Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Fresh Complaint” as Want to Read:
Fresh Complaint
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Fresh Complaint

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  7,081 ratings  ·  784 reviews
The first collection of short fiction from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jeffrey Eugenides

Jeffrey Eugenides’s bestselling novels have shown him to be an astute observer of the crises of adolescence, self-discovery, family love, and what it means to be American in our times. The stories in Fresh Complaint explore equally rich­­—and intriguing—territory. Ranging from the
Hardcover, 285 pages
Published October 3rd 2017 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published November 10th 2013)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Fresh Complaint, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Kyle 1. Baster
2. Timeshare
3. Fresh Complaint
4. Early Music
5. Capricious Gardens
6. The Oracular Vulva
7. Find the Bad Guy
8. Great Experiment
9. Air Ma…more
1. Baster
2. Timeshare
3. Fresh Complaint
4. Early Music
5. Capricious Gardens
6. The Oracular Vulva
7. Find the Bad Guy
8. Great Experiment
9. Air Mail
10. Complainers

I imagine my ranking would change with a second read-through. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole book- it reminded me why I love Eugenides's style and humor so much.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.62  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,081 ratings  ·  784 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Fresh Complaint
Larry H
Oct 29, 2017 rated it liked it
I'd rate this 3.5 stars.

Ever since Jeffrey Eugenides burst on to the literary scene in the early 1990s with The Virgin Suicides , he's proven himself to be an expert commentator on the foibles of the human condition, sex, adolescence, relationships, family dynamics, and, at times, the often-mundane challenges of everyday life. He further cemented that reputation with Middlesex and The Marriage Plot , so when I heard that he'd finally be coming out with a short story collection, I was e
Elyse  Walters
Oct 12, 2017 rated it liked it

I like Jeffrey Eugenides. I enjoy his writing - I loved “MiddleSex”.....
and I like “The Marriage Plot” much more than most in my local book club.

But - I’m so-so about these 10 short stories. I was taken in right away with the first story: “Complainers” — Della and Cathy are friends. Della is much older and married. Della’s husband runs into financial problems after making some risky investments which failed after he insisted that moving to Florida was the right move.
Cathy was angr
Andrew Smith
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
I’d really enjoyed the author’s novel Middlesex (where I discovered a dictionary’s worth of words I previously had no knowledge of) so the opportunity to read a bunch of short stories from the hand of this gifted scribbler was something I wasn’t going to pass up. All of these stories have been previously published in magazines in the period 1989 – 2013. I wouldn’t say there’s a common theme, though a sense of dissatisfaction with life or circumstance - a desire for something that is absent - se ...more
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-read, usa
“No one knew what the original music sounded like. You had to make an educated guess and do the best you could. (…) Sometimes you thought you heard the music, especially when you were young, and then you spent the rest of your life trying to reproduce the sound. Everybody’s life was early music.”

This collection of ten short stories covers almost three decades of Eugenides’ writing career, from 1988 to the present, and it is interesting to see how certain topics remain at the center of the autho
Complainers 5/5

