Read Ladies and Gentlemen by Adam Ross Online

ladies-and-gentlemen

After his widely celebrated debut, Mr. Peanut, Adam Ross now presents a darkly compelling collection of stories about brothers, loners, lovers, and lives full of good intentions, misunderstandings, and obscured motives.A hotshot lawyer, burdened by years of guilt and resentment, comes to the rescue of his irresponsible, irresistible younger brother. An unsettling story resAfter his widely celebrated debut, Mr. Peanut, Adam Ross now presents a darkly compelling collection of stories about brothers, loners, lovers, and lives full of good intentions, misunderstandings, and obscured motives.A hotshot lawyer, burdened by years of guilt and resentment, comes to the rescue of his irresponsible, irresistible younger brother. An unsettling story resonates between the dysfunctional couple telling it and their listening friends as well. A lonely professor, frequently regaled with unbelievably entertaining tales by the office handyman, suddenly fears he’s being asked to abet a murderous fugitive. An awkward but nervy adolescent uses his brief career as a child actor to further his designs on a WASPy friend’s seemingly untouchable sister. A man down on his luck closes in on a mysterious, much-needed job offer while doing a good turn for his fragile neighbor, with results at once surreal and hilarious. And when two college kids goad each other on in an escalating series of breathtaking dares, the outcome is as tragic as it is ambiguous.Laced with glimmers of redemption, youthful energy, and hard-won wisdom, these noirish stories unspool purposefully and fluidly; together they confirm the arrival of—as Michiko Kakutani put it in The New York Times—“an enormously talented writer.”...

Title : Ladies and Gentlemen
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780307270719
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 241 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Ladies and Gentlemen Reviews

  • karen
    2018-11-17 07:17

    this came into the store on tuesday. i borrowed it on tuesday. i read it on tuesday.now what?now i have to wait for him to write another book which i will probably consume just as quickly. it hardly seems fair. i mean, obviously, it's my own damn fault for my enthusiasm, but i can't help feeling like mr. ross is somehow culpable in all of this; to come at me with stories after having written one of the most complicated and gripping novels i have read in recent years (that's mr. peanut, lazies), he's like an unscrupulous drug dealer cutting the product to string me along and keep me hooked.and it's not that these stories are bad, because they are great. but me, i always prefer novels, despite having discovered some amazing collections in the last year.like this one.a positive to this collection is that there are only seven stories. i like that. this means there aren't any three-pagers of undeveloped ideas slipped in to be hopefully unnoticed. all of these stories have weight and heft and all of that. but the negative is: seven stories and it's over. like a middling building in nyfc.i don't know how to review short stories without giving away too much, so i'm going to be super brief and shady. observe:futureswith this one, there was one part that was predictable, and one part that i was awesomely surprised by. and i like to think that the predictable part was intentional, to mislead the reader into thinking they had it all figured out, and then just taking it one step further. a really good way to begin this collection.the rest of itthe most layered of them all: shoots and branches and leafy bits reaching out all over the place. kind of puts the reader into the difficult position of not knowing who to root for or sympathize with. in a satisfying, not a confusing way. in a way that feels more like life and less like a contrived situation.suicide roomprobably my favorite. brings back the late-teen years with the casual betrayals, hope and angst and bluster and treading water. this would make a great short film, like a stand by me for our times...in the basementthis one went places dark and creepy. the more i think about this one, the more it chills me, but not because of the actual horrifying and heartbreaking part. kind of like ethan frome, in that the saddest and most emotional part is the what happened in this interim here? what led to this conclusion? what happens now? this one will stay with me for a little while.when in romeno - this one is my favorite - i was wrong. these characters really come to life, and i felt it was just a perfect little capsule of a story. i would read an entire book featuring these brothers.middlemananother perfect story. seriously. perfect. do i overuse that word in this review? i don't care. this is all puppy love and seeing the big picture for the first time and just perfect radio days or a christmas story youthfulness. this story made me mad the collection was coming to a close.ladies and gentlemenoh, another perfect story. yeah, see how bad i am at reviewing? i give up - i loved this collection, adam ross is now among the very top tier of my favorite authors, and i know i have only made with the four-star ratings for both of his books now, and i don't know why that is, but that is what i feel. and yet, i also feel that i love these books more than other books with four stars. star ratings are problematic, but i wholeheartedly endorse these books and if i could focus better in the deadly heat, this review would be more convincing. trust my feelings, not my words.

