Read The Man Who Shot Out My Eye Is Dead by Chanelle Benz Online


*LONGLISTED FOR THE 2018 PEN/ROBERT W. BINGHAM PRIZE FOR DEBUT FICTION*Named a Best Book of 2017 by The San Francisco Chronicle Named one of Electric Literature’s 15 Best Short Story Collections of 2017 A stunningly original debut collection about lives across history marked by violence and longing. A brother and sister turn outlaw in a wild and brutal landscape. The daugh*LONGLISTED FOR THE 2018 PEN/ROBERT W. BINGHAM PRIZE FOR DEBUT FICTION*Named a Best Book of 2017 by The San Francisco Chronicle Named one of Electric Literature’s 15 Best Short Story Collections of 2017A stunningly original debut collection about lives across history marked by violence and longing.A brother and sister turn outlaw in a wild and brutal landscape. The daughter of a diplomat disappears and resurfaces across the world as a deadly woman of many names. A young Philadelphia boy struggles with the contradictions of privilege, violence, and the sway of an incarcerated father. A monk in sixteenth century England suffers the dissolution of his monastery and the loss of all that he held sacred.The characters in The Man Who Shot Out My Eye Is Dead, Benz's wildly imaginative debut, are as varied as any in recent literature, but they share a thirst for adventure which sends them rushing full-tilt toward the moral crossroads, becoming victims and perpetrators along the way. Riveting, visceral, and heartbreaking, Benz’s stories of identity, abandonment, and fierce love come together in a daring, arresting vision....

Title : The Man Who Shot Out My Eye Is Dead
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780062490759
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 240 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Man Who Shot Out My Eye Is Dead Reviews

  • karen
    2018-09-25 16:22

    3.5 rounded upi was a little suspicious of this book at first, since one of the first things i read about it online after being intrigued by that title was not focusing on the stories themselves, but on how gorgeous the author is. and while that is completely accurate:it's always a red flag when the selling point is the comeliness of the author and not, you know, the work. there are plenty of attractive authors, but The Secret History isn't one of my favorite books because donna tartt is so lovely. and at first, i wasn't feeling this collection. it's a debut, and it definitely feels like one - the stories are all over the place in terms of theme, tone, and genre, which seems like a new author just finding her voice and style, trying on different hats along the way. it's mostly well-written, but the experimental dissonance took some getting used to. it's also a little ballsy - short story debuts are already tricky enough to find an audience for, and a collection like this one risks alienating an audience who is trying to determine if an author's style works for them, and not finding a consistent enough voice to know that for certain can be frustrating. not all of the stories are successful, but i ended up liking the collection enough overall to round it up to a four, and i'd be interested in seeing what she does next; if she settles into a storytelling groove or keeps playing around with styles all scattershot-like. the stories:West of the Knownthe collection opens with this story, which won the 2014 o. henry award. it's always smart to open a collection with a crowd-pleaser, but for some reason, this one didn't do much for me. i'm not doubting the assessment-skills of the o. henry panel - they've always made smart choices, but i've just read too many things too similar to this story, as my tastes run towards grit lit and modern, frequently transgressive, takes on the western genre, so it's gonna take more than this to shock me or give me something i haven't already encountered. the writing is strong, no one's contesting that, but the story was just ground already-tread by me in my reading history.Adela, Primarily Known as The Black Voyage, Later Reprinted as Red Casket of the Heart by Anon. 1829again - debut author, so i had no expectations in place for style or subject matter, but after the grittydark western of the first story had established a baseline, i thought i knew what to expect. but no. this one is completely different in every way; a fake found text, studded with footnotes, in which a unified chorus of meddling child-narrators matchmake for a woman they admire, even though she is received less-enthusiastically by the rest of the village. it's full of gothic romance conventions, but also strays into metafiction, broad comedy, with feminist filters. even though it references byron AND Wuthering Heights, i was not a fan of this one.Accidentalthis one was much more to my liking - a straightforward story in which an emotionally damaged woman faces grief, regret, disappointing family members, and strange bedfellows on a path to healing. it also has this passage, which i particularly liked:Near evening, I hitch a ride to a motel along the highway. But some people are not as decent as the freckled guy. Some people are encouraged by my size, since as a small woman, even at thirty-seven, from far away I could look like a child. And so some people force you to reveal as you pretend to root in your bag for a tissue with your left hand, the little pistol that you are now holding comfortably in your right. These red-thick ballcappers need to sense that, as my mother said when she gave me the gun, that you wanna use it, that you've been waiting to use it on any motherfucker dumb enough to be dumb. These people, you see, can only understand humanity at gunpoint. As I walk away from him down the highway, the driver calls me a cuntfaced bitch out his window, detailing my impending bodily harm, but I think he now knows that I too have fears, hopes, dreams.The Diplomat's Daughterthis one was intriguing, but i'm not sure i understood it fully. i mean, i understand what's going on, but i feel like i'm missing some of the cartilage tying the various story-bits together as it goes back and forth in time. i get the small-picture episodes, but i'm somehow not getting that encapsulating BANG that makes a story pop.The Peculiar Narrative of the Remarkable Particulars in the Life of Orrinda Thomasthis was the first story that made me stop and say "ohhhhh," because it is great. unwieldy title aside, this is - yes - another "found text" but it is excellent. it's an epistolary slave narrative that is both moving and unexpected. this story is a star.James IIIthis is another straightforward story in a contemporary setting, about a sensitive young boy unwillingly caught up in the cycle of violence, torn between family loyalty and the ideals of his quaker-run school. Snake Doctorsthis is a 'family-secrets' narrative composed of MORE found documents split between the 1930's POVs of brother-and-sister pair robert and izabel sibley, compiled by robert's grandson, who had been told they were both long-dead, and is now learning the sordid, but sympathetic, truth of their lives and exploits. the found document gimmick is a little thin in this one - it's meant to be "a manuscript," but i'm unclear on why it would have been written in the first place, and it just reads like a traditional short story, so i'm not sure why the device was trotted out again for this one, but apart from that, it's pretty engaging.The Mournersthis is the story from which the collection's title is taken, and i liked nearly all of it. i wasn't wild about the ending, for reasons both logical and literary, but there was some excellent grit-lit/horrible family stuff before it.Recognitionthis one had a really great, suspenseful build, and my suspicions were incorrect, which is always nice for a reader. and it's pretty damn brutal. also nice for a reader. a reader like me, anyway. That We May All Be One Sheepfolde, or, O Saeculum Corruptissimumthis was my least favorite. to be fair, medieval writing has never been my thing, and i thought this was a bit indulgent. the story itself wasn't half-bad, but the language, while authentic to the period, is just a drag. all those prithees and jerkins and "Wherefore dost thou inquirest with so stern a brow?" not my, while it's a somewhat uneven collection, there's enough here that i liked to make me look forward to the rest of her career with interest.

