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Pure Hollywood: And Other Stories

2.98  ·  Rating details ·  512 ratings  ·  116 reviews
In 11 captivating tales, Pure Hollywood brings us into private worlds of corrupt familial love, intimacy, longing, and danger. From an alcoholic widowed actress living in desert seclusion, to a young mother whose rejection of her child has terrible consequences, a newlywed couple who ignore the violent warnings of a painter burned by love, to an eerie portrait of erotic ob ...more
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published March 13th 2018 by Grove Atlantic
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Average rating 2.98  · 
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Amalia Gkavea
"....into this just-right night of Los Angeles in....? Let's just say it was May in the first decade of the hardly promising twenty -first century..."

For those of us who love short stories and Literary Fiction, starting a new collection is always a risk. The short stories don't really allow you to truly know a character, to fully connect with the situations depicted. The writing is dense and the underlying themes require the readers' full attention. This is why I love short stories so much a
Felice Laverne
Pure Hollywood proved to be a collection plagued by a wide spectrum of dullness. There were moments, mostly at the start of the collection, where overwrought prose ran rampant in a way that made no sense whatsoever. It was as if the author, Christine Schutt, had her trusty Word thesaurus immediately on hand, ready to whip out at any moment to form absurd sentences instead of creating readable literature—as if her way of being “creative” was to write so evasively and nonsensically as to confuse t ...more
Jan 08, 2019 rated it liked it
These are a very specific kind of story—highly mannered, odd, witty. All about white people of a certain class. Nearly every story features a death and something about gardening. The title story is the strongest. I did enjoy these stories but they don’t make for comfortable reading. That’s not a bad thing unless, of course, you are looking for comfort while reading.
Larry H
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley
It's ironic that one of the reasons I never used to like short stories, the fact that I had only a short time to build relationships with the characters, is one of the things I like most now. When stories are done right, it's amazing how complex characters can be, how complicated their journeys, and how deeply you can feel about them, in just a small number of pages.

I didn't really feel that way about Christine Schutt's new collection, Pure Hollywood: And Other Stories . She's definitely a ta
3.5★ rounded up to 4 (reviewed Dec 2017)

“His daughter hoped something would happen and it did in the shape of a man blued by symbols that crinkled when he tensed his arms.”

And of course, a tattooed fella isn’t quite the change that Dad was hoping for. Schutt has a nice way with words and has created some interesting characters, from this girl to a crazy lady in the desert, to a mother who just can’t be bothered with the nuisance of having a toddler.

“But the cost of things did not interest Lolly.
Julie Ehlers
Pure Hollywood is kind of amazing. As is often the case with short stories, each one in this collection is a snapshot of a particular moment in time, with the reader coming into a situation that's already begun and leaving before it's totally ended. What makes this collection different is that, without being obvious about it, Schutt provides enough detail that you can truly imagine an entire past and an entire future for her characters. And the thing is, you want to. The situations and the peopl ...more
Martie Nees Record
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Genre: General Fiction
Publisher: Grove Atlantic
Pub. Date: March 13, 2018

I was in the mood for something light and fluffy. I didn’t even read the book blurb before I began reading the story since the title sounds like a celebrity movie-star type of easy read. I was way off. Nevertheless, I am so glad that I found this author, Christine Schutt, and read this short story collection. She writes eleven captivating tales portraying the darkness that the reader will find in the souls of her characters
Nate D
Mar 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: A lonely house with a famous name
Recommended to Nate D by: A subscription to And Other Stories
Schutt's craft is immaculate. She deploys language and details with a precision economy down to how variations in sentence structure can hone a meaning or allow a story to hinge on a single word into something unexpected. Within those constructions, her stories tend towards portraiture, often of basically bourgeois American lives, not a mode I typically chase, but there's a raw current of despair and dislocation running through these that resists dismissal.

I notice that Diane Williams gets an ac
Apr 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Pure Hollywood is published by And Other Stories. They have 11 commandments for book selection of which number one is:

"We publish writing that is mind-blowing, often 'challenging' (Maureen Freely) and 'shamelessly literary' (Stuart Evers) – opening a space for exploration and discovery. It’s up for debate. Look at the authors we’ve read and published to get a feel for And Other Stories' tastes."

I've read seven other books that have been published by And Other Stories, but this is the first one t
Mridula Gupta
Nov 28, 2017 rated it did not like it
Pure Hollywood
The story of a 28-year-old actress, Mimi married to a 69-year-old businessman Arnie. Arnie dies of a heart attack and Mimi finds herself in midst of a chaos, created by her own heart. She has difficulty coping up with Arnie’S death. The story also exploits the complicated and almost intimate relationship which she shares with her brother. Mimi tries to revisit her past but faces strange situations which push her further into the darkness.

The Hedges
Dick and Lolly are on a vacation
Nov 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc-publisher
I won this in a Goodreads giveaway and was excited about the premise - sometimes short stories are great to dive into between heavier reads. The cover is beautiful and I love LA settings.

It was problematic for me because most of the time I felt like I didn’t even know what I was reading. There was never a point of connection and they didn’t seem to tie together. When a publisher is bold enough to quote this as “In league with JD Salinger” then I’m going to hold it against a high bar, which it f
Thank you to NetGalley and Grove Atlantic for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

These tales were interesting, but not my cup of tea. I think that half of me went along with the words in these stories, but the other half was confused by the writing. Some sentences I had to go back and read again because I was thinking that I had the wrong word. To me, it looked like some words maybe were repetitive so the author had to use a synonym to make sure it didn't repeat too much.
DNF at 11%

I can't connect with the writing style.