  • Krok Zero
    2018-12-01 02:36

    In these seven gratifyingly fulsome tales, Adam Ross safeguards against the embalmed inconsequentiality of the modern short story with an array of complex narrative architectures, a simple dedication to strong storytelling, and a healthy coating of moral ambiguity. The wheel remains un-reinvented, but there's (more than) enough generative resourcefulness here to confirm Ross as a major new writer. And though Ross is using the same tools as any other literary short-monger, this book is somehow just a lot more fun than most short story collections; it manages to be a page-turner, despite not being a novel. (And let's all say a little prayer of gratitude that Ross -- or his publisher -- decided not to go the trendy "novel in stories" route. I'm sick of being sold that bill of goods.)Divorced from the structural high-wire act of his curlicue debut novel Mr. Peanut, the Adam Ross of Ladies and Gentlemen is still interested in finding narrative complications and layers, albeit modestly and on a smaller scale: stories within stories, stories proceeding along multiple tracks, stories with unexpected directional swerves and shifting temporalities. Such narrative footwork keeps the book lively and pleasurable without obscuring the fundamental thematics of people making choices and mistakes, misbehaving and mistreating each other and learning, or not learning, or learning what they'd rather not know. Ross does struggle a bit with endings. He capriciously toggles between clean, twisty wrap-ups and the more traditional open-ended close; he errs when attempting to spell out profundities rather than embracing the mystery, as in the I-learned-something-today ending of the otherwise riveting "The Suicide Room," or the non-sequitir philosophizing that caps off the mainly delicious "The Rest of It." He sticks the landing beautifully in "When in Rome," however.Highlights are the novella-ish opener "Futures," a perfect study of the desperation of unemployment and the false security of reaching out to your fellow man; and the penultimate story "Middleman," a sensitive, unerring peek at a particular strain of early-adolescent longing and dawning awareness of identity. But there are no duds here, seven stalks of wheat with no chaff in sight. If a short story collection leaves you wanting more, it should be because it doesn't stick around long enough to outstay its welcome, not because it lacks substance. Adam Ross finds the right side of that line and many others besides. Quality stuff.

  • Adam Ross
    2018-11-26 05:39

    I'm torn between this book and Mr. Peanut as the best books Adam Ross has ever written.

  • Karyn Gayle
    2018-11-29 05:39

    I was disappointed with this book, especially since I loved this author's first book, "Mr. Peanut." Like “Mr. Peanut,” this book was well written. Also similar to his previous work, you definitely see Ross’ bleak view of human nature. Each story was interesting to read but none (with the exception of the first story which just had a predictable ending) had an ending. Six of the seven stories just abruptly ended when I thought I was in the tale’s middle. My first thought was, “Did I miss something? How could that story just end there?” Then, the next story also ended with no resolution or interesting twist. The next story, again, although an interesting narrative, had no central plot or conclusion. When the book ended, I felt like I had read 6 stories, each missing their last chapter. Perhaps Adam Ross thought, since he gave us multiple endings in “Mr. Peanut,” he’d give none in “Ladies & Gentlemen?” I may go back and read "Mr. Peanut" a third time but I don't think I'll pick this one up again any time soon.

