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Getting a Life

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Getting a Life Cover

ISBN13: 9780375411090
ISBN10: 0375411097
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

From the writer whose work has been described as sparingly tragic and unsparingly funny (Ruth Rendell) and shimmering with grace and savagery and wit (The Times, London), a new collection: nine stories about the blisses and irritations of domestic life.

The setting is contemporary London and its suburbs. A seventeen-year-old girl, a student of Coleridge and Keats, walks toward her future resolved not to be anything like her successful career-woman mother. At a small cafe in South Kensington, two women, teachers, become tipsy and exchange confidences about their family difficulties and marital turmoils, revealing more than they intend. A celebratory dinner for a timber merchant and his wife in South London turns into something else entirely. In the midst of a sensuous shopping spree, a woman shares with her friend the secret of a state of mind known as wurstigkeit ('sausageness'). At a Robert Burns gala in a Mayfair hotel, poetry and money collide head-on.

These are stories that charm and move us as they catch the special timbre part laughter, part wail of youngish, more or less sophisticated lives in the city at our particular moment in time.

Review:

"In these subtly linked stories, and with prose that in its range of cultural and sensual reference is breathtaking and beautiful, Helen Simpson registers what is both laughable and lamentable in the lives of contemporary women. In her take on fin de siecle motherhood and work, she has elegantly updated and complicated the mad housewife fiction of previous decades and offered a bracing post-script to Bridget Jones. These stories are wonderfully composed in their irony and wrath. They are admirable and haunting." Lorrie Moore

Review:

"Ms. Simpson writes with such emotional precision, such black humor and dyspeptic zest, that she manages to spin this unpromising subject matter into some wonderfully funny and disturbing stories that limn the middle- and upper-middle-class world of London (and its suburbs) with Waugh-like acerbity and wit. Ms. Simpson [has a] seemingly effortless ability to conjure up her characters' states of mind, [and] to describe emotions and moods with pointillist if sometimes hyperbolic detail." Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

Review:

"?[B]rilliantly biting. [Her] terrain will remind readers of Fay Weldon's cursed and pleasant land, but Simpson's boil is more furious, her satire more surreal and Swiftian, her vision more end-of-tether violent. Simpson plants a surveillance camera inside darkest family life and describes the scenes with mordant comedy and lush, exact language...mesmerizing because of Simpson's precise observations of mood shifts and because of her extravagant unfurling of language." Laurie Stone, Los Angeles Times Book Review

Review:

"Some of the most sensitive, insightful and finely crafted stories I have ever read." Ruth Rendell, The Mail on Sunday

Review:

"It is the book's truthfulness that makes it both intensely tragic and intensely comic." A. S. Byatt

Review:

"This collection...finally ought to establish [Helen Simpson's] reputation on these shores. Her quirky humor and linguistic dexterity may remind you of Lorrie Moore with a BBC accent." Jay McInerney, The New York Times Book Review

Synopsis:

In Simpson's new collection of stories, London and its suburbs are the setting and family life the subject, as seen from nine different perspectives.

Synopsis:

A dozen sharp new stories by one of contemporary fiction's acknowledged masters

Synopsis:

A. L. Kennedy's riveting new story collection is a luscious feast of language that encompasses real estate and forlorn pets, adolescents and sixty-somethings, weekly liaisons and obsessive affairs, "certain types of threat and the odder edges of sweet things." The women and men in these twelve stories search for love, solace, and a clear glimpse of what their lives have become. Anything can set them off thinking - the sad homogeneity of hotel breakfasts, a sex shop operated under Canadian values (whatever those are), or an army of joggers dressed as Santa.

With her boundless empathy and gift for the perfect phrase, Kennedy makes us care about each of her characters. In "Takes You Home," a man's attempt to sell his flat becomes a journey to the interior, by turns comic and harrowing. And "Late in Life" deftly evokes an intergenerational love affair free of the usual clichés, the younger partner asking the older, "What should I wear at your funeral?"

Alive with memory, humor, and longing, All the Rage is A. L. Kennedy at her inimitable best.

About the Author

HELEN SIMPSON grew up in a suburb of London. She is the author of two award-winning collections of short stories, Four Bare Legs in a Bed (winner of the Somerset Maugham Award) and Dear George, as well as one novel, Flesh and Grass. In 1993 she was included in Granta's Best of Young British Novelists, and in 1991 she was the first recipient of the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award. She lives in London with her husband and two children.

