Star Wars Sale
 
 

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN!

Weekly drawing for $100 credit. Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

More at Powell's


Recently Viewed clear list


Original Essays | June 20, 2014

Lisa Howorth: IMG So Many Books, So Many Writers



I'm not a bookseller, but I'm married to one, and Square Books is a family. And we all know about families and how hard it is to disassociate... Continue »
  1. $18.20 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    Flying Shoes

    Lisa Howorth 9781620403013

spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$6.95
Used Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
1 Hawthorne Literature- A to Z

This title in other editions

Ideas of Heaven: A Ring of Stories

by

Ideas of Heaven: A Ring of Stories Cover

 

Awards

Finalist for the National Book Award

Review-A-Day

"Like a gymnast off a springboard, Joan Silber begins this, and many other flawlessly pitched paragraphs in her recent story collection, with a punch — a short, simple sentence that establishes a particular. She sticks her landing, too (having traveled some distance in the meantime), with another demonstration of muscle: two final sentences, as arresting in their slow pace and awkward construction as the epiphany they describe." Christina Schwarz, the Atlantic Monthly (read the entire Atlantic Monthly review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Intense in subject yet restrained in tone, these stories are about longings — often held for years — and the ways in which sex and religion can become parallel forms of dedication and comfort.

Though the stories stand alone, a minor element in one becomes major in the next. In "My Shape," a woman is taunted by her dance coach, who later suffers his own heartache. A Venetian poet of the 1500s, another storyteller, is introduced to a modern traveler reading Rilke. His story precedes a mesmerizing narrative of missionaries in China. In the final story, Giles, born to a priesthood family, leans toward Buddhism after a grievous loss, and in time falls in love with the dancer of the first story.

So deft and subtle is Joan Silber with these various perspectives that we come full circle surprised and enchanted by her myriad worlds.

Review:

"Big ideas come in lovely small packages in this collection by Silber (Lucky Us, etc.). Six elegantly connected stories explore, through first-person narratives, the conflicts and commonalities of love, faith and sex. A minor character in the first story becomes the narrator in the second, and so on, with each story building on its predecessor until they come full circle. Alice, a flighty American would-be dancer, struggles with her body and the difficult men in her life in 'My Shape'; Duncan, an embittered gay dancer (and one-time teacher of Alice) describes embarrassment, heartbreak and the comforts of renunciation in 'The High Road.' In 'Gaspara Stampa,' the titular 16th-century Italian poet narrates her torturous love affairs and the art she makes of them; in 'Ashes of Love,' an ex-hippie and world traveler, whose capricious wife left him to raise their troubled son, later tries to balance his attentions between the boy and his new, younger lover. In the title story, a missionary's wife in turn-of-the-century China tells of learning to live in a foreign world and faces death during the Boxer Rebellion. Each of Silber's narrators reflects on his or her shifting fortunes with the calm wisdom of hindsight, without diminishing the power of immediate experience. Silber uses the device of interwoven narratives beautifully; these lengthy stories can stand alone, but the subtle connections and emotional resonances help create a satisfying structural unity. Silber's wise, compassionate chronicles of longing, devotion and the search for comfort, both spiritual and physical, will move readers to contemplation and delight. Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"[A] standout second collection from Silber....Silber travels the globe and the centuries with ease. If more collections were like this one, readers would gladly abandon the novel." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Silber uses the ingenious approach of bringing one character, object, or thought forward into the next story to create a ring of narratives that have no real beginning or end....Recommended." Library Journal

Review:

"Silber covers a lot of ground in these stories....She has an ear for language, a way of turning a phrase to make it mean more than it should. And although there is much sadness in these pages, there is more than enough hope to overcome the darkness." Charlotte Observer

Review:

"Perhaps [Silber's] characters can seem a little similar....And her women figures definitely speak in stronger, more compelling voices than her men. Nevertheless this is thoughtful work, poised and sometimes surprising." Miami Herald

Review:

"[S]ix lengthy, fully developed, satisfying stories....With admirable versatility, the author uses in her stories both sexes as narrators, men and women speaking with equal conviction within the various time periods in which their stories are lived." Dallas Morning News

Review:

"The characters' actions are not always likable, but they win sympathy by not trying to wrest it from the reader. The voices are immediately seductive, looking for a way past fear and clinging they know isn't possible in life, only in recollection." Chicago Tribune

Synopsis:

Six elegantly connected stories explore, through first-person narratives, the conflicts and commonalities of love, faith, and sex. A minor character in the first story becomes the narrator in the second, and so on, with each story building on its predecessor, until they come full circle.