  • Aaron Mcquiston
    2018-12-15 10:29

    I like Adam Ross. He seems like the kind of guy that would be fun to take out for pizza and beer then roll a car. The impression from his stories, which is probably less like the truth than anything I have ever said, makes him seem crazy, a little wild, a little like it is tough for him to build relationships. This is complete garbage, I know as I type this, but in all of us there is a dreamer, a sliver of hope that wishes people would turn out to be the way we want them to be. Is this really a topic to get into? A return to seeing a writer as a dangerous person instead of someone who can hold a job, be dedicated to a vision, and follow through? Especially since the whole idea of giving me, the reader, a space to talk about a book, should be used as just that. I should find a responsibility in giving a genuine interpretation of what I thought instead of a pseudo-psychotic mumble on whether a person should ever see a writer life as the ghost behind the actions of his characters."Ladies and Gentlemen" starts with an epigraph by George Eliot, "Cruelty, like every other vice, requires no motive outside of itself; it only requires opportunity." The stories in this collection reflect this idea with varying degrees of success. A few of these stories seem kind of gimmicky, a la M. Night Shyamalan movies, some of them feel stylistically like Roberto Bolano short stories (the action has already taken place and the meat of the story is being retold later between two friends), and some of them reflected the strength of "Mr. Peanut." This makes the collection feel a little uneven, but there are moments where it really shines. (If you read only one story in this collection, read the title story, "Ladies and Gentlemen." The reflection of the Eliot idea is the strongest and the final sentences really linger.)I'm interested in what Mr. Ross will do next. It is rare for me to really want to wait for the next book by an (active) author to be released. I feel there is something special in Mr. Ross's work, and the best is yet to come.

  • Andrew
    2018-12-09 10:33

    Eh. The book was okay, I guess.It is obvious, in reading through these stories, where their author has written directly from his experience and where he is weaving fiction. The stories are not uniformly autobiographical, and so the overall collection is a bit uneven.The details in "Middleman," for instance, are both vivid and ring absolutely true. But of course they do. It's a story about a kid from the West Side who fancies his East Side friend's older sister, then uses his insider knowledge as a child actor (both on the radio and in commercials) to attempt to woo her once she gets into the business. The descriptions are pointed and particular, from the casual anti-Semitism at an elite, Episcopal NYC high school to the cool spaciousness of an East Side apartment. According to the bio on his website, Adam Ross "was born and raised in New York City and attended the Trin­ity School, where he was a state cham­pion wrestler. A child actor, he has appeared in movies, com­mer­cials, and tele­vi­sion shows, as well as on radio dra­mas such as The Eter­nal Light and E.G. Marshall’s Mys­tery The­ater."While the writing is good, his recollections are far superior to his creations, even within the same story, and it is obvious. Of course most writers borrow from life. But really good writers seamlessly blend the fiction and the fictionalized. Worse writers often do so as well. The unevenness is where Ross's work falls down.So the book was, you know, okay.It's worth noting that there is nothing wrong with the Bildungsroman in short story form. There exist, however, many better examples of the form. For the young-NYC-guy-coming-of-age sub-genre, Thomas Beller's excellent How to Be a Man: Scenes from a Protracted Boyhood is a particular standout.

  • Kathrina
    2018-11-24 09:39

    For a really excellent, helpful review of this title, please read Krok Zero's review. I agree with all of his points, but with about 25% less enthusiasm. Reason being, I have a huge respect for Adam Ross's skill, but I'm a temperamental reader when it comes to short stories, and the more compelling they are, the more I want them to be novels. Almost all of these stories were great first chapters, and it really pissed me off when they stood me up at the end of the page. I especially loved the story of the two brothers somewhere towards the middle (sorry, I don't have the copy handy and I can't remember the title). The twist in this one really hit me. Ross has keen insight on personal relationships -- those we're forced with through blood and those we commit to through choice, even when we consider changing our minds. His perspective on family is very eye-opening, and I have the utmost respect for his story architecture. But enough is enough, let's get down to business and see the next novel, Ross.

  • Pia
    2018-12-07 08:24

    Mr. Peanut by Adam Ross has been on my shelf for the past year. To be honest, I bought it because there was a lot of hype about it, but the content doesn't really interest me. It's a murder story, and those immediately turn me off. I know I'm being biased and unreasonably silly, but that's me. But now that I have all but devoured Adam Ross' new short story collection, I know that Mr. Peanut is not far behind. All the stories in Ladies and Gentlemen draw you in immediately, so subtly and easily that you feel like you've known the characters for your entire life; that they have been permanent fixtures as those reticent work colleagues or neighbors that you never bothered introducing yourself to. These characters are real, some are a little stereotypical, but first and foremost, they are flawed, and that is what makes them perfect. You can imagine their strange idiosyncrasies manifesting themselves within the man on the subway. And each story twists ever so slightly so that you never really know what to expect. I loved Ladies and Gentlemen. Mr. Peanut, gird your loins.

