Doerr explores the human condition in all its varieties—metamorphosis, grief, fractured relationships, and slowly mending hearts—conjuring nature in both its beautiful abundance and crushing power. Some of the characters in these stories contend with hardships; some discover unique gifts; all are united by their ultimate deference to the ravishing universe outside themselves.
In her debut collection of short fiction, Due takes us to Gracetown, a small Florida town that has both literal and figurative ghost; into future scenarios that seem all too real; and provides empathetic portraits of those whose lives are touched by Otherness. Without abandoning the tenets of classic storytelling, Elliott revels in lush lyricism, dark humor, and experimental play. In these stories, Evenson unsettles us with the everyday and the extraordinary—the terror of living with the knowledge of all we cannot know.
In the hands of master storyteller Everett, the act of questioning leads to vistas more strange and unsettling than could ever have been expected. In July of , in Hardin County, Ohio, a boy sees ghosts. A teenage runaway and her mute brother seek salvation in houses, buses, the backseats of cars. Preteen girls dial up the ghosts of fat girls. A crew of bomber pilots addresses the ash of villagers below. A medical procedure reveals an object of worship. A carnivorous reptile divides and cauterizes a town.
Crime is a motif—sex crimes, a possible murder, crimes of the heart. Some of the love has depths, which are understood too late; some of the love is shallow, and also understood too late. Amy Gustine exhibits an extraordinary generosity toward her characters, instilling them with a thriving, vivid presence. She tackles eros and intimacy with a deceptively light touch, a keen awareness of how their nervous systems tangle and sometimes short-circuit, and a genius for revealing our most vulnerable, spirited selves.
Tied to their ancestral and adopted homelands in ways unimaginable in generations past, these memorable characters straddle both worlds but belong to none. These stories shine a light on immigrant families navigating a new America, straddling cultures and continents, veering between dream and disappointment. In this down and dirty debut she draws vivid portraits of bad people in worse places…A rising star of the new fast fiction, Hunter bares all before you can blink in her bold, beautiful stories. In this collection of slim southern gothics, she offers an exploration not of the human heart but of the spine; mixing sex, violence and love into a harrowing, head-spinning read.
Some readers noticed his nimble blending of humor with painful truths reminded them of George Saunders. But with his new collection, Jodzio creates a class of his own. Here they enter the worlds of sisters and brothers, fathers and mothers, daughters and sons, friends and lovers. With self-assurance and sensuality, April Ayers Lawson unravels the intertwining imperatives of intimacy—sex and love, violation and trust, spirituality and desire—eyeing, unblinkingly, what happens when we succumb to temptation.
Le Guin has, in each story and novel, created a provocative, ever-evolving universe filled with diverse worlds and rich characters reminiscent of our earthly selves. But as fantastical as these stories can be, they are always grounded by sly humor and an innate generosity of feeling for the frailty—and the hidden strengths—of human beings. From one of the greatest modern writers, these stories, gathered from the nine collections published during her lifetime, follow an unbroken time line of success as a writer, from her adolescence to her death bed.
The award-winning narratives in this mesmerizing debut trace the lives of ex-pats, artists, and outsiders as they seek to find their place in the world. Straddling the border between civilization and the wild, they all struggle to make sense of their loneliness and longings in the stark and often isolating enclaves they call home—golden fields and white-veiled woods, dilapidated farmhouses and makeshift trailers, icy rivers and still lakes rouse the imagination, tether the heart, and inhabit the soul.
While her work has earned her comparisons to Karen Russell and Kelly Link, she has a voice that is all her own. Her characters are a strange ensemble—a feral child, a girl raised from the dead, a possible pedophile—who share in vulnerability and heartache, but maintain an unremitting will to survive.
Meijer deals in desire and sex, femininity and masculinity, family and girlhood, crafting a landscape of appetites threatening to self-destruct. In beautifully restrained and exacting prose, she sets the marginalized free to roam her pages and burn our assumptions to the ground.
Propelled by a terrific instinct for storytelling, and concerned with the convolutions of modern love and the importance of place, this collection is about the battlefields—and fields of victory—that exist in seemingly harmless spaces, in kitchens and living rooms and cars. Set mostly in the American West, the stories feature small-town lawyers, ranchers, doctors, parents, and children, and explore the moral quandaries of love, family, and friendship. Like George Saunders, Karen Russell, and David Mitchell, he pulls from a variety of genres with equal facility, employing the fantastic not to escape from reality but instead to interrogate it in provocative, unexpected ways.
