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Demons in the Spring

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  641 ratings  ·  99 reviews
Demons in the Spring is a collection of twenty short stories by Joe Meno, author of the smash hits The Boy Detective Fails and Hairstyles of the Damned,  with illustrations by twenty artists from the fine art, graphic art, and comic book worlds--Todd Baxter, Kelsey Brookes, Ivan Brunetti, Charles Burns, Nick Butcher, Steph Davidson, Evan Hecox, Kim Hiorthoy, Paul Hornschem ...more
Hardcover, 300 pages
Published September 1st 2008 by Akashic Books (first published 2008)
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Apr 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I know that I just kind of run around goodreads yelling about stuff, but I feel like I need to do a good job with this one. 'Cause it was so good, y'know? But it's very early and I'm sick and only awake because my girlfriend is sicker than me and I want to be able to shut the dog up if the dog starts flipping out and barking. So my girlfriend can keep sleeping.

Yesterday my boss got married. Well, two days ago, but yesterday was the reception, and anyway, two days ago I was too busy being a drun
Jason Jordan
Aug 25, 2008 rated it liked it
A mixed bag, this one.

While I enjoy the different fonts and illustrations, I prefer the latter to actually pertain to the story at hand. Many do, and are great, but some are too random for my tastes.

Stories I like: "Frances the Ghost," "The Sound before the End of the World," "Animals in the Zoo," "Ghost Plane," "Miniature Elephants Are Popular," "The Unabomber and My Brother," "Art School Is Boring So," "Oceanland," "Get Well, Seymour!," "Airports of Light"

Stories I don't like or don't partic
Nov 06, 2008 rated it it was ok
Eh. I enjoyed the pictures a lot more than the stories.
Oct 06, 2008 rated it liked it
not to sound too hokey and dramatic but this book changed my entire perspective on what i may or may not like to read.

first off, i got the audiobook only to discover that the real deal was more of an "event" book with different fonts and illustrations by some of my favorite artists. so i was bitter right away. i LOVE that kind of stuff where the form and function of a book is experimented with and feel it can change the entire experience one has with the stories within.

but about half way throug
Jason Pettus
Sep 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

Earlier this year I was asked by our pals at Akashic Books to contribute a review of a single short story as a promotional project for Joe Meno's 2008 collection Demons in the Spring, recently reissued in paperback form as a fundraiser for the very worthy 826CHICAGO. And that garnered me a review copy of t
Aug 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
It has been awhile (high school) since I've read anything written by Joe Meno. The short stories in Demons are just as inventive, charming, and quirky as I remembered his writing to be. Each story was modern but surreal, and I found myself wishing many of them wouldn't end. My favorite shorts included "Frances the Ghost," "What A Schoolgirl You Are," and most of all, "Miniature Elephants Are Popular." The illustrations and typography by different artists that were provided for each story also ad ...more
Jan 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
I loved some and hated others. Some of the illustrations were fabulous, others were shit. I loved, "I Want the Quiet Moments of a Party Girl", "frances the Ghost", "The Unabomber and My Brother" ... actually, I loved a lot of them. Particularly the one about the miniature elephant.

I am a fan of Joe Meno. I'm sure that If I had read this book when in a more sour state of mind, this review would be an entirely different thing but I was totally up for hipster quirk, it was much enjoyed. I do, howe
Nov 18, 2007 rated it liked it
A little bit of a let down, considering how excited I was about it's release. This book ebbed and flowed for me: some of the stories were tops, some of Meno's finest short work, and some just weren't all that great.

