My first brush with Millhauser He
writes with exuisite precision I almost have the sense that he holds each phrase up with such exuisite precision almost have the sense that he holds each phrase up the light turning it back and forth to look at it from all directions then wielding it to refashion even the most mundane tale into something fanciful thought provoking sympathetic troubling He makes us remember what it felt like to think profound thoughts when we were still too young to understand them fully Then through his mature eyes he forces us to revisit our very adult feelings of confusion and puzzlement He weaves fantasy and reality into such an intricate brocade that we must sometimes stop and look closely at the weft
to see where one thread ends and another begins This collection of stories see where one thread ends and another begins This collection of stories the perfect introduction to his style and range I ll be reading This book started strong for me I liked the stories and they seemed to have interweaving themes But soon the themes seemed too much the same like often Millhauser was telling the same story only changing the setting and elements By the end of the book too many of the stories seemed to follow similar molds Stories seem to start out with a fanciful idea magician snowmen knife throwing etc The performance builds to the point of unrivaled extreme then crashes Many of the stories fit this pattern Other reoccurring themesMillhauser seems to like how humanity allows imitations to mimic the real thing that we accept cheap substitutes as placeholders The unknown is a mystery We can ponder endlessly the unknown because well we don t know it It is full of anything we want it to be Secrets are in all of us Everyone has secrets None of us are as we appear Why are some things accepted in small doses but not in big Here are some thoughts on the stories The Slap 4 Intriguing The story never tells you what is it about but it could be applied to so many things Crime Terrorism Disease Or is the point that many things in life don t have a point Life is chaotic The White Glove 45 Brilliant Best of the book for me Millhauser again builds up the interest in the unknown and our obsession about it What secret could the love possibly be keeping But all of us keep secrets inside ourselves they are all around us The ending is wonderfully frustrating Getting Closer 35 Autobiographical maybe Millhauser s eye for detail is Baghdad: City of Peace, City of Blood great was he the 9 year old trying to make a moment last foreverThe Invasion from Outer Space 4 Very short but wonderful An allegory that it is often not the big and dramatic that changes us but the mundane that snows us in People of the Book 3 Not sure what I think about this story The Next Thing 35 Sorta like Orwell s Animal Farm only it is commercialism that takes over instead of communism We Others 35 Really liked itup to the end Rich in detail and imagination The story could have been about two people who were alive A Protest Against the Sun 35 Good family interaction A lot to digest in only 10 pages Themes of self security and women being women s worst critics could have been developed August Eschenburg 4 Again disappointed by the conclusion of the story I find it fascinating that there seem to be many stories about automatons I have read at least two others that I remember Deeply woven contrasts of the freedom of human choice with the automatons forced routines August seems to yearn for someone to decide the path of his life for him Snowmen 4 Very short butood Is it a comment on the fickleness of fashion Or the escalation of weaponsThe Barnum Museum 35 Again themes of the real verses the imitations of the real are present Why is mankind drawn to the fanciful The Eighth Voyage of Sinbad 2 I did not connect with it Building multiple split narrations is daring and did not work for me Eisenheim the Illusionist 35 Again I was dissatisfied with the ending but liked the rest of the story The story follows Millhauser s familiar pattern of building and building and upping the story to the point of conclusion The Knife Thrower 2 Again the pattern of building to something taken too far Seems redundant The Visit 4 What is better to remain single looking for the perfect spouse or to be anchored with one who has flawsThe Flying Carpet 2 Again I feel like this is the same story as Snowmen and others Idea taken to extreme idea fades and is forgotten Clair de Lune 35 The dream of an adolescent boy Cat n Mouise 1 uit after a page and a half Appears to be descriptions of Tom Jerry cartoonsThe Disappearance of Elaine Coleman 2 Seemed a lot like a mirror version of We OthersHistory of Disturbance 2 Didn t et it The Wizard of West Orange 4 I had read this one in 2008 in The Best American Short Stories Very well worked Makes me think why the sense of touch is so rarely capitalized on Here s something “Every reader knows of writers who are like secrets one wants to keep and whose books one wants to tell the world about Millhauser is mine” David Rollow Boston Sunday GlobeFrom the Pulitzer Prize–winning author the essential stories across three decades that showcase his indomitable imaginationSteven Millhauser’s fiction has consistently and to dazzling effect dissolved the boundaries.
