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McSweeney's #14

(McSweeney's Quarterly Concern #14)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  334 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Joshuah Bearman leads a daring investigation into the enigmatic Great Gerbil of central Asia, uncovering signs of an impending disaster. The issue also includes strange and wonderful stories from T.C. Boyle, Susan Straight, Jim Shepard, Wells Tower, and others.
Paperback, 306 pages
Published September 27th 2004 by McSweeney's
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3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  334 ratings  ·  22 reviews

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Oct 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Chris Adrian's "A Child's Book of Sickness Death" revolutionized the way I think about writing, especially in terms of characterization. I can almost recite it by heart. Mr. Adrian's notions of sin and consequence (not especially apparent in this particular story) are what keep my stomach churning in the most crucial ways. I only wish he'd have kept true to the Cindy Flemm he presents in this story instead of turning her into a wishy washy slut in The Children's Hospital.

The Woman Who Sold Commu
Nate D
Nov 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
How fitting to begin a collection whose cover is graced by a deeply regretful, war-wounded Commander in Chief on the exact day that we actively exorcise him from office. "Did you vote?" asked the elderly women with the poodle on the street. "Did you vote?" inquired the homeless man whom imitates the automated voices on the subway. "Did You Vote?" the maintenance man inquired into his phone in the white hospital corridor. Did. You. Vote?


Is Chris Adrian one of our most promising new fiction aut
Jul 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Interesting mix. Interesting mix.
Jun 27, 2009 rated it liked it

Overall, I like the format of these, so I like them a lot more than three stars. I'm basing the rating, though, on the number of stories I really liked out of the total number of stories or so.

A Child's Book of Sickness and Death - Chris Adrian
The Woman Who Sold Communion - Kate Braverman
Civilization by Ryan Boudenot
Dennis Johnson - The Soul of a Whore Act III (not because I read the entire play, but because his dialog just makes me really happy)
Paul McCann
Nov 28, 2009 rated it liked it
Much better than 18. Story about possible gerbil invasion not as interesting as might be thought. "Pigs in Space" not as interesting as it sounds; "The Death of Mustango Salvaje" tops the list, concerns bullfighting; "A Child's Book of Sickness and Death" is as painful to read as it sounds but surprisingly engaging.
Dec 09, 2007 rated it really liked it
McSweeney's is so good at finding unusual stories from both established writers and people who have never been published before. A few of my favorites were "A Child's Book of Sickness and Death" by Chris Adrian, "The Doubtfulness of Water" by T.C. Boyle, and "Pigs in Space" by Claire Light. Thanks to my brother Gabe for giving me four McSweeney's volumes for Christmas.
Aug 24, 2007 rated it liked it
a few really good short stories in this one, both remind me of stephanie (yes, you!): "civilization" by ryan boudinot detailed a futuristic "retirement" plan and"the woman who sold communion" by kate braverman included peyote, nervous breakdown road trips, and mothers who don't believe in being motherly.
May 01, 2011 rated it did not like it
My least favorite McSweeney's. I expect any issue to have hits and misses, but this one felt like almost exclusively misses. "Hadrian's Wall", "How It Floods", and Weschler's Convergences were about the only saving graces of this issues for me.
Aug 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
A Child's Book of Sickness and Death - Chris Adrian
The Woman Who Sold Communion - Kate Braverman
Pia Z. Ehrhardt – How It Floods
T.C. Boyle - The Doubtfulness of Water
Silvia DiPierdomenico – That Which I Am
Susan Straight – What It Ain’t
May 20, 2007 rated it liked it
my favorite short story in this collection has to be the first one, "A Child's Book of Sickness and Death," by Chris Adrian. Skip "Hadrian's Wall." So far, I'm at Lawrence Weschler's essay on a thumb sculpture. So, I guess I'm halfway through. The letters section in this one is really good, too.
Sep 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
Like most of these McSweeney's (or, really, compilations in general) the majority of the stories were pretty good. There were a few that I couldn't get past the first page or two and a few that were absolutely perfect.
Jeanette Levy
Apr 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
good, but dark.
Mar 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Several really great stories in here (Chris Adrian, Silvia DiPierdomenico, Chris Bachelder) but none of them from the authors I'd expect (Jim Sheppard, Wells Tower, TC Boyle).
Andrea  Fuentes
Aug 06, 2010 rated it liked it
Reading this has made me realize that writing a short story might be a million times more difficult than writing a novel. I'm just saying.
Jul 26, 2007 rated it liked it
Be sure to read the gerbil essay!
Jan 01, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Half of the stories I liked and half I didn't. This book also exposed me to some new authors.
Joel Neff
May 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of Modern Lit
Eclectic and exciting collection of short stories. Not all are perfect, but all are superbly readable. Stand out for me was "Pigs in Space".
Apr 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
top notch as always.

I especially liked the story by Kate Braverman The woman who sold communion.
Feb 06, 2009 is currently reading it
on my way through the collection again...
Jul 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
children dying in hospital wards, women getting abused on front lawns, a son has to kill his parents by order of the government and a long article about giant gerbils.

loved it.
Jennie Mclaren
Jun 23, 2012 rated it liked it
Full of short stories and essays. There's a lot of variety in there -- both in terms of topics and writing style. Some I really enjoyed, others were more 'meh'.
Jun 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Hadrian's Wall
An Investigation Into...
The Animal Kingdom
That Which I am
Soul of a Whore (all of them, not just this 3rd Act)
Isaac Bess
rated it really liked it
Feb 15, 2015
Noel VerDine
rated it it was ok
Nov 28, 2007
Sarah Newhouse
rated it liked it
Aug 20, 2008
rated it liked it
May 03, 2007
rated it really liked it
Jul 07, 2008
rated it it was amazing
Feb 26, 2008
rated it really liked it
Aug 01, 2013
rated it really liked it
Jun 24, 2009
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Dave Eggers is the author of ten books, including most recently Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever?, The Circle and A Hologram for the King, which was a finalist for the 2012 National Book Award. He is the founder of McSweeney’s, an independent publishing company based in San Francisco that produces books, a quarterly journal of new writing (McSweeney’s Quarterly ...more

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