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All the Names They Used for God

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  2,217 ratings  ·  386 reviews
A haunting, diverse debut story collection that explores the isolation we experience in the face of the mysterious, often dangerous forces that shape our lives

Anjali Sachdeva's debut collection spans centuries, continents, and a diverse set of characters but is united by each character's epic struggle with fate: A workman in Andrew Carnegie's steel mills is irrevocably cha
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published February 20th 2018 by Spiegel & Grau
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4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,217 ratings  ·  386 reviews

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Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What an outstanding short story collection. I knew nothing about this book going in and was thrilled by each story. There is so much range here, and there is a nice fabulist edge to nearly all the stories. The writer wields so much confidence and control in her prose and my goodness, what imagination, what passion there is in this work. From one story to the next I felt like the writer knows everything about everything. One of the best collections I’ve ever read. Every single story is a stand ou ...more
Emily May
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
Over the past few months, I've picked up a number of short story collections and this one happens to be one of the least memorable.

There are only nine stories in All the Names They Used for God but several made me think "huh?" and not a single one really stood out to me. I can almost always pick out at least one or two gems in a collection but all left me fairly cold here.

It's somewhat odd that these stories were lumped together into a collection at all. There's nothing really tying them togeth
Diane S ☔
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 When I am reading s book of short stories, I usually jot down a few details about each story, as a memory aid. I do not, however, look at these notes unless I absolutely have to, rather trying to see how much I remember just from the story titles. A good way for me to gauge how memorable and note Worthy is each story. After finishing this well written collection I am happy to say I remembered quite a few.

They run the gamut from the past to the future, each one full of characters trying to es
Jan 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Anjali Sachdeva has written a diverse, compelling and strong debut collection of stories. I can't think of any other collection I've read that is this eclectic—there are stories about genetically perfected septuplets, a man with glass lungs, John Milton writing his epic poem, weird blobby aliens who take over earth and witchy women who put men under their spells. It's bizarre and fun and emotional and quite wonderful. I think this would be a great collection for people who don't read short stori ...more
Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories, god
"Wonder and terror meet at the horizon, and we walk the knife-edge between them." These words end the introduction to this powerful, haunting collection of short stories.  Sachdeva explains in her introduction that in old times people knew better than to trust their gods.  "Gods" enter these stories in unexpected, sometimes wondrous and sometimes terrifying ways.   I put "gods" in quotations because what enters into these stories is never called god or what is expected of god, but instead is a f ...more
Resh (The Book Satchel)
A difficult book to review.

I enjoyed three stories in the whole collection:
1. The World by Night - The story takes place in a cave. There is hope and hopelessness. Beautifully written and shows how delicate human relationships are
2. Robert Greenman and the Mermaid - a fisherman who thought he was happy with life meets a mermaid. Themes of happiness, wonder, death, prey and predator relationships etc.
3. Anything You Might Want - well written; about futility of human relationships and the need to
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
This has to be the best short story collection I have read. There was just enough fantastical elements that it felt somewhat realistic, and the satire was subtle but there in each story but never took away from the entertainment of the stories.
All the Names for God (the short story in this) was amazing and I found myself thinking about it long after I read it.

Individual story ratings:
The World by Night - 5 stars - I was on edge the whole time I read this trying to figure out how this was going
Cody | codysbookshelf
Nov 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, netgalley
Release Date:02.20.18

All the Names They Used for God, Anjali Sachdeva’s debut release, is a stellar collection of short stories that explores the strangeness that is the human experience and our small stature in the vastness of the cosmos. Rewards abound for the short story lover: science gone awry in “Pleiades”; abandonment and love gone wrong in “Anything You Might Want”; man versus wild (and the call of suicide) in “Logging Lake.” These are intricate, spinning tales that took me off guard.

ALL THE NAMES THEY USED FOR GOD is a collection of short literary fiction stories, the last two of which were absolutely brilliant.

The tales in this book are all over the place, but I think it's all the different facets of humanity that link them all together. No two stories here are even remotely alike and I enjoyed that diversity.

