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Ladies and Gentlemen

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  497 Ratings  ·  75 Reviews
After his widely celebrated debut, Mr. Peanut, Adam Ross now presents a darkly compelling collection of stories about brothers, loners, lovers, and lives full of good intentions, misunderstandings, and obscured motives.

A hotshot lawyer, burdened by years of guilt and resentment, comes to the rescue of his irresponsible, irresistible younger brother. An unsettling story res
Hardcover, 241 pages
Published June 28th 2011 by Alfred A. Knopf (first published January 1st 2011)
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Rating details
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Jun 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hey-shorty
this came into the store on tuesday.
i borrowed it on tuesday.
i read it on tuesday.

now what?

now i have to wait for him to write another book which i will probably consume just as quickly. it hardly seems fair. i mean, obviously, it's my own damn fault for my enthusiasm, but i can't help feeling like mr. ross is somehow culpable in all of this; to come at me with stories after having written one of the most complicated and gripping novels i have read in recent years (that's mr. peanut, lazies),
Krok Zero
Jun 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: summer-2011
In these seven gratifyingly fulsome tales, Adam Ross safeguards against the embalmed inconsequentiality of the modern short story with an array of complex narrative architectures, a simple dedication to strong storytelling, and a healthy coating of moral ambiguity. The wheel remains un-reinvented, but there's (more than) enough generative resourcefulness here to confirm Ross as a major new writer. And though Ross is using the same tools as any other literary short-monger, this book is somehow ju ...more
Adam Ross
Jun 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Karyn Gayle
Feb 09, 2012 rated it did not like it
I was disappointed with this book, especially since I loved this author's first book, "Mr. Peanut." Like “Mr. Peanut,” this book was well written. Also similar to his previous work, you definitely see Ross’ bleak view of human nature. Each story was interesting to read but none (with the exception of the first story which just had a predictable ending) had an ending. Six of the seven stories just abruptly ended when I thought I was in the tale’s middle. My first thought was, “Did I miss somethin ...more
Aaron Mcquiston
Mar 11, 2012 rated it liked it
I like Adam Ross. He seems like the kind of guy that would be fun to take out for pizza and beer then roll a car. The impression from his stories, which is probably less like the truth than anything I have ever said, makes him seem crazy, a little wild, a little like it is tough for him to build relationships. This is complete garbage, I know as I type this, but in all of us there is a dreamer, a sliver of hope that wishes people would turn out to be the way we want them to be.

Is this really a
Apr 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Eh. The book was okay, I guess.

It is obvious, in reading through these stories, where their author has written directly from his experience and where he is weaving fiction. The stories are not uniformly autobiographical, and so the overall collection is a bit uneven.

The details in "Middleman," for instance, are both vivid and ring absolutely true. But of course they do. It's a story about a kid from the West Side who fancies his East Side friend's older sister, then uses his insider knowledge as
For a really excellent, helpful review of this title, please read Krok Zero's review. I agree with all of his points, but with about 25% less enthusiasm. Reason being, I have a huge respect for Adam Ross's skill, but I'm a temperamental reader when it comes to short stories, and the more compelling they are, the more I want them to be novels. Almost all of these stories were great first chapters, and it really pissed me off when they stood me up at the end of the page. I especially loved the sto ...more
Jul 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Mr. Peanut by Adam Ross has been on my shelf for the past year. To be honest, I bought it because there was a lot of hype about it, but the content doesn't really interest me. It's a murder story, and those immediately turn me off. I know I'm being biased and unreasonably silly, but that's me. But now that I have all but devoured Adam Ross' new short story collection, I know that Mr. Peanut is not far behind. All the stories in Ladies and Gentlemen draw you in immediately, so subtly and easily t ...more
Casey Ferneyhough
Jun 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Alright so, individually I loved all the stories in this book. The characters were interesting, diverse and all with issues most of us face on a day to day basis.
As a whole I was a little disappointed. This book is called ladies and gentlemen but of the 7 stories only one was about a women. And that story was about an affair. I wish that there could have been more stories told from a female narrative rather than just a mans but I guess we can't win them all.
I would definitely recommend the boo
Joost van Hoek
May 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Vertaald als Dames en heren en verschenen bij Podium. Sterke verhalen die meer aandacht verdienen.
Anton Segers
Jun 05, 2018 rated it did not like it
Eén sterk verhaal op 7 is niet genoeg. 'Mister Peanut' was beter. We zullen moeten wachten op een nieuwe roman.
Jun 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
There are some slight flaws to the short stories (the endings to some of them are rather abrupt or conversely, long-drawn) but I was blown away by all of them nonetheless. This is the type of short story I enjoy - meandering between past and present and different perspectives, yet thoroughly engaging and grounded in reality and relationships - snapshots of daily life, if you will. While my favourite short story writers Raymond Carver and Alice Munro differ very much in their styles, they provide ...more
Jul 31, 2013 rated it liked it
The strength of this collection of seven stories is in their variety and some snappy dialogue. But that was not enough to get me past the sadness in most of the relationships which appear in the stories. Most of the stories are about married couples who are not getting along but decide to tough it out, though one is about two brothers albeit with similar issues. These characters inhabit worlds which are largely joyless for the adults, full of indecision and unspoken loneliness.