Air Mail 3/5

Baster 5/5

Early music 5/5

Timeshare 3/5

Find the Bad Guy 5/5

The Oracular Vulva 5/5

Capricious gardens 5/5

Great experiment 4/5

Fresh Complaint 5/5

* * *

Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
So disappointing. I found the last story to be just insulting. I expected better.
Nov 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2017
This collection of stories was very hit or miss, but mostly miss. The misogynistic overtones were disappointing from an author whose work I’ve really enjoyed in the past.
Oct 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: shortstories
These were undeniably well-written, but had an undercurrent of misogyny that I didn't like--it's the same feeling I get when reading Updike (see especially: Early Music, Baster, and Fresh Complaint). I also would have preferred if the stories were in date order.
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars. To anyone who knows my reading life, it’s not a secret that I usually don’t care for short stories. But Jeffrey Eugenides is such a good and interesting writer, that I couldn’t resist trying this collection out. I had my doubts going in - this is a collection of 10 short stories and all but two of them were published in various periodicals ranging from the 80s to a few years ago. Theoretically I think it’s a good idea, because it allows an artist to make money for work they’ve done th ...more
May 25, 2017 rated it liked it
I've loved Eugenides' novels--Middlesex is a lifetime fave--but reading this story collection on the heels of work like Difficult Women and Her Body and Other Parties, the stories just feel tame, safe, predictable, and somewhat short on meaning. The Gay and Marchado stories are so wild and raw and fearless and pull the very soul of of you for you to examine, while these are perfectly nice, well-written, mildly contemplative stories. Glad I read it, doubt I'll think of it again. ...more
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobooks
Absolutelly great book, not a single bad story. Long, wise, emotional, somehow sad, and so true. I love this book!
Read By RodKelly
A brilliant short story writer Eugenides is not. These stories are variations on the theme of middle aged misogynistic white men being the horrible human beings that they always are. The author shines in the novel; much less so in short form. For shame.
Oct 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
“Baster” is disturbingly good, as is the titled story, “Fresh Complaints”. Eugenides is a competent and intelligent writer.
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
My review for the Chicago Tribune:

Jeffrey Eugenides' new collection may be called "Fresh Complaint," but the stories themselves are less fresh and more retrospective. The book consists of an array of material ranging from 1988 to 2017, including "Air Mail," which was selected by Annie Proulx for the 1997 edition of "The Best American Short Stories" and "Capricious Gardens," which began as part of his master's thesis.

Better known for his long-form fiction,
Jeffrey Eugenides' short story collection features a variety of stories written across the course of his career, many featured earlier in various publications in previous forms. From the sperm switching antics of "Baster" to the complications of nationality and marriage in "Fresh Complaint" to money and morality in "Great Experiment," we're treated to Eugenides' usual excellent writing and perspective on characters and life.

I often skip story collections, as I tend to feel a loss with them, as
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Jeffrey Eugenides deserves all the accolades typically heaped on Pulitzer Prize winners.
In my reading journeys, I've often disagreed with these book jacket platitudes. In fact, I've found candidates for the prize usually better and more skilled writers than the winners, but in "Fresh Complaint," we find a scribe truly worth all the hype.
This is a compendium of Eugenides's work spanning three decades, and it shows his growth as a writer; each story is a fresh world to step into, with chara
Dec 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 Jeffrey Eugenides is back! Not only is he ahead of schedule, but he brought us short stories.

This is a wonderful collection that showcases his exquisite writing again and again. Although his last two books were tomes, his impeccable character development certainly doesn’t need many pages to bring his subjects to life.