  • Casey Ferneyhough
    2018-12-04 04:30

    Alright so, individually I loved all the stories in this book. The characters were interesting, diverse and all with issues most of us face on a day to day basis. As a whole I was a little disappointed. This book is called ladies and gentlemen but of the 7 stories only one was about a women. And that story was about an affair. I wish that there could have been more stories told from a female narrative rather than just a mans but I guess we can't win them all. I would definitely recommend the book though. It's a good read.

  • Joost van Hoek
    2018-11-26 07:25

    Vertaald als Dames en heren en verschenen bij Podium. Sterke verhalen die meer aandacht verdienen.

  • mstan
    2018-12-03 10:38

    There are some slight flaws to the short stories (the endings to some of them are rather abrupt or conversely, long-drawn) but I was blown away by all of them nonetheless. This is the type of short story I enjoy - meandering between past and present and different perspectives, yet thoroughly engaging and grounded in reality and relationships - snapshots of daily life, if you will. While my favourite short story writers Raymond Carver and Alice Munro differ very much in their styles, they provide this as well. The hyped contemporary writers Ben Loory and Jim Shepard, whom I've read recently, are a little too avant-garde for my taste.Ross's stories center around how people fit against each other, into time, and into society. 'Futures', the first story, explores the bleakness of unemployment in modern America and juxtaposes this against the smugness and fecklessness of youth, who feel that there is no need to commit to any single thing just yet. 'When in Rome' is about two brothers - one who becomes a successful lawyer and the other who drifts about doing semi-criminal things. 'The Suicide Room' - an absolutely fantastic piece - is about the invincibility of (college-aged) youth. There are only seven stories and the other four are just as good. The images Ross's writing evokes will stay with me for a long time: a room full of blood but with no trace of human bodies visible; (view spoiler)[a German shepherd trapped in a cage (hide spoiler)]; a violent mugging in the streets; the desperate cry of a man who realises he can detect the colours of other people's 'auras' during his job interview.There are no good or bad people in Ross's world, merely many flawed ones. Try as we might not to identify with them, it's hard not to.

  • William
    2018-12-16 10:28

    The strength of this collection of seven stories is in their variety and some snappy dialogue. But that was not enough to get me past the sadness in most of the relationships which appear in the stories. Most of the stories are about married couples who are not getting along but decide to tough it out, though one is about two brothers albeit with similar issues. These characters inhabit worlds which are largely joyless for the adults, full of indecision and unspoken loneliness. The cover blurb calls this book an "extraordinary look into ordinary lives." Maybe so, but having lived in four different US regions, I see it more as the story of ordinary New Yorkers, even when the stories do not take place there. I kept thinking of Jay McInerney's "Bright Lights, Big City," which I read years ago but the tone of which seems similar.It's a little eerie that I grew up in New York City and attended two of the three private schools Ross mentions in the stories, and then I lived in Nashville for eight years (where Ross still lives) though we never met. The stories seem to me to be the product of a New Yorker in exile (only New Yorkers seem so preoccupied with the real names of private schools) and not to have absorbed the more ironic sense of regional cultures which the South can offer to a transplant.But the bottom line for me is I may just be tired of stories about couples and other people who don't manage to connect. I don't get a lot of fun out of literary sadness. Taste, of course, is personal and it's fine with me that others are likely to disagree.