The cover blurb c
Heather Noble
Mar 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
These stories are discerning, disturbing, disarming and sometimes deliciously dark as they depict the lives and motives of those who share our spaces.
Although a book of short stories, it's a page turner as you want to find out not only the resolution to each story but what configuration of character and circumstance will entertain you in the next. And entertaining the stories are, featuring characters with dilemmas and weaknesses they struggle to resolve and hide from families and friends but to
Aug 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
"He imagined it was something a hummingbird must feel: an awareness of moving with great rapidity while the surrounding world remains stuck in slow motion" (88).
“As for me, I became a writer, and every job I’ve ever held or choice I’ve ever made has been ancillary to this task. This means I’m free to embellish, to treat memory as fact or shape it to suit whatever I’m working on. My primary responsibility, I suppose, is to set you dreaming. If that requires me to alter things, then I will…” (126)
Kaycie Hall
Jul 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Surprisingly (because I had to put down Mr. Peanut after it depressed the hell out of me) I really enjoyed these stories. Dark and a little edgy just as I would expect of Mr. Ross, but not so dark that I had to stop myself from reading before I started looking suspiciously at everyone close to me and suspecting them of maliciousness (which, in case you were wondering, is the effect Mr. Peanut had one me--not to say that doesn't suggest some very powerful writing. It's kind of a compliment).

I thi
Emily Crowe
Jun 25, 2011 rated it liked it
I never read Ross's first book, the highly acclaimed Mr. Peanut, but I knew enough of it to expect a few dark twists in this new collection of short stories and I was not disappointed. The titular ladies are mostly non-existent; instead these stories are populated with so-called gentlemen who are up to their chinny-chin-chin hairs with misapplied expectations. The stories are quite good and just varied enough to feel like you're getting something a little different each time around while still g ...more
Marc Allen
Jun 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
While not quite as intense and gripping as Mr. Peanut, Ladies and Gentleman approaches subjects in a more macro viewpoint. I finished this within the first two days of it being released, and the only reason that I stopped on the first day is that I did not want it to end.

The stories address many questions with powerful characters and answers the central question of "what happens when no one is watching and the darkly human characteristics become demonstrated?"

Ross uses a very deliberate prose in
Dec 29, 2011 rated it it was ok
Maybe 2 1/2 stars ...

This collection of short stories is really hard to rate and review because each story is so different in quality, voice and construct. The first 'short' story is 60 pages long and rambles with excess verbiage and plot lines. It wrapped up nicely though. The second story had some nice points, but no central plot or story wrap up. It was a more manageable 40 pages. The third story was vulgar with sex talk and people willingly and knowingly walking into messed up situations. Yo
Evanston Public  Library
After bursting on to the literary scene with last year's acclaimed Mr. Peanut, Adam Ross has returned with this superb collection of seven short stories. Much like his debut, these twisting, noirish tales turn up the suspense with a touch of the surreal as they explore the darker corners of marriage and friendship. In the standout "The Rest of It," for instance, a lonely English professor panics after befriending a mysterious handyman who might just be harboring a murderer while in the unnerving ...more
Michelle Despres
Apr 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: us, short-stories, own
I came back to change my 4-star rating to 5 stars. My minimalist thoughts...

The collection starts off well with Futures. Some might say one element of it was predictable; I call it foreshadowing. Overall: surprising, heartbreaking, and frustrating.

The Suicide Room is fantastic.

In the Basement is wonderfully complex even though it's mundane in a way.