It is her miraculous gift to make these stories as real and unforgettable as our own. In works that are as memorable, engrossing, and exciting as they are gorgeously crafted, Neugeboren delivers on his reputation as one of our pre-eminent American writers. From a young Vietnamese refugee who suffers profound culture shock when he comes to live with two gay men in San Francisco, to a woman whose husband is suffering from dementia and starts to confuse her for a former lover, to a girl living in Ho Chi Minh City whose older half-sister comes back from America having seemingly accomplished everything she never will, the stories are a captivating testament to the dreams and hardships of migration.
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Gordo, the old Cubano that watches over the graveyards and sleeping children of Brooklyn, stirs and lights another Malaguena. It introduces us to an arresting and unforgettable new voice. Spanning four decades and three prize-winning collections, these twenty-one vintage selected stories and thirteen scintillating new ones take us around the world, from Jerusalem to Central America, from tsarist Russia to London during the Blitz, from central Europe to Manhattan, and from the Maine coast to Godolphin, Massachusetts, a fictional suburb of Boston.
China was just beginning to open itself up to commerce with other countries, and foreigners living in China were still relatively uncommon. Although she had studied Chinese and traveled in China, she was looking for an intense, exotic experience. Boy, did she get it. The recurring theme is Rachel trying to figure out what the hell is going on. In spite of her studies and experience, she struggled to understand or speak wit With a newly minted BA in English, Rachel DeWoskin moved to China in In spite of her studies and experience, she struggled to understand or speak with the Chinese.
You need to be careful with any language that uses the same word for "business" and "sex. She doesn't know anything about public relations and not very much about China, so there's a lot for Rachel to figure out. Most of her coworkers aren't much help. There are her language limitations; she has no experience as an actor, much less in acting as it's done on a Chinese soap opera; and the show is being filmed from the end of the script to the beginning.
It's no glamour assignment, either. She gets calls at 3: The show, it turns out, is about a couple of American women--one played by a German, but who cares? To attract viewers, the producers use whatever they can, including the reputation of western women for being "open-minded. Maybe they expect that as international commerce grows, there will be an onslaught of foreigners and strange ways, and they want to prepare their people? Or maybe somebody got bribed. The native population doesn't come across very sympathetically, which is a little unusual in this type of book.
Most of the Chinese disdain foreigners, resent them, or envy them. Verbal faux pas are not greeted with laughter or explanations. They embarrass the Chinese, who shun the speaker. Rachel spends quite a bit of time with Chinese intellectuals, who have the same complaints about their culture as any other intellectuals. I didn't really connect with this book. Maybe it's because in the period covered, the author never did find solid footing.
It's hard to explain something to a reader when the author isn't sure of it herself. Apr 26, Katie rated it it was ok Shelves: I never really got who DeWoskin was throughout the thing, and found myself super bored - especially considering that the story should have been really interesting.
It felt sort of squashed together; I rarely felt like I had a hold on the sequence of events, and then she'd put in a bunch of facts about China. While these were most certainly useful and interesting, it took me out of her own story at times and I found myself confused as to where we left off. When DeWoskin does show her personality, she. There's this naivete she puts across that I don't really buy, to be honest. I mean, I think it's reasonable to be overwhelmed by a place so different from where she grew up, but she has this "Aw, shucks! This is especially so when she discusses how embarrassed she was by the TV show.
If you didn't want to do it, then fine, don't, but how can you possibly be so awkward?
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It's like she wants to come off as this awesome adventuress AND a humble, thoughtful foreign girl just trying to sweetly make her way through Beijing. The only reason I'm not just giving it two stars is because I feel like my irritation at the voice was purely subjective. Perhaps, but the review is my own opinion, so whatevs. Honestly, if you have an interest in China, this is a light way to start understanding some of the history.
The rest is so muddled, though, that I would take her cultural observations with a grain of salt. Aug 14, Karen Germain rated it it was amazing. I immediately looked up other books by DeWoskin and discovered that she had written a memoir about her time living in China in the mid's. The title of her memoir "Foreign Babes In Beijing" refers to the title of the very popular Chinese soap opera that DeWoskin found herself cast in as Jiexi, an all American girl and temptress to one of the married Chinese male I first heard of Rachel DeWoskin a few weeks ago, when I picked up her one of her works of fiction, "Big Girl Small", which I loved.
