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When the Nines Roll Over: And Other Storiesby David Benioff
"David Benioff's is not the sort of prose that gets singled out in reviews. I imagine critics referring to it as 'workman-like' or 'serviceable.' It's the kind of prose I love, unspooling naturally and smoothly....Benioff's stories thrilled me, made me laugh, had me making faces as I read, and reached me in a way that precious few short stories do. And when the book was finished...I wanted to turn to the first page and revisit each story again." Chris Bolton, Powells.com (read the entire Powells.com review)
Synopses & Reviews
In When the Nines Roll Over, David Benioff uses humor and rich characterizations to explore the sometimes thrilling, sometimes pathetic emotional lives of a diverse set of characters. Over the course of eight stories, we are introduced to a host of young people on the cusp of discovery and loss. As he evokes the various states of agony and pleasure — humiliation, rebellion, camaraderie, and desire — Benioff displays a profound understanding of the transformative power of a single moment and how sadness can be illuminated by a humorous flip side. When the Nines Roll Over confirms the promise of a gifted writer emerging as a storytelling force.
"Benioff is on a roll. His first novel, the crime drama The 25th Hour, was made into a critically acclaimed film directed by Spike Lee. He also wrote the screenplay for the summer blockbuster Troy. In his latest project, an octet of thoughtful short stories, he takes it down a notch from those high-profile projects, but he definitely doesn't rest on his laurels. The book begins with the title story, about a jaded hipster record executive who is trying to steal a talented and sexy young singer away from a small label. It's a tautly told tale with a wonderfully evil edge. Hip is hard to do, but Benioff can pull it off, as when the reader follows the protagonist into a series of increasingly restricted VIP rooms: 'Tabachnik had been places with four progressively-more-exclusive areas, where the herds were thinned at each door by goons with clipboards, turning away the lame.' Like a lot of great short stories, it leaves you wanting to continue on with the characters to see where they end up. The other seven stories in the collection are a varied lot, ranging from the tale of a young soldier grappling with the moral complications of having to execute an elderly woman to a drama about a lovesick young man's decision to secretly scatter his girlfriend's father's ashes. The stories are offbeat, but not overly obtuse, and each one is driven by fully formed characters. This is a superb collection, and it proves that Benioff can handle the long and the short of the fiction game. Agent, Jennifer Rudolph Walsh. (Aug. 28)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[A]n ace storyteller....'The Devil Comes to Orekhovo'...may be the best Hemingway story Hemingway never wrote. (Grade: A-)" Entertainment Weekly
"Fully lives up to expectations....Story collections aren't always high on readers' to-do lists these days. This one should be." San Francisco Chronicle
"Eight deliciously accessible stories....All of these will hook you fast, and they'll keep you hooked....Technical accomplishment that's matched by a generosity of spirit." Kirkus Reviews
"A deft stylist who's a notch or two tamer than Chuck Palahniuk and T. C. Boyle, Benioff finds levity amidst the gravity in a world where the simplest of moments can change the course of our lives." Booklist
"There's a reason this kind of writing has lasted for ages; simply put, it's fun to read. The successful stories...are so thoroughly enjoyable that you may not reflect on their acute perceptions until you've put the book down for a while." Victor LaValle, The Washington Post Book World
"Benioff writes with intelligence. His deft prose and sympathetic characters pull the reader entirely into each story, each distinct world." Charlotte Observer
"The book's eight stories are written with both a literary writer's care and a film writer's instinct for courting his readers or viewers. He hooks them, reels them in and does his best to make them happy to be in the boat with him." USA Today
"In eight tales, Mr. Benioff writes of innocence lost, illusions revealed and beauty eroded by time....With the exception of 'De Composition,' written in the postmodern vein of Borges or Calvino, Mr. Benioff's stories present fully drawn characters rooted in contemporary settings." Wall Street Journal
"Here is a deeply satisfying collection of unusual, resonant, and beautifully composed stories. David Benioff is one of the most promising writers of his generation." George Pelecanos, author of Hard Revolution
"Beautifully paced and seemingly effortless, these stories display all of David Benioff's prodigious gifts as a writer: his sly wit and knowingness, his acute social observation, and his understanding of loss and longing, and also the wide range of territory he has made his own." Maile Meloy, author of Liars and Saints
From one of Hollywood's hottest young screenwriters and the widely acclaimed author of The 25th Hour comes a collection of cool, urbane, and skillfully crafted stories.
In When the Nines Roll Over, David Benioff (The 25th Hour, City of Thieves) uses humor and rich characterizations to explore the sometimes thrilling, sometimes pathetic emotional lives of a diverse set of characters. Over the course of eight stories, we are introduced to a host of young people on the cusp of discovery and loss. As he evokes the various states of agony and pleasure—humiliation, rebellion, camaraderie, and desire—Benioff displays a profound understanding of the transformative power of a single moment and how sadness can be illuminated by a humorous flip side. When the Nines Roll Over confirms the promise of a gifted writer emerging as a storytelling force.
About the Author
David Benioff was born and raised in New York City. He adapted his first novel, The 25th Hour, into the screenplay for Spike Lee's film of the same name. He is also the author of the screenplays for the films Troy and the forthcoming Stay and The Kite Runner. Stories from When the Nines Roll Over have appeared in Best New American Voices and Best American Nonrequired Reading.
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