Table of Contents

Late in Life 1

Baby Blue 15

Because Its a Wednesday 35

These Small Pieces 47

The Practice of Mercy 59

Knocked 73

All the Rage 85

Takes You Home 133

The Effects of Good Government on the City 151

Run Catch Run 171

A Thing Unheard-of 187

This Man 199

Acknowledgements 213

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Gold Gato, February 7, 2012 (view all comments by Gold Gato)
Here is upper-middle-class London and the people who populate it. The women in these stories struggle with decisions in marriage, parenting, and life. Sometimes I felt that enough was enough, but then a story would pop up which put me back on the reading path.

That story was WURSTIGKEIT. This translates somewhat to English as a couldn't-care-less attitude. What the story really focuses on is shopping or the 'sausageness' of shopping. As the stories in this book weave their way around the loss of each woman's soul, the 'sausage' story becomes the fulcrum of the book. Looking at today's society, where females gain their most power spending money they don't necessarily have, this wonderful little story taps into the lost lives which revolve around clothes stores so exclusive you must know the password to get inside.

I felt this volume was a nice change of pace vis-a-vis short stories in general, as the characters are women and quite magpie-ish. It was a good read and has earned a hard won spot on the bookshelf.

Book Season = Autumn

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Product Details

ISBN:
9780375411090
Author:
Simpson, Helen
Publisher:
New Harvest
Author:
Kennedy, A. L.
Location:
New York
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
Social life and customs
Subject:
Women
Subject:
Short Stories (single author)
Subject:
Short stories
Subject:
London
Subject:
Short stories, english
Subject:
Domestic fiction, English.
Subject:
Literary
Edition Number:
1st American ed.
Edition Description:
Cloth
Series Volume:
0307
Publication Date:
20140429
Binding:
Hardback
Language:
English
Pages:
224
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in 0.78 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Getting a Life Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.95 In Stock
Product details 224 pages Alfred A. Knopf - English 9780375411090 Reviews:
"Review" by , "In these subtly linked stories, and with prose that in its range of cultural and sensual reference is breathtaking and beautiful, Helen Simpson registers what is both laughable and lamentable in the lives of contemporary women. In her take on fin de siecle motherhood and work, she has elegantly updated and complicated the mad housewife fiction of previous decades and offered a bracing post-script to Bridget Jones. These stories are wonderfully composed in their irony and wrath. They are admirable and haunting."
"Review" by , "Ms. Simpson writes with such emotional precision, such black humor and dyspeptic zest, that she manages to spin this unpromising subject matter into some wonderfully funny and disturbing stories that limn the middle- and upper-middle-class world of London (and its suburbs) with Waugh-like acerbity and wit. Ms. Simpson [has a] seemingly effortless ability to conjure up her characters' states of mind, [and] to describe emotions and moods with pointillist if sometimes hyperbolic detail."
"Review" by , "?[B]rilliantly biting. [Her] terrain will remind readers of Fay Weldon's cursed and pleasant land, but Simpson's boil is more furious, her satire more surreal and Swiftian, her vision more end-of-tether violent. Simpson plants a surveillance camera inside darkest family life and describes the scenes with mordant comedy and lush, exact language...mesmerizing because of Simpson's precise observations of mood shifts and because of her extravagant unfurling of language."
"Review" by , "Some of the most sensitive, insightful and finely crafted stories I have ever read."
"Review" by , "It is the book's truthfulness that makes it both intensely tragic and intensely comic."
"Review" by , "This collection...finally ought to establish [Helen Simpson's] reputation on these shores. Her quirky humor and linguistic dexterity may remind you of Lorrie Moore with a BBC accent."
"Synopsis" by , In Simpson's new collection of stories, London and its suburbs are the setting and family life the subject, as seen from nine different perspectives.
"Synopsis" by ,
A dozen sharp new stories by one of contemporary fiction's acknowledged masters
"Synopsis" by , A. L. Kennedy's riveting new story collection is a luscious feast of language that encompasses real estate and forlorn pets, adolescents and sixty-somethings, weekly liaisons and obsessive affairs, "certain types of threat and the odder edges of sweet things." The women and men in these twelve stories search for love, solace, and a clear glimpse of what their lives have become. Anything can set them off thinking - the sad homogeneity of hotel breakfasts, a sex shop operated under Canadian values (whatever those are), or an army of joggers dressed as Santa.

With her boundless empathy and gift for the perfect phrase, Kennedy makes us care about each of her characters. In "Takes You Home," a man's attempt to sell his flat becomes a journey to the interior, by turns comic and harrowing. And "Late in Life" deftly evokes an intergenerational love affair free of the usual clichés, the younger partner asking the older, "What should I wear at your funeral?"

Alive with memory, humor, and longing, All the Rage is A. L. Kennedy at her inimitable best.

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