Among my favorites were:

LOGGING LAKE which involved a strange happening at an ill advised campsite.

ALL THE NAMES THEY USED FOR GOD which was a heartbreaking story
Oct 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
The stories set out in this collection are loosely connected by otherworldly moods, inspired by bits of magic, and soft dream-filled prose. The scenes visualized here range from a pioneer woman seeking adventure in underground caves, fishermen bewitched by mermaids, a future where aliens replace our hands with metal appendages, an ode to schoolgirls in Africa captured by jihadists, a cold miner’s daughter on the prowl, and a wild, vivacious spirited woman who disappears as the wolves howl. Thank ...more
Inspired by recent historical events, like the kidnapping of Nigerian schoolgirls by the extremist group Boko Haram, in “All the Names for God”, where the supernatural twist isn’t quite enough to help the protagonists find their peace; an unsettling future, in “Manus”, where aliens have conquered Earth forcing humans to have their hands replaced by metal appendages with a device called ‘Forker’; a couple of egotistical geneticists, husband and wife, set to prove that science can achieve anything ...more
Lubinka Dimitrova
Beautifully written and masterfully crafted stories where the characters sprung alive in just a few short pages, but once again, I realize that the short story form is not for me. I utterly enjoyed the stories, all of them, they were captivating and unpredictable, but then they simply... ended. I know this is kind of the whole idea, but it totally left me with a vague sense of wanting more. Still, a lovely book, I'm glad I had the chance to read it.
Martie Nees Record
Nov 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publisher: Random House
Pub.Date: February 20, 201835082451

Possible Spoilers

With this title, I was expecting a novel about the horrors that have been committed in the name of God, such as the Spanish Inquisition. But the title is misleading. The stories are more about the concept of how we see God or any power that can change our lives. This stellar collection is exploring humanity’s strangeness. The stories read as ominous and compelling fiction that I would call magical r
Mar 20, 2019 rated it liked it
I hope it is not taken as a negative, but I found these short stories "nice," but not terribly memorable. The opening story, "The World By Night" was probably the best in my opinion, but the others seemed to drop off in delivery. "Glass-Lung" was ok, but set the pattern for relatively simplistic stories that really didn't challenge or excite, no real twist. They were all well written though and I think many readers will enjoy them, but none really bowled me over, either. Some I thought were goin ...more
Lolly K Dandeneau
Nov 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
via my blog:
'We didn’t know yet that for us there was no such thing as just sadness, that our grief had a life of its own, an invisible mouth like a black hole that drew us inexorably closer.'

This debut collection is tender, dark, at times bizarre, and compelling. My absolute favorite is Pleiades, and the story has remained with me for days. I wish the author would use her magic and turn the story about the daughters of geneticists, the sisters so terribly
Kristin MB
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4 stars? 5 stars? I'm not sure! I enjoyed everyone of these stories, but I LOVED LOVED LOVED several of them. My favorites were All The Names For God, The World At Night, Logging Lake, and Robert Greenman and the Mermaid. If you can, get your hands on this collection!
Nov 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
(Note: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review)

This collection provided everything I look for in a short story: a world that draws me in at once, and a character who takes me on a journey. With each story, we experience a transformation. The writing is what I'd call speculative fiction, but it's incredibly seamless. Every world the author creates feels like it could exist alongside our own. Sometimes the story's place in time is clear (e.g. Carnegie's steel
Dec 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting and dreamlike yet still somehow left me wanting more (even for short stories). The author clearly is tremendously talented, and there are scenes from several of the stories that will stay with me.
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Utterly captivating collection of short stories in diverse settings. Haunting and surreal. A thoroughly enjoyable read. Favourites are 'The World by Night', 'Glass-Lung', 'Robert Geenan and the Mermaid', 'Manus' and 'Pleiades'. Bravo!

