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All the Names They Used for God: Stories

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  4,536 ratings  ·  716 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
Paperback, 256 pages
Published June 18th 2019 by Dial Press (first published February 20th 2018)
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Shraavya Malli There are nine stories in all.

The World by Night
Logging Lake
Killer of Kings
All the Names for God
Robert Greenman and the Mermaid
Anything You …more
There are nine stories in all.

The World by Night
Logging Lake
Killer of Kings
All the Names for God
Robert Greenman and the Mermaid
Anything You Might Want
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Average rating 4.04  · 
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 ·  4,536 ratings  ·  716 reviews

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Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-fiction, arc
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
Let's just say, I liked the book. I liked a few of the stories a lot!! I thought others were meh. In a book with only nine stories, more than one "meh can diminish an overall rating. First off, I think Sachdeva is a fantastic writer. Graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop and has taught writing at several renowned universities, and through this book has won several awards; it's clear that she is a writer's writer. Certainly, she has a way with words and is a gifted storyteller with a weird, wild ...more
Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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.

Oct 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Zachary F.
"Sometimes John thinks he has always known this poem, that it has underlain his life like the seeds of a field, waiting for the ray of sun that will call it forth into the world. Other days he thinks he will weave it together from images and sounds and bits of twine that he has found here and there through the years and stored in his pockets until he had need of them. There was even a time, decades ago now, when he began to write the poem, but it withered in his hands like a plucked flower. A ...more
(3.5) All the Names They Used for God is a slippery collection of stories, difficult to get a handle on. Most collections I read either have some unifying theme or, at least, consist of stories written within the confines of a particular genre. This book, however, has no consistency in terms of setting, genre, voice or style. It's both uneven and exciting.

'The World by Night' follows an albino woman living on the prairie, who takes to exploring underground caves while her husband is away on a l
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
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
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. ...more
Dec 29, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Martie Nees Record
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
Lolly K Dandeneau
Nov 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Kim Lockhart
Jul 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a nice collection of stories all essentially about fate and what we do with the hand we're dealt. None of the stories end tidily, which I like. They feel more real that way. The strongest writing, in my view, is in the more futuristic stories, but they are all readable. The Mermaid story was my least favorite, but it's hard to write from so many viewpoints exactly evenly.

I would love to read a full-length otherworldly sci-fi futuristic novel by this author.
Nov 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(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
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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*
Kristin MB
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! ...more
Michael Batz
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Stef Smulders
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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,
I imagine it is very hard to write a good collection of short stories mainly because it takes a lot to have a strong plot with well developed characters in just 3-15 pages. Anjali Sachdeva makes this challenge seems seamless.

This is a very strong, solid collection of short stories, I am amazed at her writing range. She explores so many different topics and does it so spectacularly. I am floored that this is a debut collection because it is so well done. Some of my stand out stories are:
The Worl
Savir  Husain Khan
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Start the year as I mean to go on - by reading more short story collections. This book was great. It had a little sprinkle of everything and just enough to keep me satisfied and wanting more. The last few lines of the final story will stick with me for a long while.
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