  • Heather Noble
    2018-12-16 10:28

    These stories are discerning, disturbing, disarming and sometimes deliciously dark as they depict the lives and motives of those who share our spaces.Although a book of short stories, it's a page turner as you want to find out not only the resolution to each story but what configuration of character and circumstance will entertain you in the next. And entertaining the stories are, featuring characters with dilemmas and weaknesses they struggle to resolve and hide from families and friends but told with an underlying sense that the author takes delight in observing our species and the intricacies of lives lived in self-deception. The longest story in the collection is the first and the twist in the tale is the key to looking for other instances of wrong-footing the reader in the following stories. I found myself continually thinking that the situation was not as it seemed and often this proved to be the case as the author teases with snippets of insight allowing the reader to have numerous "i knew it!" moments. I'm not quite sure why but I thought of Lorrie Moore while reading these; perhaps because of those gently poking fun moments.Hugely enjoyable and I shall now read Mr. Peanut.

  • Katherine
    2018-12-04 06:19

    "He imagined it was something a hummingbird must feel: an awareness of moving with great rapidity while the surrounding world remains stuck in slow motion" (88).“As for me, I became a writer, and every job I’ve ever held or choice I’ve ever made has been ancillary to this task. This means I’m free to embellish, to treat memory as fact or shape it to suit whatever I’m working on. My primary responsibility, I suppose, is to set you dreaming. If that requires me to alter things, then I will…” (126).“You see, it turns out that Will was wrong about defining moments. We don’t invent them; they happen to us. And I think about that night all the time. That was the night I woke up. For the first time in my life, I started to feel whole. Because from that night forward, as often as possible, I began asking myself: What are you doing? This isn’t to say I necessarily do the right thing. It just means that I can’t say I didn’t think about it” (127)."...her bulletin board ruffled wiht swimming and riding ribbons..." (196)."But then it was happening, my dream suddenly laid out on a platter like John the Baptist's head" (226). *Such imagery!

  • Kaycie Hall
    2018-11-19 09:24

    Surprisingly (because I had to put down Mr. Peanut after it depressed the hell out of me) I really enjoyed these stories. Dark and a little edgy just as I would expect of Mr. Ross, but not so dark that I had to stop myself from reading before I started looking suspiciously at everyone close to me and suspecting them of maliciousness (which, in case you were wondering, is the effect Mr. Peanut had one me--not to say that doesn't suggest some very powerful writing. It's kind of a compliment).I think my favorite stories were Middleman and Ladies and Gentleman although all of them stick with you. Some of the characters are awful people, yes, but I don't agree with Kakutani's NYTimes book review in which she wonders if Ross is a misanthrope. I was actually pleasantly surprised by the way in which some of Ross's characters are actually redeemed and you think that things might work out for them after all---but not in that cheesy, predictable way. Also worth mentioning--I got to meet Adam when he came to Lemuria bookstore in Jackson, MS this July, and in my humble opinion, he's a great reader and an interesting guy. I look forward to following the rest of his writing career.

  • Emily Crowe
    2018-11-21 09:23

    I never read Ross's first book, the highly acclaimed Mr. Peanut, but I knew enough of it to expect a few dark twists in this new collection of short stories and I was not disappointed. The titular ladies are mostly non-existent; instead these stories are populated with so-called gentlemen who are up to their chinny-chin-chin hairs with misapplied expectations. The stories are quite good and just varied enough to feel like you're getting something a little different each time around while still getting a sense of unification through tone and theme. One throwaway detail that caught my eye and just might catch the eye of some of my Caribbeanophile readers is that the narrator of "In the Basement" recalls with a sense of dismay the private island where a former friend honeymooned: "every couple had an open air hut and put up a flag when they wanted a meal, how the owner of the resort bred yellow Labs that swam in the surf and ran free in honey-colored packs." Yes, that is the island of Petit St. Vincent, a private island resort in the Grenadines that has long captured my imagination. When I make my millions as a bookseller, that will be one of the first places I visit.