Fresh Complaint is made up of ten short stories over about 300 pages. They take place between the 1980s and present day, all around the world. There wasn’t a bad one in the
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
I am a big fan of Eugenides' novels, and was so excited to see that he was releasing his debut collection of short stories, Fresh Complaint. It is comprised of ten stories in all, written over three decades. I must admit that I did not find any of these tales as engaging, nor as enjoyable, as I was expecting at the outset; some even entirely failed to capture my attention. Whilst they were well formed, they lacked any punch or surprise, things which I very much enjoy in shorter works. Due to the ...more
Sep 17, 2017 rated it liked it
I need to stop reading short stories,I don't particularly enjoy them.
I was drawn in by the author though,having enjoyed all his other books.
These are well written,with a few leaving you plenty to think about.
Unfortunately I always feel cheated the story isn't longer,and there's no more detail.
My fault entirely.
Maggie Livingstone
Oct 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Maybe I just don't find a collection of short stories as satisfying as a novel, but I found this grossly underwhelming. I ADORED all 3 of Eugenides's other books--Middlesex is one of my top 5 all time fave books! But Fresh Complaint didn't do it for me the way I expected it too. Still interesting, and good writing, but just not as compelling...*sigh*
Feb 01, 2018 rated it liked it
I had trouble engaging in this novel. It took me weeks because I hesitated to pick up these stories. He’s a great writer but these mid-life stories are just so melancholy. Just not the right choice for me.
Jan 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Not a big short story fan but wanted to give these a try since I have really enjoyed two of the author's other books and a character from The Marriage Plot makes an appearance. This is more like a 2.5 star read but rounding up to 3. Some stories were interesting but others not so much. I think I'll stick to his really long books instead. ...more
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
From what I see, people are not exactly excited about these stories. Well. I am. I liked each and every one of them, and a few really stand out, meaning I will definitely remember and probably come back to them later. There are glimpses of his future novels in stories written many years before the actual novels were published, there are stories about books, medicine, music, physics, and don't you just love an author who does a bit of a homework? (I do). On the other hand there's even a story tha ...more
Sarah Furger
Oct 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Loved this collection of stories. As I've come to expect, Eugenides explored topics such as gender identity, the income/wealth gap, (in)fidelity, and aging with sensitivity and care. I was amazed at the depth he managed to give his characters in only a few pages. Truly a master craftsman.
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
Well this was a let-down. Apart from a few insightful, delightfully well written paragraphs, the stories are bland and forgettable. Not particularly dark, not funny, nothing to think about for a second longer after you turn the last page. Oh well.
Bookend McGee
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Simmone
Recommended to Bookend by: After I heard Jeffrey Eugenides speak about the stories I wanted to read them.
Some of them were amazing.
Leo Robertson
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd wager that most people picked up this book with the same idea in mind: "Well, he's not a short story writer, but he doesn't publish new stuff all that much and I'd like to get a Eugenides fix."

And this book surely provides!

Unfortunately most of these are like introductions, or "first acts", than they are complete objects in and of themselves. I enjoyed these first acts, but I wouldn't have stopped these stories so early.

It surely comes from some desire to keep up with/adapt the short story t
Oct 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
To err is human, Alexander Pope famously wrote. And while I’m uncertain whether or not this line was thought of by Jeffrey Eugenides when compiling the short stories that make up his collection, Fresh Complaint, it’s the first thing that came to my mind. We as people are flawed, we make mistakes, oftentimes leading to crisis of varying affect. This recurring theme is prevalent throughout the acclaimed author’s first collection of stories. And while the results range from brilliant to not so much ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Around the Year i...: Fresh Complaint, by Jeffrey Eugenides 1 10 Jul 27, 2019 08:54PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Жизнь Льва Толстого. Опыт прочтения
  • Ystäväni Natalia
  • Arkisatuja aikuisille
  • The End of the End of the Earth: Essays
  • Kaikki elämästä(ni)
  • My Year of Rest and Relaxation
  • The Dinner Party and Other Stories
  • Bolla
  • The Book of Sand
  • Sinun silmiesi kautta
  • Perhoset veljeni ympärillä
  • Tosi kivat juhlat
  • Conversations with Friends
  • Kerrostalo
  • The Topeka School
  • Нью-Йоркский обход
  • Trust Exercise
See similar books…
Jeffrey Kent Eugenides is an American Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and short story writer of Greek and Irish extraction.

Eugenides was born in Detroit, Michigan, of Greek and Irish descent. He attended Grosse Pointe's private University Liggett School. He took his undergraduate degree at Brown University, graduating in 1983. He later earned an M.A. in Creative Writing from Stanford University.


Related Articles

Three brainy Ivy Leaguers fumble in love in The Marriage Plot, a new novel from the author of Middlesex. Eugenides discusses the struggle between...
23 likes · 13 comments
“Pay no attention to the terrors that visit you in the night. The psyche is at its lowest ebb then, unable to defend itself. The desolation that envelops you feels like truth, but isn't. It's just mental fatigue masquerading as insight.” 10 likes
“Just when she’d got her head on straight, her body started falling apart.” 4 likes
More quotes…