Highlights included: Frances the Ghost, It Is Romance, What A Schoolgirl You Are, Miniature Elephants Are Popular, The Architecture of The Moon, The Unabomber and My Brother, Art School Is Boring So, Oceanland, and Airports of Light.
Mar 09, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
I'm going to stop reading him. Joe Meno (in my opinion -- sorry, V) is clever-clever, the kind of writing you encounter in MFA programs. Nothing that is really sustained. Sometimes when you're reading it you might enjoy it, but ultimately, you feel similar to how you feel post-Chinese food - hungry, sick, and bleh.
Aug 28, 2013 rated it did not like it
If Zooey Deschannel were a book, this would be that book. Annoyingly twee, dripping with smugness and predictable whimsy. I really, really wanted to like these stories. I did not. They read like overly earnest undergraduate prose. He does have creative ideas at times and I'd still like to give his novels a try, but my expectations have been lowered.
Jan 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
I'm still actually only about halfway through this collection, but so far I've loved every story in it, even though they've all been wildly different from one another. It's like Meno is daring himself to be a new kind of storyteller every time he starts up a new story.
Aug 24, 2011 rated it it was ok
I have sort of a thing about fiction author Joe Meno. Years and years ago, a friend gave me his short story collection Bluebirds Used to Croon in the Choir, and I loved it (and much later, after a reread, reviewed it here). On the basis of my liking that book, I more recently read his novel The Great Perhaps, which I liked much less (reviewed here). Meno for me is much like Richard Powers, in that I think there's a lot of potential there but he fails to live up to it, so far, more than he lives ...more
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-star-rating
This book has been on my to-read list for nearly six years, so i was beyond excited to see that it was available at the library in my new city. Some of the stories in this collection are SUPER WEIRD and I’m not sure if it’s me simply not getting the point of them or they’re legitimately nonsensical, but I certainly didn’t find myself bored a single moment while reading. Some of my favorite stories in the anthology were “Ghost Plane”, “What a Schoolgirl You Are”, “Miniature Elephants Are Popular” ...more
Nikki McDaniel
Jun 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
Most of the characters were depressed or despondent or at least unhappy. I didn't really enjoy the stories.
Mar 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read this book several years ago and I'm not exaggerating when I say it changed my life. I found it on a whim and I'm so glad I did. Joe is one of my long time favorite authors now.
Brittany Kubes
Nov 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Delightful short stories. It’s always the case that I’m irritated to pick up a book of short stories, but am then consistently pleasantly surprised. It’s hard to start books – like meeting a potential new friend, you need to get to know one another and grow into attachment. Due to the obvious length of a short story, I always feel like it’ll be akin to becoming friends after bumping into each other on the street (i.e. impossible to love in allotted time)... Despite that, it was a very good colle ...more
Rachael Quinn
Apr 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
I don't usually read short stories but I am always willing to make an exception for one of my favorite authors. With Demons in the Spring, I never regretted making that exception.

Meno has a way with words. His novels are always heartbreaking and difficult and this set of short stories follows suite. The stories are odd. There is one about a woman who becomes a cloud whenever her husband kisses her. There is one about a girl who has a tumor that progresses the same way a city would until there is
Jan 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
i really, really liked this book. these are really great short stories. the only reason that this is not a 5 star rating is that i get really caught up by the definition, "it was amazing." few books are truly amazing and should stick with you for years to merit a rating that high. i don't really know if these stories will stick with me for years. probably not, though they're fresh, original, and, lacking a better way to say this, fully developed. each story is its own distinct and wonderful worl ...more
Jan 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
One of the things that impresses me most about Meno is how adept he is at both naturalistic and magical realist fiction. Two of my favorite stories in this collection, "Miniature Elephants are Popular" and "Airports of Light" explore striking, original, and emotionally resonant metaphors for grief and loss. (I thought the similarly themed "The Architecture of the Moon" was a shade less successful.) "I Want the Quiet Moments of a Party Girl" portrays a young couple struggling to move beyond trage ...more
Jan 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
These collections of stories were hit or miss but I felt towards the end I enjoyed most of the short stories I had read. Even within the stories I didn't like so much, I liked the relationship between characters. An example is "The Sound Before the End of the World". It lagged a bit but despite the distance between the father and his children, & his wife, there was something there. I was impressed that Meno could convey that.

I was also impressed by his vast imagination. He created a made-up
Feb 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes you can judge a book from its cover....from its concept....from its design. Yet none of that works without the writing, and as always, Meno's writing is brilliant in this collection of short stories. (Although I couldn't really get into "Iceland Today," which I just thought was....well I don't know what I thought of the fictional Country Profile of Iceland.)

