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Drinking Coffee Elsewhere Paperback – Feb 9 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd (Feb. 9 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841954780
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841954783
  • Product Dimensions: 21.2 x 13 x 2.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 299 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,280,168 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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First Sentence
"BY OUR SECOND DAY at Camp Crescendo, the girls in my Brownie troop had decided to kick the asses of each and every girl in Brownie Troop 909." Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

By Peter Jones on Feb. 3 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Drinking Coffee Elsewhere is one of my personal favorites. Its exploration of the characters, fascinating plot and smooth flow make for an excellent read, which is why I recommend it to any lover of nice stories.With other collections like The Usurper: and Other Stories, Ward No. 6 and Other Stories, I am I am enjoying short fiction for the first time in my life.
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By C.W. on June 22 2006
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book when I went to hear ZZ Packer speak at a writing convention. Until then, I hadn't heard of her, but her speech, which was titled something like, "How writing can make a difference," really enticed me to buy it. Make no mistake, Packer's fiction is vivid and enervating. Rather than being formulaic or banal, her stories draw compelling pictures of her characters' lives. From Dina starving in Japan in "Geese" to holly-roller Doris who confronts endemic racism in "Doris is Coming" to a misanthrope Dina who can't abandon her hardened shell in "Drinking Coffee Elsewhere," Packer has abundant understanding and compassion toward her characters. These stories are beautiful works of art, and open-ended enough that one feels as though these are living, breathing people who will continue living and breathing. Unlike so many authors, Packer allows us joint-custody for these characters' futures, which only makes them more honest and convincing.

[...]
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Format: Paperback
ZZ Packer's masterful stories deal with the crisis of belonging that many African-Americans face because, as individuals, people of all races, including their own, have monolithic expectations of them, which their individuality defies. Packer's characters break out of any kind of preconceived molds and faced with Groupthink, pressures to conform, and the patronization and condescension of liberal whites, these characters become infuriated by the stupidity that surrounds them. The style of the stories is intensely realistic, often satirical, bitter, nihilistic. At the same time Packer brings a deep humanity, complexity, and sympathy to her cast of misfits, all who search for belonging and never find it.
In "Brownies" African-American girls stir a brouhaha with a dubious charge of having heard a racial epithet uttered by the white Brownies. The story in many ways is a funny and disturbing exploration of Groupthink whereby the black Brownies never really heard the epithet but get caught up in the self-righteousness and mission of their revenge. In "Every Tongue Shall Confess" a cross-eyed, homely lady, Clareese, plays by the rules, reads her Bible, and works hard as a nurse, only to be exploited by her church deacons who use her as a door mat. We cringe as we watch Clareese sink deeper and deeper into loneliness. In "Our Lady of Peace" a young woman takes on teaching in a public school in order to change nihilistic, lawless high school children, but in a reversal, the children make her a nihilistic misanthropist. The teacher Lynnea Davis not only begins to despise the children, but the teachers she works with.
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By Jodi Chromey on July 13 2004
Format: Hardcover
there's nothing to not love in this collection from packer, not a sentence to stumble over, not a story to discount. absolutely brillant.
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By A Customer on July 10 2004
Format: Paperback
Drinking Coffee Elsewhere is a collection of short stories about the transition of the human spirit and how the single choices that one makes can effect one's perception of the world. These stories are written with an honest voice about real subjects that are not often discussed. There's "Speaking in Tongues", about a young girl who runs away from her sheltered religious life and is faced head on with the real world. Packer's story illustrates that religion is a choice that is made with the soul and is not afraid to examine what happen when one reaches the "age of accountability". Her characters are vivid, honest, funny and best of all very real. They are all struggling to find their true identities. ZZ Packer has no trouble portraying characters that are completely different than herself. Black or white, young or old, her characters are drawn with honesty and respect. If you're looking for some serious summer fun, trying also reading SKINNY DIP and THE BARK OF THE DOGWOOD
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By A Customer on June 24 2004
Format: Paperback
I think that ZZ Packer is a wonderful writer. She gives vivid detail and writes clearly. Unfortunately, I didn't find the stories very consistent. Most of the characters were hard to connect with and at the end of each story I wondered why I should be interested in their lives. The author uses some humor to diffuse the weight of her subject matter but I was disappointed by the endings. The stories are well crafted but I found the characters lives a little too morose. I would recommend reading the stories in small doses.
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By A Customer on June 22 2004
Format: Hardcover
ZZ Packer is a wonderful writer. Her style and prose are effortless. She allows you to use all of your senses - you can see the characters, feel the weather, and smell the food. However, I did not like all of the stories in this collection; in fact, I would only recommend 3 or 4. Most left me with an incomplete feeling. Many of her characters are unlikable, unsympathetic. Because her writing is so vivd, I felt I was left hanging at the end of the title story, Geese, and others.
I will eagerly await Ms. Packer's next effort, though. She is too good of a writer not to succeed.
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