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Juliet Was a Surprise
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Juliet Was a Surprise

3.03  ·  Rating details ·  121 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
Gaston’s characteristic keen insight and wit dazzle in this new collection. Readers will see the world through the prism of unfamiliar perspectives: a bank executive whose excellent sex life might in fact be killing her, an amorous tree surgeon better attuned to the values of his “patients” than to other people, a vacationing schizophrenic, a pizza-delivery boy convinced h ...more
Paperback, 216 pages
Published June 3rd 2014 by Hamish Hamilton (first published August 1st 2013)
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Steven Buechler
Aug 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gaston is able to describe elements of the human condition in this book that seem to exist of the periphery of our day-to-day observations yet remain unnoticed until now. His prose is simple and easy to understand. Yet the scenes he creates are both familiar and surreal which makes his stories fascinating to read.

Deborah Stevenson
Maybe I just don't understand the genre of short stories but this was just weird.
Oct 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bill Gaston's short story collection Juliet Was a Surprise is just my taste -- small bursts of insight into the sticky muddle that is interpersonal relationships, with characters who don't know as much about each other as they think they do; who don't even know themselves. These stories reminded me somewhat of Lynn Coady's Hellgoing, but where her characters were mostly angry and trapped, Gaston's are confused and surprised; like the naïve babies some accuse each other of being.

What to make of a
Dec 30, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A solid collection of short stories. Some stories I was totally drawn in and had to reread them immediately. Others I did not enjoy and felt relieved when it was over.
Rowan  Siah
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
3.3 / 5
Full disclosure: Bill Gaston is one of my professors at university, and he's recently become one of my favourite teachers. I really like hearing him talk about his writing and publishing experiences, in terms of short stories and novels. He's a really great guy and I'm glad that I picked up this collection as an introduction to his work. Definitely going to be trying one of his novels next!

All around, this is a solid short story collection. I always feel kind of bad since I mainly give 3
Sep 22, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A solid collection of short stories, some a little more out there than others, though all basically about human struggles.

I preferred the female led stories, particularly one where a man has died and his young mistress wonders whether the death was accidental, on purpose, or a joke gone very wrong. I thought that story had the most satisfying ending of the lot, despite, or maybe partially because of a question left unanswered.

Maybe I favored the female driven stories because being female I just
Sep 15, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Maybe it was the fact that I initially didn't realize this was a collection of short stories, but I found that Juliet Was a Surprise was just... kind of drab. The stories seem to all follow the same basic tenet of Man Believes Thing About Woman, Tries To Tell Woman, Woman Is Better Than Him. The only one that really avoided that, that I really liked, was the one about the mother with cancer who goes to a Cohen concert. I liked it, since it felt more real. Less rote.

I don't recommend this book, b
Oct 07, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
There's a fine line between trying to write a story that is provocative or thoughtful and one that is simply weird. Unfortunately, many of these stories land on weird. The ones that aren't weird either have issues with plausibility or turn out to be boringly cliche. On the upside, the writing is solid and certainly evokes a mood or emotional response from the reader - Creepy discomfort for the most part.
Jul 23, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I loved Gaston's The World and thought I would like this, too, because of his writing. I heard him at the Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts last August and he gave us teasers about this book. I have to admit that I am not a huge fan of short stories but I thought this might be good. I was very disappointed.
Apr 15, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Short stories are not about plot or setting, but are glimpses into the human condition. Bill Gaston is a talented observer of motivation and rationalization. His stories weave the plausible with the range of human emotion and often the absurd.
I'm not the biggest fan of short stories, but I would have to admit that Bill Gaston writes with a wonderfully perspective voice.
Tricia Dower
Bill Gaston is such a strong writer, I always find something of value in whatever he does. This collection didn't have the impact on me that his Gargoyles did and I suspect I'm not the ideal reader for it. Be that as it may, I very much enjoyed "House Clowns" and "Four Corners," interestingly enough the first and last stories in the book.
Apr 21, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked how you got to glimpse different moments of time in people's lives. On the whole though I found the stories just weird and sort of depressing. I guess I just didn't get it.
Oct 21, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-fiction
If you read one story from this book read Black Roses Bloom.
Aug 21, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
liked a couple of the stories in this collection but there was some i didn't like hence the rating
Sep 27, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a favourite read. Some of the stories were too obtuse for me, some were very, very good. A book that makes you think about what happens after the story is written.
Jan 05, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Starts really, really, promisingly strong, but lost steam for me about a third of the way through. I finished it, but would've liked a little more... something from this collection. 3.5 stars.
Sep 26, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a short story fan, but it was for bookclub so I gave it a try. A number of the stories had potential and I wished there was more to them. All in all an interesting collection.
Sep 08, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction, read-in-2015
Ann Nelson
Mar 11, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: evergreen, literature
Weird, not sure why this book was an Evergreen reads winner
Heike Lttrr
Apr 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a series of delightfully weird stories! Really enjoyed reading them!
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Maree Cox-Baker
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Jan 05, 2014
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