Synopsis:

Shortlisted for the National Book Award: "Joan Silber writes with wisdom, humor, grace, and wry intelligence. Her characters bear welcome news of how we will survive."--Andrea Barrett

About the Author

Joan Silber teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and has taught in the Warren Wilson MFA Program. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker and has won a PEN/Hemingway Award. She lives in New York City.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780393326871
Author:
Silber, Joan
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company
Subject:
General
Subject:
Short Stories (single author)
Subject:
Stories (single author)
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Publication Date:
May 2005
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
224
Dimensions:
8.30x5.60x.60 in. .51 lbs.

Other books you might like

  1. Our Kind: A Novel in Stories Used Trade Paper $3.50
  2. I Dream of Microwaves Used Hardcover $5.95
  3. Madeleine Is Sleeping Used Hardcover $9.95
  4. The News from Paraguay
    Used Trade Paper $3.95
  5. World Famous Love Acts Used Trade Paper $4.95
  6. Bulletproof Girl: Stories New Trade Paper $16.95

Related Subjects


Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Ideas of Heaven: A Ring of Stories Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.95 In Stock
Product details 224 pages W. W. Norton & Company - English 9780393326871 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Big ideas come in lovely small packages in this collection by Silber (Lucky Us, etc.). Six elegantly connected stories explore, through first-person narratives, the conflicts and commonalities of love, faith and sex. A minor character in the first story becomes the narrator in the second, and so on, with each story building on its predecessor until they come full circle. Alice, a flighty American would-be dancer, struggles with her body and the difficult men in her life in 'My Shape'; Duncan, an embittered gay dancer (and one-time teacher of Alice) describes embarrassment, heartbreak and the comforts of renunciation in 'The High Road.' In 'Gaspara Stampa,' the titular 16th-century Italian poet narrates her torturous love affairs and the art she makes of them; in 'Ashes of Love,' an ex-hippie and world traveler, whose capricious wife left him to raise their troubled son, later tries to balance his attentions between the boy and his new, younger lover. In the title story, a missionary's wife in turn-of-the-century China tells of learning to live in a foreign world and faces death during the Boxer Rebellion. Each of Silber's narrators reflects on his or her shifting fortunes with the calm wisdom of hindsight, without diminishing the power of immediate experience. Silber uses the device of interwoven narratives beautifully; these lengthy stories can stand alone, but the subtle connections and emotional resonances help create a satisfying structural unity. Silber's wise, compassionate chronicles of longing, devotion and the search for comfort, both spiritual and physical, will move readers to contemplation and delight. Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "Like a gymnast off a springboard, Joan Silber begins this, and many other flawlessly pitched paragraphs in her recent story collection, with a punch — a short, simple sentence that establishes a particular. She sticks her landing, too (having traveled some distance in the meantime), with another demonstration of muscle: two final sentences, as arresting in their slow pace and awkward construction as the epiphany they describe." (read the entire Atlantic Monthly review)
"Review" by , "[A] standout second collection from Silber....Silber travels the globe and the centuries with ease. If more collections were like this one, readers would gladly abandon the novel."
"Review" by , "Silber uses the ingenious approach of bringing one character, object, or thought forward into the next story to create a ring of narratives that have no real beginning or end....Recommended."
"Review" by , "Silber covers a lot of ground in these stories....She has an ear for language, a way of turning a phrase to make it mean more than it should. And although there is much sadness in these pages, there is more than enough hope to overcome the darkness."
"Review" by , "Perhaps [Silber's] characters can seem a little similar....And her women figures definitely speak in stronger, more compelling voices than her men. Nevertheless this is thoughtful work, poised and sometimes surprising."
"Review" by , "[S]ix lengthy, fully developed, satisfying stories....With admirable versatility, the author uses in her stories both sexes as narrators, men and women speaking with equal conviction within the various time periods in which their stories are lived."
"Review" by , "The characters' actions are not always likable, but they win sympathy by not trying to wrest it from the reader. The voices are immediately seductive, looking for a way past fear and clinging they know isn't possible in life, only in recollection."
"Synopsis" by , Six elegantly connected stories explore, through first-person narratives, the conflicts and commonalities of love, faith, and sex. A minor character in the first story becomes the narrator in the second, and so on, with each story building on its predecessor, until they come full circle.
"Synopsis" by , Shortlisted for the National Book Award: "Joan Silber writes with wisdom, humor, grace, and wry intelligence. Her characters bear welcome news of how we will survive."--Andrea Barrett
spacer
spacer
  • back to top
Follow us on...




Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.