impressive story told through the dialogue of two prisoners in a jail in an unnamed latin american country. a gay window dresser entertains his revolutionary cellmate by narrating movies he has seen, and over time an intimacy develops between them. interspersed are theory-laden footnotes about the origins of homosexuality. due to the format, a...more
i stuck with this book even though i never really liked any of the characters. at the end i just felt ambivalent about the story in general. it always seems wrong to not care about the protagonist, but it’s worse to not care about anyone in the story or anything that happened at all.
an aging misanthropic writer follows a...more
kind of a ﬁctional memoir of a middle-aged woman as she reminisces to herself about her best friend at ﬁfteen. the familiar tone enriches the story, and the recounting of returning to her hometown after a long absence rang especially true. though the frog theme stuck into my subconscious in a bizarre way.
i tend to like books written as letters or diaries, as i tend to have a harder time reminding myself it’s not real. the concept of anonymous letters from a freshman in high school written to a mysterious older person he doesn’t actually know somehow emphasizes that, even with the few awkward parts that struggle to maintain the weird...more
i think i got books mixed up. i remember looking at a book in a store recently and thinking it sounded good. i also saw this book and remembered how i read Minot’s book of poems several months ago. somehow this became the book i wanted to read, but i can’t recall the other book at all. i glanced at...more
the back of the book claims these are “set against the backdrop of the nineteenth century.” i don’t want to nitpick or anything, but several are mostly set in the twentieth century and two are set in the eighteenth century.
the stories all hinge on the sciences — from genetics to zoology to public health to several other...more
i only read about a third of this, since 700 pages of short stories seemed like a bit much all at once. even if i have been reading so many short story collections lately. these are set mostly in nyc, various times between the 1930s and 1950s with a range of class focuses. Cheever has exciting insights into his characters. i loved the slightly...more
sometimes i don’t know if it’s that the stories get better as they come or if it just takes a few to get into the general feel. having been in wyoming last year, it’s nice to have a sense of how attuned the descriptions of scenery and atmosphere are in this collection. the longer stories are easy favorites: “Pair of Spurs”...more