  • Sarah
    2018-10-01 18:31

    More like 3.5 stars. There's a lot of great stuff in here and even greater potential. Thematically and conceptually excellent. Execution not quite there in a few stories.

  • Shawn Mooney
    2018-10-21 18:18

    After listening to 1.95 of these thanks....just no.

  • Allison
    2018-09-28 19:28

    4.5Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh....I think I found a new short fiction writer to add to my favorites. Such a RANGE OF VOICE. Longer review later!And thanks so much to HarperCollins for the review copy.

  • Megan
    2018-10-20 19:32

    He refilled my glass, Look, it ain't your fault this world is no place for women.But us women are in it, I said.Have another, he said. Don't dwell.The ten stories in this collection felt as if someone had grabbed only statement pieces from a jewelry box: each one is wholly distinct, strikingly memorable, and wildly clashing with one another. Very little about any of these stories either faded into its neighbors or was meant to simply take up space; each story was crafted in its own voice and its own form. I'm thrilled to have found that kind of imaginative range and vision here, because I share a lot of Benz's interests: the way violence shapes our world and our lives, the idea of complicity, and the expectations and constraints placed on women of color. There was a steady and eloquent thematic cohesion: each story seems to hinge on the decision of whether to commit violence, and what that does to the characters involved. There's a lot of brutality here, but it wasn't irredeemably bleak. Just clear-eyed and curious.I was most excited about her post-colonial metafiction outing, "Adela, Primarily Known as the Black Voyage, Later Reprinted as Red Casket of the Heart, by Anon. 1829."A couple stories available online:West of the KnownJames III

  • stephanie
    2018-10-06 22:19

    way more literary than anticipated! v nice. at first reminded me of borges, in a way. enjoyed some if the middle stories particularly. (a gift from meglet)

