PARIS FOR ONE AND OTHER STORIES

Me Before You fans searching for the same emotional intensity should probably look elsewhere, but these stories make for a...

Moyes (After You, 2015, etc.) explores the lives of unsatisfied women in this collection of short stories and a novella.

In the title novella, a young woman named Nell plans a romantic weekend trip to Paris only to find out that her jerk of a boyfriend made a last-minute decision not to accompany her. Although Nell typically plays it safe, she eventually decides to enjoy her time in Paris alone. Her newfound sense of adventure allows her to enjoy the romance and excitement of the city (and a new man). Most of the short stories here follow a similar format: a woman who is unsatisfied with her relationship stumbles into a new situation or makes an out-of-character decision. One woman runs into an old lover at a party, one wears another woman’s shoes and experiences surprising results, and another ends up involved in a bank robbery. Women try out new identities, styles, and relationships and then either make triumphant changes or realize how wonderful their lives really were in the first place. This leads to a series of stories that can feel a bit homogenous, but Moyes’ engaging writing keeps things enjoyable. While there's nothing earth-shattering in this collection, it’s a pleasant and charming read.

Me Before You fans searching for the same emotional intensity should probably look elsewhere, but these stories make for a diverting treat while waiting for Moyes to write her next tear-jerker.

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2016

ISBN: 9780735221079

Page Count: 239

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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THE THINGS THEY CARRIED

It's being called a novel, but it is more a hybrid: short-stories/essays/confessions about the Vietnam War—the subject that O'Brien reasonably comes back to with every book. Some of these stories/memoirs are very good in their starkness and factualness: the title piece, about what a foot soldier actually has on him (weights included) at any given time, lends a palpability that makes the emotional freight (fear, horror, guilt) correspond superbly. Maybe the most moving piece here is "On The Rainy River," about a draftee's ambivalence about going, and how he decided to go: "I would go to war—I would kill and maybe die—because I was embarrassed not to." But so much else is so structurally coy that real effects are muted and disadvantaged: O'Brien is writing a book more about earnestness than about war, and the peekaboos of this isn't really me but of course it truly is serve no true purpose. They make this an annoyingly arty book, hiding more than not behind Hemingwayesque time-signatures and puerile repetitions about war (and memory and everything else, for that matter) being hell and heaven both. A disappointment.

Pub Date: March 28, 1990

ISBN: 0618706410

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1990

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THE COMPLETE STORIES

The thirty-one stories of the late Flannery O'Connor, collected for the first time. In addition to the nineteen stories gathered in her lifetime in Everything That Rises Must Converge (1965) and A Good Man is Hard to Find (1955) there are twelve previously published here and there. Flannery O'Connor's last story, "The Geranium," is a rewritten version of the first which appears here, submitted in 1947 for her master's thesis at the State University of Iowa.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1971

ISBN: 0374515360

Page Count: 555

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1971

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