The title of her memoir "Foreign Babes In Beijing" refers to the title of the very popular Chinese soap opera that DeWoskin found herself cast in as Jiexi, an all American girl and temptress to one of the married Chinese male characters. This memoir is just plain crazy and impossible to put down. DeWoskin did not move to China with any interest in acting, but went to the audition on a lark and she just seems to go with the flow with regard to experiences and people that come her way. She probably embraces a foreign culture in the best possible way, making many friends that lead her multiple opportunities.
She has interesting things to report regarding stereotypes both through her TV show and in the general public and how they can perpetuate false ideas. The stereotypes on the soap opera are often completely ridiculous, but shine a light on how even minor perpetuated falsehoods can cause damage when trying to break down cultural barriers. Sometimes people want to believe what they have been told, rather than listen to the person in front of them and form a real relationship.
This is not to say that DeWoskin doesn't form many real relationships with Chinese friends, but she is often finding herself having tread lightly and defend her culture and misrepresentations. This theme is rampant throughout the book. This book was endlessly interesting and a great read if you love memoirs or travel journals. Oct 06, Kathy rated it liked it. This was our book club selection this month and the it came highly touted.
It was a very interesting story. She also wins a role on a Chinese TV show as one of two foreign girls who steal the hearts of two Chinese brothers. The show is ultimately watched by million people. We saw some of it online and it's pretty much the cheesiest thing ever. DeWoskin also talks about two other critical e This was our book club selection this month and the it came highly touted. DeWoskin also talks about two other critical events that happened during her tenure in China. The second is the relationships she and her friend have with two Chinese friends that ends in tragic fashion.
What I came away with was a real sense of alienness. The Chinese don't understand the Americans and Europeans and seem to disrespect those people and cultures while trying to keep their culture to themselves. It was like, "you don't understand our ways so you're stupid but we won't explain our ways to you so you can know why we think you're stupid". I've no doubt with globalization this is less true today.
De Woskin even talked about how much China changed in the few years she was there. Ultimately, I enjoyed the book but I finished it feeling like I wanted more. I couldn't really articulate what that "more" was. She wanted more of the details in between.
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Perhaps that's what I was looking for, too. Aug 05, Shanti rated it really liked it Recommends it for: So far, I think this book is interesting because I relate to many of the heroine's experiences; I've been living in Beijing for the past 5 months. I'm not terribly swept away by the story; that may be because the book is more of an observation or diary, in my opinion. I am learning some new vocabulary from her - Chinese vocabulary.
The night I met Cui Jian, I came home, took a shower, and opened up this book to read the section where she describes a character, Kate's infatuation for t So far, I think this book is interesting because I relate to many of the heroine's experiences; I've been living in Beijing for the past 5 months. The night I met Cui Jian, I came home, took a shower, and opened up this book to read the section where she describes a character, Kate's infatuation for the godfather of rock music.
Shi Wei, like the rest of us, was spending parts of his life in a fantasy zone. The night he left that Christmas party, maybe he wanted to make a dramatic statement just by leaving. Kate and I do not believe that he wanted to die. If he risked death knowingly, it was because he had no idea that unlike in the movies, his death would last past the credits. Sep 11, Maria rated it liked it. I found this book a tad difficult to finish. There were a few 'intriguing' parts however, most of it was similar to a history book, delving into historical aspects of China's history.
I found these parts difficult to read, and tended to read through them quickly.
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I wasn't too keen on the biography chapters, which focused on specific individuals from Rachel's life whom she found interesting enough to write a whole chapter on. Needless to say, these chapters were a bit boring to read. I would have I found this book a tad difficult to finish.
I would have liked to read more about Rachel's time on the Chinese soap opera however, this was not written about enough. I felt that I truly didn't 'know' Rachel as a person, as she tended to write more about external factors rather then he true feelings towards a variety of situations. The Chinese soap opera that Rachel starred in does sound interesting however, it is difficult to find online.
Jan 07, Pia rated it liked it. An entertaining book about a young American woman's everyday life in China. It's interesting to read about Rachel's relations to people in her surroundings, for example her work colleagues what's accepted to do, to say and what is not. She describes communication differences and difficulties, and often it's a funny read. The author also takes China's politics and history into account, and places situations in relation to certain events. In that way the book is a part, and a result, of a life s An entertaining book about a young American woman's everyday life in China.
