Monday, April 25, 2011

Book Review: The Reasons I Won't Be Coming and Other Stories

The Reasons I Won't Be Coming & Other Stories
Elliot Perlman
4.12.11 - 4.24.11

Going through the record of my impressions of these short stories was like the best validation for why I should record my thoughts. I really liked seeing how my opinions have changed. I still need to do a re-read of Perlman's Seven Types of Ambiguity to make a final decision, but I'm leaning towards a "yes" when it comes to Perlman. At least, I'm definitely making my sister read these stories!

Good Morning Again: I can't decide if Perlman is self-depricating or just a smug pretentious jerk. But this story made me sad for all the right reasons.

In The Time of the Dinosaurs: So far, during his stories, it's like you can see the movie version. The narrator in an interview chair, talking, with occasional glimpses into the scenes he's describing. I don't say this about fiction often, but I think it'd be better if it was real...

Your Niece's Speech Night: "We never completely lose our childhood appetites; we just add to them, and in doing so, they become a little less conspicuous" For 98% of the story, I liked it. And I really don't want to be anything like his characters. Then I got to the very end, though, and realized I didn't understand this story. Apparently. The ending, to me, screamed "go back and read this over". So I will probably do just that (but I haven't yet).

The Reasons I Won't Be Coming: The reference to the all-ordinaries, a theme in Three Dollars, was like an inside joke of a reference, a nod of approval to his fan base. I think I like these stories. Falling into the cadence is comforting, but also leaves me with a slightly strange feeling that I'm not sure quite how to describe.

Manslaughter: Oh man. I was pretty ambivalent about this story until the last few pages, when it focused on the widow. Intense and strong finish.

The Hong Kong Fir Doctrine: This is possibly the best "break up" short story I've read. I read about half of it aloud, and it felt so perfect.

I Was Only In A Childish Way: His stories grow better every time. This one was my favorite so far. So disjointed...

Spitalnic's Last Year: This one seemed to branch out from his others somehow, but I'm not quite sure how.

A Tale in Two Cities: First one with a female narrator. Intense story. He loses his rhythm with this length, but Jesus did he get it back in the end. The end was so incredibly, amazingly intense (And, side note, reading ANYTHING about Russia makes me itch to get to the Russian parts of my reading list. Can I just whine for a second that Moby Dick is taking waaaaay longer than I thought it would? And not in a good way!!)

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