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We're in Trouble: Stories

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  416 ratings  ·  78 reviews
In this extraordinary collection of short fiction, characters wrestle with the moments in life that test us most deeply, in ways both dramatic and subtle. In “We’re in Trouble,” a woman is asked to end her dying husband’s suffering. In “Abandon,” a troubled young man must risk jail to do right by the only woman he has ever loved. And “In the Event” shows a young musician’s ...more
Paperback, 324 pages
Published April 3rd 2006 by Mariner Books (first published 2005)
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Average rating 4.12  · 
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 ·  416 ratings  ·  78 reviews

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Feb 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hands down one of the most riveting collections of short stories I've ever read. Each vignette places a main character in the midst of a crisis, and what sets this book apart is that Coake achieves the nearly impossible: He makes you really feel something for each person, whether it's sympathy and pity or loathing and fear in a matter of a few pages. As each tragedy unfolds, he peels away the layers of each character, revealing their true nature. His writing is dynamic and at times incendiary, a ...more
Nov 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simply amazing. One of my favorite books of short fiction in a long, long time.
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Utsav by: Nick Hornby
Nick Hornby may have oversold this book a little bit in his review (collected in The Polysyllabic Spree; this edition also prominently features a quote from that review on the front jacket), but this is nevertheless a pretty tight collection of stories by Chris Coake.

While it starts and ends strong, it does slump a little in the middle. However, any fiction exploring the darker recesses of the human mind is always welcome, and this is a very well-written sample of it. At its best, it can make yo
Jul 07, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What a drag. I hated these short stories. I expected to love this from the reviews and the book cover and the themes, but I was bored out of my mind. The style was grating and amateurish.
Jan 19, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Alzheimer's patients, I surely wont remember any of it
Recommended to Nicholai by: Some book critic
I'm not going to lie to you, im not planning on finishing this book. What exactly does the author do with this book?
Well, lets see, he tells a bunch of small stories, with no real ending to any of them, not a hell of a lot to take example off of, and gives us quite a few characters that strongly resemble cliches in modern society.
I suppose to some, one or two of the three things above can be taken as a good thing. Perhaps the fact that they are cliches paints a better picture, but I personally p
Dec 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book took me so long to read for the sole fact that I couldn't read it out in public for fear of inducing tears. All these stories are rooted in relationship or family drama and are all heartbreaking in a way that takes you off guard. I had never heard of Christopher Coake before he started showing up on some "Authors Under 40" lists, but I can recommend this as one of the best short story collections I have read in some time. ...more
Kristen Shupe
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't often give 5 stars but this book unquestionably deserved it. I'm also not a huge fan of short stories, but wow! Each story was incredible. This was the author's first book, but hopefully wasn't his last! What a talent. He could have developed each of these stories into a novel. Amazing characters and plots. This book will stay with me for quite some time. ...more
Brandon B
I wanted to love this, but only the second story ("Cross Country") held my attention. Sadly and ironically I ditched the book during "Abandon" and it seemed like a fitting end. Now on to something with at least a pinch of optimism. ...more
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’ve been savoring this collection for six months. It’s a Masterclass in short fiction. More please.
Brett Starr
Apr 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Superb, masterful writing...

Christopher Coake's debut collection is nothing less than exceptional!

"We're in Trouble" is easily one of the top three best books of short stories I have ever read. The book has seven magnificent stories, all covering different subjects and each one leaves an impression.

This book will literally grab you from the start, with the first story "We're in Trouble - A Suite", which has three parts to it, with each story being different and not related to the others.