When in Rome is great. Again, surprising and frustrating with a hint of relief.

Middleman was evocative. 1980s Manhattan. A seventh grader. These cha
Apr 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
I normally don't care too much for short stories but I loved Adam Ross's Mr. Peanut so much that I had to pick up his collection of short stories. These stories were haunting like Mr. Peanut. They reminded me of Twilight Zone episodes because most of them ended with a dark moral and seemed eerie. I enjoyed most of them but was left wanting more. I thought some of them ended too abruptly.

I may just not be a short story person and I also think I had my hopes up way too high for this collection aft
Jul 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a much better book than Mr. Peanut which was overlong and overthought. This collection of contemporary short stories deals with current issues in modern life, mostly revolving around the angst of young people. I particularly liked "The Suicide Room" and "When in Rome" the latter of which deals with the distonic relationship between two brothers. The title story, however, seems very contrived, and has been done before as The Lady or The Tiger by Leigh Hunt and does not present much in the ...more
K.l. Dillon
Feb 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Every one
Two months ago, I've finished this short story collection, Adam Ross' follow up to the riveting Mr. Peanut, and each single story hasn't left me. Each story is more riveting than the last and I promise you each story will creep into your head and it will stay there...for ever. But, I'm not complaining. From Futures to the title story, Ladies and Gentlemen, Adam Ross has strung together one hell of a short story collection. It's rare an author is this good this early in his career!

Please do your
Aug 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
This story collection is dark, funny and undeniably captivating. Adam Ross clearly lets you know what each story is "about" without anything ever coming across as too heavy handed. Throughout each tale his characters are impossibly real and fleshed out so well that I often found myself believing they are out there somewhere in the world, leading their lives just as Ross depicts them. These are the stories adults might tell around the campfire to scare one another, each listener tensely sitting n ...more
Dec 01, 2014 rated it liked it
I like Adam's narrative. I like the disruptive, unsettling themes prevalent throughout his collection (isolation, de facto infidelity. fatalism, moral ambiguity), which make for guilty neo-noir pleasures. I like the pacing of a majority of the tales, and the plausible realism of the novellas. But I can't shake how every story came across as one being told to a distracted listener, replete with an absolute suspension of your suspension of disbelief. I felt nothing for the characters, and every tw ...more
Jan 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: usa
Crisp and insightful. One of the best collections of short stories I've read. Some of my favorite lines:

"What's clear to me is that it's easier to understand what makes two people let go than what keeps than together." (from In the Basement)

"Because distances between siblings, I suspect, might be a birthright that's as strong and arbitrary and ineluctable as love; yet because we feel we must honor this accident of our relatedness, we try to swim against it again and again." (from When in Rome)

Aug 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012august
Lots of good in this short-story collection, though Ross often leaves the reader hanging. I know lots of folks feel unsatisfied with the format in general -- they hate saying goodbye just as they start to care. I get that, but it's not Ross's problem here. Ross cuts off the action -- nearly every time -- juuuuuust before the climax. So we don't get to see it. We don't know which path the character chooses. And it was frustrating as hell.

All in all, still nowhere near as fulfilling, fun or freaky
Kasa Cotugno
Jul 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
How does a writer escape the sophomore curse following the stunning reception of his first book? Adam Ross's solution was to publish some short fiction written during the seven years it took him to round out Mr. Peanut. The result presented here is a remarkable collection of well crafted, hauntingly plotted stories with richer characterizations than is usually found. He admits to starting off knowing how he'll begin and end a story, spending the majority of time fleshing out the middle. The resu ...more
Jan 28, 2012 rated it liked it
Short story collections where everyone ends up miserable please me to no end. While a few of the stories were pretty predictable (Futures, especially) I didn't really mind knowing where he was going. In The Basement was the weakest, though, and the book would have been better overall without it. But I can forgive one bad story in a slice of life collection. I don't know if I'd trust Adam Ross to entertain me for a novel, but I'd pick up another collection of stories happily.
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Adam Ross lives in Nashville with his wife and two daughters. His debut novel, Mr. Peanut, a 2010 New York Times Notable Book, was also named one of the best books of the year by The New Yorker, The
Philadelphia Inquirer
, The New Republic, and The Economist. Ladies and Gentlemen, his short story collection, was included in Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2011. His nonfiction has been published in The
More about Adam Ross

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