In that way the book is a part, and a result, of a life story bounded in a specific time and place. I love the part where Rachel describes why the introduction of Microsoft on the Chinese market was a failure. I had a good time reading this book. Dec 24, Alana Cash rated it it was ok. There's is a lot of interesting information about China in this book, but it's not well structured and it's not clear what it's about.
It advertises that it's about a young American woman who works in PR in Beijing and gets invited to star in a Chinese soap opera-style TV program, and the book begins with that theme. But it moves into other themes - politics, dating, etc. It would have been better if the author had written her entire book about one theme with the other interwoven There's is a lot of interesting information about China in this book, but it's not well structured and it's not clear what it's about.
It would have been better if the author had written her entire book about one theme with the other interwoven and then written a sequel memoir about the other themes in Beijing. But instead, she's sort of all over the place writing about people and events so that there's no tension or consistent flow to the story. I got lost as to what year she was writing about and how she had developed relationships with different people.
May 16, Lizzy Bent Bookworm rated it really liked it Shelves: I loved this book. It was the perfect cure for the book hangover I had when I begged a group of friends for recommendations. Even though the author's experience takes place about 20 years prior to my own, her descriptions are SO relatable - even though she was in China and I'm in South Korea. Of course the political scene is quite different, but that's only touched on a few times in the book mostly over the bombing of the Chinese embassy.
She's honest and entertaining. Been there done that. Oops, what did I do with 4 years of my life?!?
This, along with so many of her feelings as a foreigner trying to make her way in a new country. Also her descriptions of trying to be sexy for a Chinese audience. Mar 25, Meri rated it really liked it Shelves: This is a fascinating true story. She writes about her increasing understanding of China and what it means to be an American there during a period of rapid change, which is interesting enough.
On top of this, she becomes a celebrity as the show airs, and finds herself surrounded by intrigued Beijingers. She deals with the "fish in a bowl" feeling of having the Chinese scrutinize her every move and ass This is a fascinating true story. She deals with the "fish in a bowl" feeling of having the Chinese scrutinize her every move and assuming that all Americans act the same, but times because she's famous.
In the mean time, she develop relationships with a few Beijing residents, both Chinese and expat, and watches the ancient city develop at light speed. Jul 21, Anne rated it it was amazing. I found this book on the shelves of the One World Library Project and wasn't quite sure what to expect from the title. What a happy surprise! Turns out "Foreign Babes in Beijing" is the title of a popular sexy TV soap opera in China in which the author becomes an unexpected star, a "foreign babe", in the series.
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DeWoskin went to China for an adventure with only two years of college Mandarin under her belt and a job lined up working for an American PR firm. Her five years in Beijing in the 90s ca I found this book on the shelves of the One World Library Project and wasn't quite sure what to expect from the title. Her five years in Beijing in the 90s came during a period of enormous societal transformation and her stories of her personal experiences and insightful reflections on modern China are often humorous but always fascinating.
She is an astute observer and a brilliant writer. Jul 22, Maura rated it it was ok Shelves: On the Lonely Planet China recommended reading list The upside was that the author's experience in China comes across as quite believable. Also, her writing was reasonably free of superlatives for a something. The downside was that the plot wasn't very interesting aside from the cultural experiences. The best line of the book is during an argument between Rachael and some Chinese friends one day after the NATO bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, about whether the bombing was intentional On the Lonely Planet China recommended reading list The upside was that the author's experience in China comes across as quite believable.
The best line of the book is during an argument between Rachael and some Chinese friends one day after the NATO bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, about whether the bombing was intentional paraphrased from memory: America has terrible human rights. What do you mean, America has terrible human rights? President Clinton isn't even allowed to have a mistress. What kind of human rights is that? This was a good book, except that at points it got away from the Story by adding too many historical facts.
That being said, if anyone wants to know what it's like to live in Bejing, they will be able to understand after reading this book.
Just so you know, the name of the book is the name of a soap opera the author acted in, kind of as a fluke. She was in China working in marketing, and stumbled upon the opportunity to act. She is really good at being real and explaining the faults she had as an This was a good book, except that at points it got away from the Story by adding too many historical facts. She is really good at being real and explaining the faults she had as an American trying to communicate with Chinese, not just because of the language but because of the traditions of their people.
Jun 29, Margaret Sankey rated it liked it.