Quirky characters populate this collection, endearing in their melancholic worlds. Loss is a theme that dominates many of the stor
Dan Phillips
Jan 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011
I enjoyed Meno's novel, Hairstyles of the Damned, so I thought I would give his short stories a try. I was not disappinted. A fair number of the pieces incorporate what I guess you'd call "magical realism" (though I'm not sure I have that right -- it's been a while since I was in college.) Stuff like people turning into clouds, and miniature cities growing inside peoples' chests. In the best cases, these twists in reality create a surprisingly touching effect, especially in the story "The Archit ...more
Mar 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Meno bounces between absurdity and tenderness with the nimbleness of a featherweight boxer. Most of these stories are excellent, a few exceptional, and there are only one or two that I didn't enjoy. Meno has created the perfect voice for alternating between playfulness and sincerity. The prose usually hangs somewhere on the edge, ready to topple down either way, often splitting itself to the point where the reader doesn't know whether to be amused or heartbroken. Like my favorite writers, Meno t ...more
Nov 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
Narrated by Victor Bevine

8 hrs and 18 mins

PUBLISHER Audible, Inc.


Publisher's Summary
This is an Audible IndieFirst selection.

Demons in the Spring is a collection of 20 short stories by Joe Meno, author of the smash hits The Boy Detective Fails and Hairstyles of the Damned.

In these stories, oddly modern moments occur in the most familiar of public places, from offices to airports to schools to zoos to emergency rooms: a young girl refuses to go anywhere unless she's dr
Feb 17, 2010 rated it it was ok
Outside of handful of meaningful and good stories: "An Apple Could Make You Laugh," "Miniature Elephants are Popular," I Want the Quiet Moments of a Party Girl," and "The Unabomber and my Brother," I found this collection by Joe Meno gimmicky and unsatisfying.

I really wanted to like this book, because of the physical beauty of the book and because my dear friend Miranda picked it for our book club, but a significant amount of the stories felt superficial to me. The characters often lacked devel
Aug 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of Steven Milhauser
A collection of magic realist short stories from Joe Meno, all of which are characterized by a sense of exoticism, isolation, melancholy, and beauty. Although the stories range in subject, they all show what happens when longing can't be expressed in a "normal" way, due to the contemporary zeitgeist of disconnect and escapist fantasy. Like the titular elephants in "Miniature Elephants are Popular," Meno's characters have hearts that are so sensitive to pain that they are in constant danger of be ...more
Jun 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: phenomenal, read-2008
Oh really, I don't know what to say. This book is magnificent, just magnificent, and this close to unbearably sad, most of it. The stories are incredible, incredibly moving. The book itself is as gorgeous as the stories. The illustrations (minus one or two artists) are beautiful, and beautifully compliment the stories. The thick pages and fuzzy cover and big type and pretty pictures... it all combines to really force you to savor every aching minute of each shockingly great story. And I don't ev ...more
Nik Markevicius
Apr 15, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stopped-reading
I'm probably not going back to this one. These short stories are the kind which seem like they should go further, tell more, and have a lot more plot, and yet this consistently doesn't happen. If you're one of those who say shorties don't have to go anywhere or do more than exist, you're probably giving me the finger right now, but if you like your literary fiction to tell a story, I'd encourage you to look at Meno's "Hairstyles of the Damned" rather than this collection.

On the other hand, the
Feb 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Joe Meno has a real knack for creating fantastical situations that could never occur in reality and making them seem completely plausible. And the normal, everyday aspects of these stories such as not liking your roommate because they always have noisy sex while you sit in your bedroom alone wearing a space helmet contemplating a celebrity poop fanzine are so charming, I never felt depressed reading them.

My favorite moment though had to be the dad threatening his daughter's would be suitor by sh
Aug 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
One of the best short story collections I've ever read. A great mix of magical realism and just plain realism. The stories use fantasy in a way I think is ideal - as happenstance of the stories. They're not fables or allegories, no more than any other story is, but they have these elements in them that adds to the richness and peculiarities of the story's universe. Whether the story has elements of fantasy or not, each one has a beautiful sense of character. Not all of them are home runs, but mo ...more
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Joe Meno is a fiction writer and playwright who lives in Chicago. A winner of the Nelson Algren Literary Award, the Great Lakes Book Award, a Pushcart Prize, the Society of Midland Author's Fiction Prize, and a finalist for the Story Prize, he is the author of seven novels and two short story collections. He is also the editor of Chicago Noir: The Classics. A long-time contributor to the seminal c ...more
“The city glitters past us with its sharp edges, reminding us of how tiny, how weak, how totally unimportant we are.” 24 likes
“Being decent is the only thing that matters in a terrible world like this.” 8 likes
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