Final rating: 4.5*
Stef Smulders
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
A very mature (albeit late) debut. Beautifully written stories with a touch of fantasy and magic. I liked the first one, The World by Night very much, the way the albino-motif is woven into the narrative. Glass-Lung seemed unfinished and a bit artificial to me. Logging Lake has that touch of light humor that occurs in these stories every now and then: 'Terri wasnt worried about being eaten by wolves. Terri was living in the moment.'
Killer of Kings is a bit too obvious with the John Milton person
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
The World By Night (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)
Glass-lung (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)
Logging lake (⭐⭐⭐⭐)
Killer of Kings (⭐⭐⭐.5)
All the Names for God (⭐⭐⭐)
Robert Greenman and the Mermaid (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)
Anything You Might Want (⭐⭐.5)
Manus (⭐⭐)
Pleiades (⭐⭐⭐⭐)

“All the Names They Used For God” is a short story collection of 9 stories and the majority of these were very moving and beautifully told.

I personally love strange stories. The stories that have that element of something extra that can’t really be explained, but can funny enough be relatabl
Savir  Husain Khan
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is a collection of nine short stories each belongs to different genres with the open-ended climax, All of these stories left you with the question mark----what happened next? or this is what I felt after reading the book.
The title story "All the Names They Used For God" is a tragic and brave tale of two Christian Nigerian girls kidnapped by Boko Haram and their brave attempt to break themselves free from the forced believes and extremist views.
My favorite from the collection is "the Pl
Sivananthi T
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another great collection of short stories, and each one is enigmatic, exciting and offers a slice of adventure and mystery.
Allison Parker
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult, short-stories
Could it be? Do I..... LOVE SHORT STORY COLLECTIONS? This is a recent development for me.

Or maybe I just love Sachdeva's lovely and strange stories, written with great clarity and flow. She's got a real talent for storytelling, its pacing and structure and imagery, and what's more, she's got IDEAS. Terrific ones. Ideas that feel ancient and contemporary simultaneously. Ideas about people responding to their environments, full of mystery, darkness, and wonder:

A woman with light sensitivity finds
Book Pairings (Laci Long)
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star-books
“Wonder and terror meet at the horizon, and we walk the knife-edge between them.” These are the words you are left with at the end of the introduction to this stunning collection of short stories. In the introduction Sachdeva explains her inspiration for the collection deriving from how people in the past knew better than to trust their “gods”. Notice gods is in quotations. In these stories there are no traditional gods. There are otherworldly forces and magical entities that act upon the charac ...more
Mar 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Well, color me impressed. This was such a wonderful debut collection! Though I didn’t love all the stories equally, the entire collection held my interest the whole time, which is more than I can say for most collections that I read. Sachdeva has such control over her prose, which is vivid and dreamy, but not excessively so. Plus, there’s such a diversity of stories here in terms of character and setting and subject matter, but they're all so tonally and thematically resonant that none seem out ...more
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Book Review: All the Names They Used for God: Stories by Anjali Sachdeva, 10/15/17
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
To Be Pulished: February 20, 2018

I received a free pre-publication copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

An extraordinary collection of stories. I’d call them speculative fiction or imaginary realism. I found them highly readable. But also out of the realm of the ordinary, very unusual, creative and powerful.

She has published in many literary reviews but th
Michael Batz
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Stunning. I loved this book. I don’t think I’ve liked any book more this year, period. Every story is perfect, and even then some are even more perfect than others. The first two stories are possibly the strongest, but the two final ones did it to me, too. Each story has a touch of the strange or fabulous; a Twilight Zone/O Henry kind of thing in places, genres sliding in and out like NBD whatever. I actually forced myself to slow down, to savor each story, to not finish it all in one day. I did ...more
Unfortunately for this book, I think What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky has set the bar for what I now expect from short story collections and this was not even close. This was really just a batch of random stories with weird concepts that ended up being unmemorable.
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What an interesting collection of short stories. It felt as though you were living snippets of phantasmagoric dreams, especially with the delicate style and storytelling that Sachdeva brings to the table.

Yet the stories themselves aren’t delicate by any means. There is something unsettling about each story, almost like a reflection of the human mind. While these stories do not take place in the space and time with each other, I do think there are two threads that keep them together to make it a
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“A boy who cares more for the freedom to direct his own gaze than for the master’s anger is a rare creature indeed.” 0 likes
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