Steven Millhauser ✓ 3 summaryNg Carpets So tired of the same
Themeswhere characters feel conflicting emotions Now m really starting to skim instead of readClaire de Lune Blah blah blhey this one s a little better Liked the mystery of what irls do when boys aren t around act like boys and the tension of the first stirrings of adolescent feelings of lovelikesexual awakening Not a Elena's Conquest great story but better than most in this bookCat n Mouse Starting to skimthis is just a description of what happens in Tom and Jerry cartoons with some philosophical bent thrown inThe Disappearance of Elaine Coleman Seriously this one starts out just like many of the others When X happened we weren t sure whether we were excited or disturbed Same tone Same theme Same story Too bad really liked this themea woman so uiet and unprepossessing and unnoticed that she literally disappears from lifeHistory of a Disturbance The pace on this one was a bit better but how can the narrator tell his story if he siven up on wordsWizard of West Orange Totally skimmed this one so didn t even Sister of My Heart get a true sense of what happened I justot so tired and King Alfred's Version of St. Augustine's Soliloquies gave up A collection of short stories are so hard to rate some you love some you like and some you don t as much It almost seems pointless toive it a rating especially just in the middle So this rating says about me than the workTaken as a whole these stories are hard to Rescuing Gus get through Picking it up and reading one here and there is the way too But I do like to sink my teeth into a story read it cover to cover indulgently I found that really hard in this collectionThe writing is wonderful the way Millhauser builds suspense through the simplest string of words is amazing Individually anyone of these stories are reat so pick it up when you have a spare 30 minutes and you will probably enjoy it immensely than the whole Came back and upped this from 4 stars to 5 because I have never stopped thinking about it in all the months since I read it At the time I was a bit put off by the slowness but in retrospect it had the effect of burning every image and moment deep into my brainFavoritesThe SlapThe White GloveThe Next ThingWe OthersEisenheim the IllusionistCat n Mouseand especiallyThe Wizard of West Orange What must the stones think of us I never know what to expect when I read the short stories of an author for the first time Will they have twist endings Will they be bizarre Will nothing happen Millhauser was a pleasant surprise He writes with an imagined nostalgia for things that never really existed like magic carpets and intricately carved snow people Some of the stories are about the magic found in the mundane like the time between when you et to the ocean and you first stick a toe in and these were my favorite The least interesting to me were those about people who DO magic like magicians and wizards and I ended up skimming those One of my favorites was We Others told from the perspective of a Portrait of a Starter: An Unhidden Story ghost It starts like thisWe others are not like you We are prickly jittery restless reckless secretive desperate cowardly bold We live at the edges of ourselves not in the middle places We leave that to you Did I say watchful That above all We watch you we follow you we spy on you we obsess over you We crave your attention We hunger for a signInterested yet I m not sure how I missed Millhauser I feel like I should have heard of him or come across his work at some point in my lifeand I m kinda bummed I didn t because he sot tons of skill This collection of old and new work was my introduction to Millhauser so I m not too sure how it compares to his career but this collection has some truly How the West Was Lost: Fifty Years of Economic Folly--and the Stark Choices Ahead great stuff The first story in the book about a stranger who slaps random people was absolutely stunningworth reading just for the few paragraphs dissecting the craft of a slap alone There were a few duds but they were scattered throughout a bunch of winners Wittgenstein says in the Investigations What we do is return words from their metaphysical to their everyday use You think through a lot of the words in that sentence before you think about the we it is possible that if limning of specialenius must be provided the special enius of Steven Millhauser is to think we first and powerfully than any other writer that I ve ever seen In the new stories there is the we of the communities witnessing The Slap or The Invasion from Outer Space which pick up on the kind of roupfeeling that we recognize from older stories like The Knife Thrower and then in the title novella a masterpiece of thinking through the we in these old stories in relation to an I As one would either know or expect the old stories are reat too and Cat n Mouse remains in strong contention for my favorite story of all time Lustreless and dull. Ys hosts and a cartoon cat and mouse But all of the stories are united in their unfailing power to surprise and enchant From the earliest to the stunning previously unpublished novella length title story in which a man who is dead but not uite one reaches out to two lonely women Millhauser in this magnificent collection carves out ever deeply his wondrous place in the American literary canon. ,Characters Feel Conflicting EmotionsWhere Characters Feel Conflicting Emotions