  • Marc Allen
    2018-12-13 08:11

    While not quite as intense and gripping as Mr. Peanut, Ladies and Gentleman approaches subjects in a more macro viewpoint. I finished this within the first two days of it being released, and the only reason that I stopped on the first day is that I did not want it to end.The stories address many questions with powerful characters and answers the central question of "what happens when no one is watching and the darkly human characteristics become demonstrated?"Ross uses a very deliberate prose in Ladies and Gentleman and often a fictitious first person, which almost has A Clockwork Orange sense to it. His narrators are all referential and instantly grab the reader by the balls and puts him or her into the story.I personally found "The Suicide Room" to be the most enjoyable piece of the collection as its symbolism, dark and Kafkaesque undertones paint a hallowing picture of humanity, simplicity, competition, and the need for acceptance.Adam Ross has quickly become my favorite contemporary author and I cannot wait until his next work.

  • J
    2018-12-08 07:13

    Maybe 2 1/2 stars ...This collection of short stories is really hard to rate and review because each story is so different in quality, voice and construct. The first 'short' story is 60 pages long and rambles with excess verbiage and plot lines. It wrapped up nicely though. The second story had some nice points, but no central plot or story wrap up. It was a more manageable 40 pages. The third story was vulgar with sex talk and people willingly and knowingly walking into messed up situations. You just want to avoid them, even in literary form.There are seven stories total - all unrelated to each other. Several stories used the first person narrative (but different characters are the narrator) which is a bit confusing. The stories range from sweet and cute to vulgar and angering and most were pointless. A couple stories I enjoyed thoroughly, but most had problems that dragged down my enjoyment.

  • Evanston PublicLibrary
    2018-12-06 05:39

    After bursting on to the literary scene with last year's acclaimed Mr. Peanut, Adam Ross has returned with this superb collection of seven short stories. Much like his debut, these twisting, noirish tales turn up the suspense with a touch of the surreal as they explore the darker corners of marriage and friendship. In the standout "The Rest of It," for instance, a lonely English professor panics after befriending a mysterious handyman who might just be harboring a murderer while in the unnerving "The Suicide Room," a group of morally-reckless college kids play an increasingly dangerous game of Chicken with possibly tragic results. Filled with vivid characters and often hauntingly ambiguous, these well-crafted stories are a fantastic follow-up that delivers on the considerable promise of Mr. Peanut and leaves you eager for more from this talented new storyteller.Russell J. (Reader's Services)

  • Michelle Despres
    2018-12-08 09:20

    I came back to change my 4-star rating to 5 stars. My minimalist thoughts...The collection starts off well with Futures. Some might say one element of it was predictable; I call it foreshadowing. Overall: surprising, heartbreaking, and frustrating. The Suicide Room is fantastic.In the Basement is wonderfully complex even though it's mundane in a way.When in Rome is great. Again, surprising and frustrating with a hint of relief.Middleman was evocative. 1980s Manhattan. A seventh grader. These characters come alive. Again, wonderful layers.I liked the ending of Ladies and Gentlemen, and in that way it's similar to The Rest of It.A solid collection.For readers who prefer longer short stories, this book will make you happy. There are six stories in 241 pages.

  • Rachel
    2018-12-03 05:29

    I normally don't care too much for short stories but I loved Adam Ross's Mr. Peanut so much that I had to pick up his collection of short stories. These stories were haunting like Mr. Peanut. They reminded me of Twilight Zone episodes because most of them ended with a dark moral and seemed eerie. I enjoyed most of them but was left wanting more. I thought some of them ended too abruptly.I may just not be a short story person and I also think I had my hopes up way too high for this collection after reading Mr. Peanut. I think that's why I felt unsatisfied these stories. I think they were good, just not as good as Mr. Peanut. If you haven't read either, read this one first so your expectations aren't over the top like mine were. This gets a three and a half star rating from me.

  • Corny
    2018-12-05 10:26

    This is a much better book than Mr. Peanut which was overlong and overthought. This collection of contemporary short stories deals with current issues in modern life, mostly revolving around the angst of young people. I particularly liked "The Suicide Room" and "When in Rome" the latter of which deals with the distonic relationship between two brothers. The title story, however, seems very contrived, and has been done before as The Lady or The Tiger by Leigh Hunt and does not present much in the way of a new perspective. I am still undecided about "Futures" which is more a novella than a short story but which develops an interesting, although somewhat pathetic, main character, everyone's punching bag. In sum, I found this to be well written and much tighter than the first book.

