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McSweeney's 17 (McSweeney's Quarterly Concern #17)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  275 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
Issue 17 is not an ordinary issue of McSweeney's. It is, however, an ordinary-looking bundle of mail, stacked and rubber-banded, containing the usual items: a recent issue of Yeti Researcher; a large envelope, called Envelope, containing fine oversized reproductions of new art; a sausage-basket catalog; a flyer for slashed prices on garments that are worn by more than one
Published April 27th 2006 by Hamish Hamilton (first published October 14th 2005)
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MJ Nicholls
This issue is an exercise in world-class parody, with top marks for invention and attention-to-detail. Arriving in a clump of documents belonging to one Sgt Maria Vasquez, the issue spoofs the spam mail letter in the form of a ‘spam manuscript’ (a novel excerpt printed on double-sided A4) and a series of automobile and trout photographs.

The stories themselves are entirely incidental, included in a spoof literary quarterly called Unfamiliar. It is what McSweeney’s might have become without the v
Nate D
Nov 15, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mcsweeneys
It just needs to be stated that "fake mail pile" has to be one of the most amusing and underutilized literary journal formats.

Bonus points for working in the classic "Nigerian Email Con" but turning it into some kind of Bangladeshi marriage scheme motivated by impending flooding by a World Bank dam proposal. And making this the cover letter for a manuscript.


Format: ****
Surprising inclusion of contemporary art reproductions, inlcuding a Camille Rose Garcia painting I've always loved: ****
Jul 22, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Numerous issues. Bad binding.
Sam Quixote
McSweeney's 17 is designed to look like a bundle of junk mail. So you have a couple of letters which are actually stories, you get a clothes catalogue for conjoined twins, attractively designed chocolate baskets brochure, a Yeti magazine, a magazine of short stories called "Unfamiliar", and a manila envelope with beautiful artwork printed on card. Suffice it to say, no one is doing what McSweeney's is doing in the literary world.

And some might well roll their eyes at the list above but chances
Nov 06, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: indiespensable
Brilliantly conceived epistolary issue of the journal. Before I knew what was happening I was standing over the stove, steaming open the letters of one mysterious Sgt. Maria Vasquez like some kind of criminal. Well, who wouldn't, for an assortment of photographs of red cars (and fish), provided we're willing to waive all liability?

The items included are clever and at times hilarious. On format alone this would get five stars. The only unfortunate thing is that we don't learn more about Vasquez
Feb 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the amazing 'Pile of Mail' issue. The whole issue is printed and assembled like it's someone's mail. Literally. There are short stories in envelopes that are sealed and stamped and post-marked. There are publications like "Yeti Researcher" and "Unfamiliar", and catalogs for shirts with 4 armholes. Even an envelope of postcards of amazing new artworks. All bound together in a giant rubber band. This truly an awesome issue.
Dec 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I recently wrote a short thing about Dave Eggers and then realized that I hadn't rated or reviewed the many issues of McSweeney's I've read. The early issues were especially influential and inspiring to me. This issue was obnoxious with all its loose parts but really great nonetheless, especially the Yeti Researcher thing and the never-repeated "twice monthly magazine" Unfamiliar.
May 14, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I finally got around to reading this after having it on my shelf for several years. I loved the individual packaging of each element but overall wasn't wild about much of the content. I did love the Peter Ferry story for it's examination of the story-telling process. "Bits of Quality Time" was also a nice piece.
David Markwell
Feb 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a really brilliant issue of McSweeney's. The Journal of Yeti Research and the Unfamiliar both make for great reads as do the letters. Probably most interesting is the art sent in the manila envelope. A great Mcsweeney's.
Rachel McKinney
Jun 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most unique quarterlies EVER. I picked this up in a package deal right from McSweeney's and was the best treat to recieve... I like to put it in the magazine rack in my bathroom during parties and see who notices and what they say.
Feb 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I was wary about this one at first, and I found the yeti book to be pretty lame, but the more I dug in, the more I liked. The envelope of art was especially awesome. Too bad this idea never took off.
May 15, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first McSweeney's Quarterly Concern; I think I stepped in at a good time. The preperation on this one is impeccable.
Jan 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved the format!
David Gray
Better in the format than the content.
Christian Lipski
The Yeti Researcher volume was so realistic that I had to look on the internet to see if it was real. The other bits were lovingly crazy. Some nice stories indeed.
Oct 11, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
this came with one of my quarterly orders. it was funny but really just a loose jumble of papers and photographs that were hard to keep on the bookshlef.
Apr 07, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mcsweeney-s
Points for creative format, loss of points for lack of interesting reading. A big pile of paper joke.
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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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