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Ends Of Our Tethers: Thirteen Sorry Stories Hardcover – Mar 12 2004

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books (March 12 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841955477
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841955476
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 12.2 x 1.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 268 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,026,790 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon.com: 3 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Bizarre, Wonderful, Visionary - A Very Fun Read Nov. 28 2007
By Richard Millions - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I was introduced to this work by Madison Smartt Bell when he read "15 February 2003" to a creative writing class a few years ago. I was very intrigued and bought the book shortly after. The short stories in this book are both visionary and hilarious. Gray has a beautiful ability to capture a deep sense of truth from minor details and quietly bizarre circumstances. He gets into some very deep psychological territory with stories such as "Aiblins," where the author himself meets a fictionalized version of himself as a young man, and "Job's Skin Game" where a man who is coping with eczema engages in quaint and grotesque skin peeling rituals. His stories are immediately engaging, very fun and easy to read though often presented in esoteric forms.

I read Poor Things a year or so after this book and liked it FAR less. That book, although a good yarn, seemed trite next to this book. It seemed a bit gimmicky; the tricks that Gray uses throughout that book were fun but didn't leave a lasting impression.
In "Ends of our Tethers" Alasdair Gray achieves a beautiful harmony between postmodern mashup of style and deep, true characters. "Sinkings" and "No Bluebeard" are stories that are presented almost as lists. The first being three brief scenarios where the narrator was emotionally damaged and insulted by the people around him, the second is a male narrator recounting the tale of his various ruined marriages, the wives referred to simply as FIRST, SECOND, and THIRD.

My favorite of these stories are those that add a touch of the surreal. "Big Pockets with Buttoned Flaps" and "15 February 2003" seem to take place in a future dystopia. The narrators of these stories are filled with an existential kind of despair.
I can't recommend this book enough. Sometimes visionary sometimes just interesting and enjoyable. Gray's illustrations also add to the experience of this book. The leering skulls seem both friendly and evil.
Wickedly Good Oct. 16 2009
By lucysnow - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm halfway through The Ends of Our Tethers and am trying to stop reading so fast. Please keep this book in stock! The stories are brilliant with hilarious endings. My favorite story so far is "Moral Philosophy Exam" which is very funny and ends with a multiple choice exam. "No Bluebeard" is the most memorable, a story about a man's four failing marriages. I can't describe in words how much I'm enjoying this book. "Job's Skin Game" had me both cringing and laughing uncontrollably. Perfect!
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Troubling but mostly brilliant Nov. 10 2008
By ignis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent, hilarious and often disturbing collection of short stories. My one criticism is that the penultimate story, an account of a protest against the Iraq war, is so tonally different from the other pieces that it rings false. The other stories have an almost Beckett-like abstraction and eternal quality, the penultimate story has already dated.