Admire Millhauser s singularity of purpose thematically
HeHas A Few Basic a few basic v reality the way words distort or mask perception and theA Few Basic a few basic v reality the way words distort or mask perception and the our identities can be disturbed by an uncanny element within the everyday and he explores them in a bunch of different ways Also his writing is extremely evocative on a sensory level At his best he is brilliant at his worst he is working towards something new but not uite there yetSo yes there is some sense of repetition when you read this volume start to finish But there are two exciting things there first it is possible for even a Pulitzer winner to just keep etting better The Slap White Glove Next Thing are among the best he s done second he has staked out an individual territory a Millhauser land that nobody else really inhabits and that I ll be excited to return to from now on I think this collection of stories would be best read a little at a time over a long period of time the themes and tone are all so similar Starting out I found the ideas fresh and interesting but after about the fifth story and there are 21 I was Fallen Angel: The Passion of Fausto Coppi getting really annoyed at how similar everything sounded and then I started skimming which is too bad because many of the stories are well written and insightful Here s what I had to say about each story as I finished you can see the deterioriation of my appreciation as Io alongThe Slap What a curious little story So far so After Tamerlane: The Global History of Empire Since 1405 goodI think I moing to like Millhauser A story about the threats known or unknown real or imagined that surround us We want answers and are uneasy when we don t find them I can totally see this story turned into a 70s style avant Alien Alpha garde short film The White Glove Millhauser doesn t like resolution in his stories does he uasiothic uiet tale Getting Closer And tensionMillhauser loves to build the tension with this story and the two previous Okay I et what he s saying here about the anticipation being better than the realization uite well donebut all of this from a 9 year old kid Didn t work as well for me Invasion From Outer Space Not much to say about this short one didn t love it He continues to explore our need to both fit in and feel special whatever the conseuences So so People of the Book Too simplistic for my tastes Nothing to say about this one other than yes books are sacred and magical treat them well The Next Thing Ever wonder what would happen if IKEA took over the world Read this story to find out Really liked the depiction of a super store that appears to be benign helpful even but then once it has overtaken your life it turns out to be The Corporation and not exactly the happy ending you thought it would be We Others Another ood story with a ood pace where Millhauser ets to keep asking the uestions Why Why me And of course doesn t offer any answers Not a favorite but liked the tension of wondering what will happen in the end A Protest Against the Sun Blah Not sure what this is a study ofmotherfatherdaughter dynamics If so then I wasn t interested Nothing drew me in not even the appearance of the sun protester August Eschenburg Having recently seen the movie Hugo this story is now one of my favorites in this bookloved the references to automatons especially the writing automaton The interactions between characters seemed real than in other stories And the discussion of what it means to be a true artist was reat Snowmen Another blah onebut only because now I ve read several of his stories that really highlight joy and anxiety occurring at the same time At this point it seems like yet another story with tension and now it feels like it s etting old Which is too bad because there was some nice imagery of the snow sculptures changing from human form to animal form to intricate scenes to fanciful creatures to finally ephemeral things Barnum Museum An okay story I sometimes et the feeling of d j vu when reading these Millhauser stories because they seem to be so similar in theme or feeling I do like how Millhauser uses we a lot making the narrator a part of the community feeling or angst or mysteryEight Voyage of Sinbad My love of fairy tales as well as the literary references helped me enjoy this oneEisenheim the Illusionist I was interested in this story because I really liked the movie that is based on itThe Illusionist starring Edward Norton Millhauser does a nice job with the fantastical and magical elements in his stories Liked this one better than mostThe Knife Thrower This is yet another Millhauser story where the narrator s community is feeling uncomfortable and unsettled This repetition is starting to drive me crazyA Visit I don t like frogs Nothing to love about this story I was hoping the fried would be introduced to a frog wife of his ownFlyi. Between reality and fantasy waking life and dreams the past and the future darkness and light love and lust The stories athered here unfurl in settings as disparate as nineteenth century Vienna a contemporary Connecticut town the corridors of a monstrous museum and Thomas Edison’s laboratory and they are inhabited by a wide ranging cast of characters including a knife thrower and teenage bo.