  • Paolo Latini
    2018-10-14 16:37

    Chanelle Benz si è formata alla Syracuse, sotto l’egida di Dana Spiotta e di George Saunders, ed è proprio la lezione di Saunders che pare essere messa in pratica nei racconti di “The Man Who Shot Out My Eye is Dead,” che per certi versi sembra essere il libro gemello di “Tenth of December”: lì, Saunders aveva raccolto dieci racconti che fotografavano situazioni in cui si fronteggiavano Bene e Male, e dove il protagonista spesso si trovava a dover operare la sua scelta etica (in un ricorrente e quasi sussurrato riferimento all’etica di Kant), qui, su “The Man Who Shot My Eye is Dead,” Chanelle Benz fa più o meno la stessa cosa e costruisce mondi ad alta densità di efferatezza, popolati di un’umanità in predicato di corruzione, dove i protagonisti vengono descritti proprio nel momento in cui sono chiamati a dover scegliere che tipo di essere umano diventare. In definitiva i racconti hanno tutto l’aspetto di esercizi stilistici e l’impressione netta è che Chanelle Benz stia prendendo le misure per pesare, calibrare e tarare il suo stile di scrittura e per organizzare il suo universo narrativo. Si passa dagli umori southern gothic e grit di “West of the Known” (un Texas McCarthyano un po' sbiadito) ai salti temporali e geografici tra Beirut e Virginia di “The Diplomat’s Daughter,” per finire nella Louisiana schiavista del 1840 o in un’Inghilterra immaginaria. Molto spesso si nota la tecnica di Saunders: costruire degli universi linguistici e usare quelli per costruire dei mondi narrativi. Chanelle Benz lo fa soprattutto su “That We May All be One Sheepfolde, or, O Saeculum Corruptissimum.” Lo fa bene, ma quel racconto sembra veramente troppo un racconto che avrebbe scritto Saunders e come lo avrebbe scritto Saunders.Bello, ma niente di eccezionale.

  • Matt
    2018-09-30 22:25

    I liked this strange collection of stories, maybe half of which or more are historical fictions set in a variety of settings-- one in the South before the Civil War and one after (which also goes West), one in Reformation England, etc. All of these are written in a heightened style that wants to sound the formal note of whatever time we find ourselves in, and even when she's not out of time and place, Benz has an ear for strange phrasing-- in fact, nearly every story has at least one sentence in the first paragraph that doesn't just confuse you because of its content, but also its syntax, making you stop and reconstruct the sentence in your mind to make sense out of it. It's occasionally a cool affect, but it also feels very mannered, as do some of these stories. What punctures these manners, effectively, is the presence of race, as characters-of-color turn up in places you don't usually see them. And it's race that has the effect of reshaping these kind of stories, some of which are relatively familiar in outline and turning them in new directions, or at least revealing new layers to the story. It makes you want to call these "alternative historical fictions," only of course people of color were present in these times and places, even if their presence has not been recorded in literature. Benz corrects that here, and it's really interesting to read, even if the milieu and gambits of these stories isn't exactly my thing.

  • Laura
    2018-09-26 21:27

    These stories are fantastic. Each one is distinctive and creative and dark in its own shiver-down-your-spine way. I enjoyed that there was a variety of characters, ranging in all time periods. Although my two favorites took place in the late West of America, with gunslingers and bandits. All of them lurk within this moral gray area that makes you, as a reader, want to defend the main characters, even if the actions they take are wrong. The first story "West of the Unknown" is unforgiving and violent and leaves you completely shellshocked by its ending. And the last story, "That We May Be All One Sheepfolde" was one of the most absolute brilliant pieces of historical fiction writing I have ever written and it was about twenty pages. It grapples with morality and God and religion and the hurts we carry with us all our lives and what the place of us humans is in a world full of bad people who do careless and hurtful things. You feel for Jerome who wanted a father and didn't know he had one until he saw his head on a pike outside of a ransacked monastery and if that's isn't a brutally beautiful imagery I don't know what is. Overall, I loved all these stories. I loved her style and her diction and the very precise but very different voices she conjured for each story. No two were the same and I loved that, there was no overlap. Each one a dark gem of its own.

  • h
    2018-10-20 18:20

    I'm conflicted about these stories. On the one hand, I appreciate the fact that the author is not stuck in the contemporary time period; she's telling stories set in various historical eras with unusual characters and points of view. That is a huge plus for me. On the other hand, at least two of the stories made no sense to me, while two others are borderline brilliant. Additionally, one of the stories deals with wartime rape, I think, but I think it made its point very poorly. (Maybe I just didn't get it.) Therefore I'd have to say, the collection was a mixed bag for me. There is also a literary pretension to the style of writing which is consistent throughout all the stories, primarily in the dialogue. I think for the casual short story reader, some stories here will be accessible, and will be enjoyable, and others simply will not. Just like any other short story collection.