Laura  Yan
This is impeccable writing, and impeccable, literary short stories of love and death. In fact, they're perfect. And, I don't know, I appreciate the beauty and the sadness and the perfection, but, somehow, this feels a little too...polished. Like there is something, underlying here, some passion, something beautiful, but it's too much, so instead Christopher Coake turned to these well crafted stories--really, beautiful, well crafted stories, but they stop short of something, something raw that's ...more
Feb 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This collection of short stories by Christopher Coake is a true work of art--a must-read. A wife emotionally struggles with raising her young son while her husband is climbing Everest, a pair of young lovers become trapped in a rustic cabin during a deadly blizzard... Beautiful stories, all skillfully told.
I liked this collection of short stories, but they are very disburbing. They are written in a way that nearly gave me an anxiety attack; yet the style and substance are undeniable.
Don't read during the depressing, gray months of would just be too much.
Mar 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
great writer ! Cant' wait for him to write something new - will read anything this man writes . You can feel all of the emontions from the pain to love to sorrow , This book leaves you wanting more from him .... ...more
Nov 22, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
Only a two or three of the short stories captured my full attention. Some of them leave you wanting for a continuation or a proper ending and that made me disliking the book altogether. All stories dealt with death.
Aug 24, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
None of the stories go anywhere.
Walker Doermann
Jul 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These stories were completely heartbreaking, but amazing.
Craig Tilstone
Aug 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have to confess I have had this book for YEARS and, criminally, never even opened it. It was a birthday present from a bookworm friend. I have recently become besotted with the late, great American minimalist author Raymond Carver, and wondered if this might tick some of the same boxes. It did and it didn’t. In many of the short stories - and I’m thinking particularly of ‘Cross Country’ and ‘Abandonment’ - there’s a genuine sense of excitement and pace, which one would probably not associate w ...more
May 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
This collection of short stories was emotionally challenging and at time terrifying. Coake's stories draw on fears that are perhaps in the family of those irrational fears that we may have in our daily lives. It is not that they cannot or do not happen as much as they are probably rare and unlikely, but we all harbor them to some degree. I won't detail them all in the stories, but they are akin to the discomfort of being under a busy highway, worrying about an accident from above, or worrying ab ...more
Richda Mcnutt
Nov 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had a difficult choice in rating this book - I wanted to give it a three because I found it so disturbing and really couldn't say that I liked it. But I must acknowledge that giving it a 4 seemed the correct thing to do because it disturbed me so. His first story affected me to the extent that I wasn't sure I could read any others. But I read to the end - disturbed and fretting all the way. Coake pulls you into the tale and makes you face the idea that you might be no better ethically or moral ...more
Oct 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't often read short story collections...this might be only my second? But I found these stories engaging and even though short, the depth of characters and narration was excellent. This book will make me consider reading more short story collections. ...more
May 27, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
more like 3.5 stars. starts strong, then boring in the last couple stories. loved the idea of exploring relationships through the lens of death/catastrophe, but some of the stories were ultimately limited by cliched characterizations and the shallow and uninteresting romantic relationships.
May 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
...if Raymond Carver was a romantic.
Katy Connolly
Oct 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some spooky, some just downright depressing. Really interesting and heart-wrenching and beautiful though.
Nov 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some stories better than others; some stories couldn't hold my interest and some had me on the edge of my seat. Just a mixed bag for me on this one. ...more
May 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best book of short stories I've ever read. I will be watching for more from this author. ...more
Jun 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: all-kindle, lit-20thc
Just finished reading this excellent collection of short stories last night. Wonderful bedtime reading! Loved Christopher Coake's midwestern voice. The Fargo-esque character of these stories makes me wonder why the Coen Brothers haven't made any of these stories into a film yet. ...more
Jun 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Seven short stories about people in trouble after witnessing or dealing with death, with superb dialogue. In Back Down to Earth, during a bedroom chat, a man tells his lover the story of his failure to rescue his dog at the edge of a precipice, and his witnessing the fall, feeling that he should fling himself after his dog, and that his act was so wrong that he had condemned himself. in All Babies Come From Heaven, a lesbian couple arguing about whether to have a baby find their positions revers ...more
Jul 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a beautifully and subtly written collection of literary suspense stories. That's what I'm assuming the relative genre is, at least, since the "trouble" is present in all the stories, where it often has a little more bite than mainstream short fiction.

In some cases, like "Cross Country," the threat is ambiguous enough that your own anxiety as a reader over your interpretations (and potential misinterpretations) adds a chill to the proceedings. In other cases, such as "All Through the Hous
A great collection of stories that left me wanting more. Three of these were especially memorable to me:

"In the Event," in which a rock musician learns of his best friends' deaths and is left as guardian to their 3 year old son. He had agreed to do this, in the event of their untimely demise, but of course none of them ever thought it would actually happen. His loss and uncertainty about the next steps are very believable.

"Abandon," where a young, reckless couple goes to Michigan to get away for
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