that it's too consistent in regards to its theme, its characters, its setting. Many of the leads are young Jewish men struggling with love, relationships, and their transition to adulthood. They do drugs. They live on the east coast for the most part. What this amounts to is a collection in which each story is an echo of the previous one. They aren't carbon copies, but they aren't wholly different either. Some peop ...more
Brandon Tietz
Jan 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
"What's Important Is Feeling" falls into the same trap that many collections do, in that it's too consistent in regards to its theme, its characters, its setting. Many of the leads are young Jewish men struggling with love, relationships, and their transition to adulthood. They do drugs. They live on the east coast for the most part. What this amounts to is a collection in which each story is an echo of the previous one. They aren't carbon copies, but they aren't wholly different either. Some pe ...more
Laura Phelps
Dec 14, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I had very mixed feelings about this collection. The stories were, for the most part, written very well, but some of them were also very boring. (Most of) The protagonists didn't do anything but sex and drugs, which is fine in a story or even a few but the whole collection? Not so much.

There were a few stories that left strong impressions, and a few that I ended wishing I hadn't begun. I'd have to say "We Close Our Eyes" was my favorite, with "Tell Me" a close second. Either "The Long Inbetween"
Oct 23, 2014 rated it liked it

Don't know why I chose this one, probably read somewhere this was a hot author. Maybe, but I didn't care for these stories on the whole. A couple of good ones, but, unfortunately, they all sound the same. Young people getting stoned and having bad sex. It seems like every single story is in the first person, I'm not going back to make sure. All the narrators are young white males with pretty much the same problems. The title story was in Best American Short Stories, what a mystery that is! Best
David Macpherson
Dec 31, 2013 rated it it was ok
A collection of short stories where middle classed guys (usually Jewish, usually from New England) live unhappy existences, do a lot of a drugs, pine for girls, feel awkward, and end unfullfilled; a few end with epilogues talking about crappy jobs and doomed marriages. It kind of wore me down. The writer is good at getting you into a story, but they tend not to be places I like to be. The writing is smooth and funny, I just felt I was reading the same story over and over. Two stories were better ...more
Mar 28, 2014 rated it liked it
This was an uneven short story collection. Some of the stories were beautifully written, and left you in a haze of thoughtful melancholy. Others were juvenile, written in a format or with prose designed more to shock or challenge rather than elucidate.

Wilson is at his best when he describes the emotions and angst of young men. He authentically captures the dialogue and frustrations of educated, privileged young men who are nevertheless at a loss for what to do or feel - or how to achieve happine
stories of young people wondering how to be How Should a Person Be? set mostly in boston and or nyc area.
i about gave up after 1st two, but my opinion? skip those and start with and don't stop till
things i had
december boys got it bad
some night we tase each other
we close our eyes
tell me
sluts at heart
america is me and andy
what's important is feeling

then you could finish the rest as you wish.
Richard Epstein
Jan 08, 2014 rated it liked it
These are good stories, and Mr Wilson writes well in a smooth and telling prose. They suffer from what would once have been called New Yorker-itis, an excess of ironic distance, as though all the characters were looked at too closely from too great a distance. It's a defect, even when it lies at the heart of the writer's style.

Full disclosure: I was sent this book in exchange for my review.
Sep 21, 2014 rated it liked it
Probably a 3.5. Related too much to some of these middle class fuck ups and their existential angst. Accurate for their male type but often annoyingly reductive portraits of women from these narrators.
May 20, 2014 rated it it was ok
Wilson often alludes to the social class of his characters--Wall Street types vs. those who went to their state schools, etc.--but the result is always the same--drugs and ennui. There's some heart here, which is nice, and some humor too, but I just didn't love it. ...more
Katie Coxall
Dec 17, 2016 rated it it was ok
all of the stories were pretty similar; abt adulthood, angsty teenagers smoking weed and sex but i guess thats what the description of the book said it would include. i dont know what i expected lol but it wasnt my fav, kind of dull
Feb 18, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: short-stories
Stories I wanted to like much more than I liked, I guess. Prose is enjoyable at times. Reads quickly, fluidly. The stories largely feel half-realized, however, all too often false-starting or fizzling. They repetitively cover the same ground, much of it unfortunately bro-y.
May 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
A collection of dark, angsty stories written in the very recognizable voice of the contemporary unfulfilled, intoxicated twenty-something man-child.
Mar 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
amazing language. some of the stories are a real masterpiece.
Mar 14, 2014 marked it as to-read
For sure reading this
Ben Brackett
Feb 25, 2014 rated it liked it
While I liked it, the reason I didn't like it more is because there were really no arcs, just moments about the characters. ...more
G Lee
May 10, 2014 rated it did not like it
Pretty awful collection of short stories. You can see the big difference between his short stories and stories from Alice Munro, Raymond Carver, Lorrie Moore, Charles D'Ambrosio, etc.

rated it really liked it
Nov 02, 2015
Chuck Pedroza
rated it liked it
Oct 01, 2014
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Adam Wilson is the author of the novel Flatscreen, a National Jewish Book Award finalist, and the collection of short stories What's Important Is Feeling. His stories have appeared in The Paris Review, Tin House, VICE, and The Best American Short Stories, among many other publications. In 2012 he received the Terry Southern Prize, which recognizes "wit, panache, and sprezzatura" in work published ...more

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