  • Marilyn Shea
    2018-10-03 21:23

    I read this in a day. The stories were so different from each other, but each is such a complete world. I would get to the end of one story and look up, taking in some air, before plunging into the next. "The Diplomat's Daughter" was one that I read, believing it as it was told to me and later realizing that the person telling the story was telling it in a way that helped her live through what had happened, not as it had actually happened. These short stories are well articulated and intense. Some of these stories are written in the style of historical texts and are utterly convincing. I am amazed and exhausted by the feeling that while reading them, I became a part of each of them.

  • Dan Downing
    2018-09-29 21:25

    Ten stories from a 'new' author, a woman who has trained and studied for years. What is on offer covers several continents, several centuries and several genres. All are written with a bent toward obfuscation, with a glance to surprise endings---or no discernable endings. Everything is written well, although several are in what might be termed 'dialect.' Violence and cruelty abound.While it may be true, as the cover blurbs forecast, that a new and formidable talent has arisen, it is also true, I offer, that the talent has yet to ripen. Many of the stories ring hollow, perhaps false. Those who savor MFA dictates will be more tolerant than I am; I may be more satisfied in another volume or two when the author finds a voice without pretense.

  • Marisa Jeanne
    2018-10-20 22:16

    It's impossible for me to give this book less than four stars even as I was put through the ringer while reading it. A collection of short stories where the overarching theme is all the myriad ways in which people can enact violence against each other and themselves, this book is the literary equivalent of watching the remnants of a train wreck. It leaves the reader changed, uncomfortable, emotional, and disturbed. I can't give it less than four stars because it's well written and compulsive and I can't give it five stars because the subject matter is so volatile and brutal and I'm still very much recovering

  • Gloria
    2018-10-06 16:31

    Again, the rating system is too broad. This should get a 3.5 or 3.7. But I can't bring myself to give it 4. It's too... all over the place. Certainly creative, a ton of different genres and voices, but some stories just were kind of incoherent almost, hard for me to see the point of them. Others I was surprised I liked, since they were written in a way or took place during a time period I usually don't enjoy reading. I don't know, really. This book is kind of a mixed bag. She's definitely talented, and I'd like to try whatever she writes next but I can't say I 100% got this book or loved it.. But it's unique.

  • Emma Getz
    2018-10-06 16:15

    A beautiful exploration of genre, time, and style. Some of the stories were very abstract and some were incredibly real. Some were in the modern times and some were in Medieval times. The collection breaks essentially every rule of short fiction and I love it. Overall I had a really fun time reading this collection.

  • Joe Canas
    2018-10-06 21:10

    3.5 stars

  • Emily
    2018-10-14 22:36

    What a wonderful book of stories. I really enjoyed every single story in this book. I devoured these and could not tell you which story was my favorite- they were all excellent!

  • Shonna Froebel
    2018-09-28 16:22

  • Matthew Peck
    2018-09-28 15:40

    Eclecticism is the name of the game in Chanelle Benz's mesmerizing collection. The stories cover a dazzling, "Cloud Atlas"-like array of time periods and styles: the opener is a blood-soaked Western, and the closer is about a monk during the reign of Henry VIII, complete with archaic diction. And between the gothic nineteenth-century tales and post-apocalyptic sci-fi, there's down-to-earth contemporary fiction like my favorite, "James III", a heartbreaking coming-of-age story about a Philadelphia teen.These disparate stories are united by persistent themes of family and race/gender identity, as well as Benz's off-kilter sentences. It could be said that the whole of "The Man Who Shot Out My Eye Is Dead" is more than the sum of its parts, for a few of the stories start with a bang and end with an unsatisfying whimper. I hope that Chanelle Benz doesn't pull a Wells Tower on us, and that she follows up with a fat, juicy novel that delivers on the promise of this exhilarating debut.

