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The Octopus Rises

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  68 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Man, I had so many stab wounds, it was crazy. There I was at the conference center, and I hadn’t even adequately prepared my presentation. And so begins “Bleeding Man and Wounded Deer,” one of the stories in this collection of literary short fiction from the pen of acclaimed Seattle novelist Ryan Boudinot. Bouncing between experimental fiction, absurdist farce, paranoid fu ...more
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published August 8th 2015 by Fantagraphics (first published July 3rd 2015)
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Anthony Crupi
Aug 18, 2015 rated it it was ok
At once precious and pomo and predictable*, this avant-garden-variety collection won't make anyone forget Boudinot's wised-up, fucked-up second novel, Blueprints for the Afterlife. This is the sort of scorched-earth whimsy that will make you wish you were reading Lipsyte or Barthelme or Saunders or Powell instead of marking time with what amounts to a [mercifully thin] issue of McSweeney's Quarterly Zima Enthusiast. Two-point-five stars, if only because "Readers & Writers" damn near redeems the ...more
Aug 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
At times both poignant and irreverent, this book had me cracking up and the design is impeccable. I loved it. Looking forward to checking out more by Ryan Boudinot. Highly recommended.
Joshua Van Dereck
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Much of the time I find that if you read a good or great book by an author, subsequent books you read by them are less good. It's as if there's a standard reversion to the mean, and when you happen to stumble across a fine read, that's probably that author's best book. I read Boudinot's The Littlest Hitler last month and was impressed with it. There were 2 or 3 stories in that volume that I absolutely loved, and a lot of the rest of it was thought-provoking, fun, and interesting. Admittedly, man ...more
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
It started off well, but most of the stories weren't strong enough to constitute a published book, in my opinion. I liked the first two stories.

"After he finished the water, he rinsed the glass in the sink with more water then put it in the dishwasher, where detergent, Jet-dry, and yet more water would usher it into a state he considered clean"
May 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
One of my favorite collections of short stories, this book had me giggling from beginning to end. It would deserve five stars for the design alone, but the prose just happens to live up to it. It's quirky and absurd, and I would recommend it to anyone with an offbeat sense of humor.
I stumbled across and loved Boudinot's debut collection of short stories, The Littlest Hitler, but haven't caught up with his two subsequent novels. So when I saw this oblong little thing, I grabbed it for my train commutes. I don't know if it's the brevity of the twelve stories (they generally take no more then 5-10 minutes to read), or the ill-conceived layout (the typeface for each is pitched to the story's contents or mood, which seems like something I might have done my first year as a desi ...more
Oct 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Readers, those who don't mind being disturbed by their books
In the digital world of today, people tend to forget that with a physical object, you can control a person's entire experience of what you have created. From the physical structure of a book to the design of the pages and typography utilized, you can influence how every single word is read. And that doesn't even mention the stories themselves.

The Octopus Rises is a collection of short stories that tackle a few subjects that are, underneath, all the same: the fact that our lives are empty routine
Gabriel Congdon
Feb 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing

With this excellent book Boudinot sets himself out to be one of the great dark comedy/postmodern writers of our generation. He’s on par with Saunders fo sho, and in fact, one would have higher success passing around Boudinot to their coworkers than George Saud.

Boudinot does a tactful thing with these stories: he gives one the idea of the premise and after that goes on a different path than the one expected. It is only by having a crisp, sharp style can you have the freedom to underdescribe your
Kristina Kauffman
Jul 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I judged this book by it's cover, actually the entire element of design throughout, and I do not regret it. Boudinot accomplishes dark comedy perfectly, and this collection of short stories is the perfect size for your commute. Each unique story has a brilliant level of absurdity from the humanization of beloved childhood characters, Bert and Ernie, to a tale taking place in a town where all of the citizens are tethered together sharing a single giant heart.
Scott Gould
Jan 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is trippy, experimental fiction territory in the best way. I was looking for something that would capture that early aughts McSweeney's - Neal Pollack - Arthur Bradford surreal scene. And this scratched that long ago itch. I wonder if I didn't know otherwise I could think this was from that era. But maybe not; maybe it's the same spirit of experimental absurdism in fiction, but today there is more darkness, more melancholy. Or maybe I'm just old. Fun book though.
Sep 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Quirky and wildly entertaining.
Aug 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
From the design to the clever as of the stories (but not TOO clever), this was a great collection, and I liked it even better than his first collection, The Littlest Hitler. 4.5 ⭐️
Feb 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. Consistent tone at once melancholy and humorous. I enjoyed each story and the typography chosen to set them off from one another. Top marks and highly recommend!
Brent Legault
Oct 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Top notch, natch. ("Natch" if you've had the pleasure of reading The Littlest Hitler. You'd have expected no less.)
Aug 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a fun collection that is as entertaining to hold as it is to read; very McSweeney's-esque in its package. Quirky, funny, dark, and thoughtful tidbits from a great local author.
Kirker Butler
Aug 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is hilarious. I wish I wrote as well as Ryan.
Dec 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
At times funny, at times disconcerting, but overall a fine collection of absurd tales wrestling with themes of disaffection, rebellion, complacency, corporate avarice, and despair.
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Ryan Boudinot is the author of the novels Blueprints of the Afterlife and Misconception, and the story collections The Octopus Rises and The Littlest Hitler.

Ryan received his Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from Bennington College. He also holds a BA from The Evergreen State College. Born in the US Virgin Islands, he grew up in Skagit Valley, in Washington State, and now lives in S

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