***ARC provided kindly by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.***
Eric Anderson
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first time I’ve read a book by acclaimed novelist and short story writer Christine Schutt, but she has a disarming and fascinating way of writing about self-consciousness, family and the passage of time. In “Pure Hollywood” the opening title story is also the longest tale in this collection. It’s an impressionistic story of a brother and sister after the sister’s much older husband dies. He was a wealthy famous comedian, but she soon finds she’s shut out of any substantial inheritanc ...more
Nikki "The Crazie Betty" V.
I just finished this anthology a week ago and literally can’t remember anything I read. To be honest, I basically forgot the whole thing as soon as I finished. None of the stories really stuck with me, and I couldn’t empathize or relate to any of the characters. The anthology was well written and well edited, just didn’t turn out to be even remotely my cuppa.

Received via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
May 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
I read these stories over and over for the sentence level goodness and the surprises that always come (even though second/third time around they weren't surprises). Although a slim volume I've probably spent more time reading it than novels three times the size: always the mark of something special.
The entire collection felt a bit distanced. A bit grim. An unease. A quick swipe at something ungilded.

I am generally not a fan of short stories. Stylistically, these were fine. Mostly I felt neutral about the collection.
Mar 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
This is the type of book that has no middle ground: you either love it or you hate it. Unfortunately, Pure Hollywood wasn’t for me, but I can see why people would enjoy this short story collection.

The stories had a lot of potential, and this book requires a lot of reading between the lines, which is something that I love about short stories.

However, the writing style is what really made this book difficult for me to read. Christine Schutt's style was overly repetitive to the point where the st
May 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Ill, ill, ill. Oh, to be not ill. I'm sorry Ms Schutt. These were quite good stories, really, but through illness they sort of bled a bit. Maybe on a better week. Arbitary stars: ***.*

Margaret Madden
Review to follow.
Vijay Anand
Sep 05, 2017 rated it liked it
The blurb on this book’s home page on Netgalley described Christine Schutt as an original and exciting voice, and that she is returning to the format that catapulted her to worldwide fame.

I was intrigued. I requested the book, and it was very kindly made available.

The style of Schutt’s prose made it a little hard for me to follow, too many interruptions and segues make it a difficult read.

It took me a while to truly get in synch with her style, and once that was accomplished, I loved, with a cap
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
I had a lot of trouble connecting to these stories, and the narrative felt just too wandering for me to follow it all feel like I was understanding the point. I enjoyed the first one, until it just kept going and going and going, then I think it went back or forward in time? I'm not sure, but it lost me. So I tried the next one, and while it was shorter, it still didn't bring me in. I will say that these stories had an overarching feeling of melancholy about them, though I'm not exactly sure why ...more
Stylish and technically assured, these stories somehow failed to connect with me and I found myself bored through much of this very brief book. Only the final story, "The Lady from Connecticut", which reminded me greatly of the work of Diane Williams, felt emotionally inhabited and fully imagined; the others lack this depth and seem all surface: polished to a high gloss but too slippery to offer a reader anywhere to grab on or linger.
Sep 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really liked these dark short stories. Maybe it’s because I’m from LA and am used to the sort of devastating endings that sell. They’re beautifully crafted and the prose is top notch. However, they’re so sharp and hurtful that I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone who is easily upset. Overall, I breezed through it, cried through multiple stories and felt a sense of relief a million times over when I was done. Schutt has a real knack for a sort of sing songy pacing that made me fly through this b ...more
Hannah // Book Nerd Native

Pure Hollywood by Christine Schutt is such a unique collection. Not all of the stories were 100% in my wheelhouse; however, Schutt can write beautiful prose & encapsulate a broad number of themes in a matter of 10 pages with her eccentric stories. Themes of dysfunctional families, motherhood, grief and love are just a few of the topics covered in these 144 pages of experimental literature.
This collection would be great to read on the tube or the train, or a plane flight. It would be great for th
May 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories, us
3.5 starts. As Ottessa Moshfegh said in her review, 'Come for the art of her exquisitely weird writing and stay for the human drama.' Dark and unsettling slice of life stories written in spare prose. Interior lives are explored at individuals most fragile times. Women feel burdened by others and want to escape while men are indifferent. There is a feeling of danger, disconnection, and loss bubbling just below the surface.

I loved the stories and they have now put me in the mood to go and read Ot
Deborah Siddoway
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is quite a difficult book to review as it is comprised of a number of short stories which have differing levels of skill and appeal. First and foremost I will start with the disclaimer that I really am more of a novel sort of a reader than a short story one. If I want to read something on the shorter side I would generally tend to opt for a novella. I would probably equate reading a short story as something akin to drinking shots - they are great for the short, sharp, shock value, but when ...more
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
"The permanence of his absence is a noise she hears when she listens to how quiet. How he did and he did and he did for her."

This short story collection is distinctively uneven. Standouts include "Species of Special Concern" and "The Duchess of Albany," both stories about the loss of a spouse and gardening, two subjects Schutt takes up frequently in this collection. The rest of the stories suffer from being overlong, dull, or unreadably opaque.
The rating average of 2.87 is perfect. Couldn’t have said it better myself.
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, january-2019
Rounding up. I loved the writing here but there was something a bit off with the structure. I pretty much wanted every story to be longer. I wish she had picked one and actually written a novel.
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