  • Tonstant Weader
    2018-10-16 23:28

    The Man Who Shot Out My Eye Is Dead is a wonderful title for this collection of short stories. It calls to mind those old westerns that glorified toxic masculinity as an aspirational ideal. Crossing the centuries from the sixteenth century dissolution of the monasteries to a post-environmental collapse archaeological dig excavating a community of today, the stories connect by exploring violence through the voices of people on the downside of power–women, slaves, people of color, and dissolution-era monks.The collection opens with a strong, breath-taking story called “West of the Known” that flips the usual outlaw western by telling the story from the viewpoint of a woman, a reluctant outlaw, whose brother saved her from the frying pan into the fire.The story “Snake Doctors” from which the title quote is taken has rich and beautiful language such as this description of how grief silences your world. “Instead a road of airless wool had unfurled wide in her head, winding monotonous through the astonishment of her loss.” Reading this, there is a recognition, a knowing that this writer understands grief, that it is not just keening pain, but it in muffle the world into silence.The final story is a bit awkward at first, the beginning steeped so deeply in the language of the sixteenth century it takes work to follow, but forsooth, it gets better. More than one story is puzzling at the beginning before its true shape is revealed. It’s a good way to draw us in, though it adds a sameness in architecture to these stories who varied so widely in time, place, and person.The Man Who Shot Out My Eye Is Dead is an excellent collection of short stories. I found I enjoyed it more if I read one story, read something else, and then came back and read another story. When I read several in a row, the framework of the stories became more obvious, taking away some of the art and mystery. Benz writes with rich economy. Her language is beautiful and textured. She adopts the sounds of time and place. It is beautiful. Yet in the space of a short story, she shares as much story as many novels. Each of her short stories could have been a novel, fleshed out, of course, but the bones are already there.The Man Who Shot Out My Eye Is Dead will be released by Harper Collins on January 17th. I received an electronic galley from the publisher through Edelweiss.https://tonstantweaderreviews.wordpre...

  • Larry
    2018-10-21 19:30

    A first-rate collection of powerful short stories.  My favorite - “The Peculiar Narrative of the Remarkable Particulars in the Life of Orrinda Thomas.”  Former slave Orrinda has become a famous poet and is headed to the deep South for a reading.  How will things go off the rails?  In “Snake Doctors” Robert Sibley must talk his sister Izabel out of murder.  She wants to kill the doctor she considers responsible for their mother’s death.  “Recognition” finds archaeologist Lee Bibb at the site of a buried survivalist community that maybe he was once a part of.  

  • Rachel Kulik
    2018-10-09 15:36

    *I received an advance copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*Want more book reviews? Check out Rachel Reading for more like this.I’m not really sure where to start on this book. I’ll confess that I felt like it really went over my head. This wasn’t a bad thing, but I found myself wishing that I had one of my favorite High School English teachers around to explain it to me. Especially the story “Adela”. However, I also feel like this just shows how masterful Benz is at her craft. I feel like these stories have so many layers, that made it difficult to read as a commute read, and that they deserved more respect and time and depth than I could give them.I found myself wanting to know what was happening in the story and once I sort of figured it out the story was over. I admired how differently each story was written, I really felt like it was a new writer for each story, which was really cool. I’m not sure if most short story anthologies are like this, as I believe this is actually my first short story anthology.In short, Benz is an extremely talented writer, and I wish I could have appreciated it more than I was able to. I hope at some point I can read a critical analysis of this work and then go back and read it because that’s how full of good stuff it was, and I just wasn’t able to catch it all.

  • karen
    2018-09-30 21:16

    Shattering. Amazing that one woman can speak with so many voices so clearly and so poignantly. Highly recommend.

  • Alicia Roberts
    2018-10-10 23:32

    Short stories about family secrets and their burden/consequences. She writes of many eras - from the Old West (and even earlier) to contemporary - and does it deftly.

  • Bob Lopez
    2018-09-28 15:27

    Jack of all trades, master of none, as they say. Too genre-hop-y for me: first story was an ok western, second a great mystery/regency/Victorian gothic, next was a slave narrative, there was a story set in the 1600s? with a lot of thee and thous that didn't ring true at all. Most of the stories I found weak and not very compelling at all.

  • Jk
    2018-09-29 19:23

    I got an Uncorrected Proof Copy of this book for free through the Goodreads Giveaways program and would like to thank anyone who had a hand in making that possible.This collection of short stories was a teensy bit hit or miss for me but overall still pretty fantastic. It definitely features a very wide range of voice and style, with some choices working more for me than others. In some of the stories I felt that a more experimental style detracted a bit from the reading experience but still every story showed glimmers of greatness and there were none that I did not like in some way. There was a gritty, old west feel to several of the stories that I really appreciated and a unifying theme of tragedy, bleakness and people caught up in heartbreaking circumstances. My favorite stories were: "Accidental", "The Peculiar Narrative of the Remarkable Particulars in the Life of Orrinda Thomas", "James III", "Snake Doctors" and "Recognition". If you enjoy short story collections and are looking for a fresh new voice, check this one out!

  • Jency
    2018-09-22 20:28

    A very interesting debut by author Chanelle Benz. This book features several short stories from different time periods. I really liked "West of the Known" and The Peculiar Narrative....Orinda Thomas". Both of them feature innocent or unsuspecting characters duped by their own. "The Diplomat's daughter" felt like something was missing when it ended abruptly. All of the stories had a unique and interesting story line. I will definitely check out her next book.