  • K.l. Dillon
    2018-12-01 03:40

    Two months ago, I've finished this short story collection, Adam Ross' follow up to the riveting Mr. Peanut, and each single story hasn't left me. Each story is more riveting than the last and I promise you each story will creep into your head and it will stay there...for ever. But, I'm not complaining. From Futures to the title story, Ladies and Gentlemen, Adam Ross has strung together one hell of a short story collection. It's rare an author is this good this early in his career! Please do yourself a favor and pick this book up and read it. P.S.: He's also on twitter and he responds to your tweets! Pretty effin awesome :)

  • Emily
    2018-12-09 02:12

    This story collection is dark, funny and undeniably captivating. Adam Ross clearly lets you know what each story is "about" without anything ever coming across as too heavy handed. Throughout each tale his characters are impossibly real and fleshed out so well that I often found myself believing they are out there somewhere in the world, leading their lives just as Ross depicts them. These are the stories adults might tell around the campfire to scare one another, each listener tensely sitting near the edge of the flames and as their stomachs turn with that delicious mix of terror and excitement.

  • Damien
    2018-12-17 10:19

    I like Adam's narrative. I like the disruptive, unsettling themes prevalent throughout his collection (isolation, de facto infidelity. fatalism, moral ambiguity), which make for guilty neo-noir pleasures. I like the pacing of a majority of the tales, and the plausible realism of the novellas. But I can't shake how every story came across as one being told to a distracted listener, replete with an absolute suspension of your suspension of disbelief. I felt nothing for the characters, and every twist or turn played out in acknowledgment of its predictability. Ross' textbook prose reads almost as emotionlessly as, well, a textbook.

  • Cheryl
    2018-12-03 05:35

    Crisp and insightful. One of the best collections of short stories I've read. Some of my favorite lines: "What's clear to me is that it's easier to understand what makes two people let go than what keeps than together." (from In the Basement)"Because distances between siblings, I suspect, might be a birthright that's as strong and arbitrary and ineluctable as love; yet because we feel we must honor this accident of our relatedness, we try to swim against it again and again." (from When in Rome)

  • Lori
    2018-12-08 03:14

    Lots of good in this short-story collection, though Ross often leaves the reader hanging. I know lots of folks feel unsatisfied with the format in general -- they hate saying goodbye just as they start to care. I get that, but it's not Ross's problem here. Ross cuts off the action -- nearly every time -- juuuuuust before the climax. So we don't get to see it. We don't know which path the character chooses. And it was frustrating as hell.All in all, still nowhere near as fulfilling, fun or freaky as Mr. Peanut. I anxiously await Ross's next nove.

  • Kasa Cotugno
    2018-12-11 03:19

    How does a writer escape the sophomore curse following the stunning reception of his first book? Adam Ross's solution was to publish some short fiction written during the seven years it took him to round out Mr. Peanut. The result presented here is a remarkable collection of well crafted, hauntingly plotted stories with richer characterizations than is usually found. He admits to starting off knowing how he'll begin and end a story, spending the majority of time fleshing out the middle. The results are stories that don't feel rushed with unsatisfying conclusions. Highly recommend.

  • EinsteinShrugged
    2018-12-09 10:22

    Short story collections where everyone ends up miserable please me to no end. While a few of the stories were pretty predictable (Futures, especially) I didn't really mind knowing where he was going. In The Basement was the weakest, though, and the book would have been better overall without it. But I can forgive one bad story in a slice of life collection. I don't know if I'd trust Adam Ross to entertain me for a novel, but I'd pick up another collection of stories happily.

  • andrew y
    2018-11-18 03:32

    I really like how Adam Ross writes, which lets me forgive when his collection doesn't tread new ground. I was interested and engaged throughout the book, which is really rare especially for a collection. Recommended for people that aren't looking for something groundbreaking but with a style of writing that will either engage you or turn you off. Forgot to review another collection I read a few weeks ago, far better, coming up next.