Everybody Loves Somebody Paperback – Dec 11 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. From the formidable imagination of Scott (Pulitzer Prize–finalist The Manikin, etc.) comes a collection of 10 stories that stalk across the 20th century to document love and its consequences. In "Heaven and Hell," a bride and groom seal their vows with a lengthy kiss after he returns home, blind, from WWI. "The Lucite Cane" sees an elderly man navigating a slew of literal and metaphorical modern-day hazards in June 2000. A young Harlem mother abandons her daughter to join a cultlike church in "The Queen of Sheba Is Afraid of Snow." The teenage grifter at the center of "Or Else" travels from New York to Europe and steals from her benefactor. In the title story, a New York advertising executive sent upstate to finalize a contract encounters trouble on his drive home to his wife and baby. Although the characters struggle differently, they are almost all observed by a Paul Bowles–style godless eye-in-the-sky that lays bare human frailty with almost unbearable acuity; the two first-person stories, "Yip" and "Across from the Shannonso," don't convey the same gravitas. But Scott's craft can be breathtaking—and her perceptions uncanny. (Dec. 11)
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Scott's The Manikin (1996) was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; Various Antidotes (1994)and Arrogance (1991) were both finalists for the PEN/Faulkner Award; and she is the recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship and a Lannan Award. So it should come as no surprise that her collection of short stories is a stylish and apt depiction of everyday life. In the first story, an estranged father has made it to his daughter's wedding only to find himself trapped in the bathroom of his hotel room. In "Stumble,"a young woman labeled as easy makes her way to New York for excitement. What she finds is harsh reality. The most creative story, "Yip,"has a Broadway impresario trying to get permission to build a play around a mentally ill young boy. "He would just stand there in the spotlight, his body pressing against the empty space behind him, and then, at last, he would utter a single yip." Each of these quietly well-crafted stories takes the reader to a place or an emotion that is palpable and enlightening. And each one will leave a lasting impression. Elizabeth Dickie
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Her book is a collection of ten short stories that parade across the 20th century, telling sagas of love; those who find it, those who lose it, and those who keep looking.
A full spectrum of relationships is brought to the page, including love between couples, love between parents and children, and love among siblings. Many different forms of love--and the breathtaking results, struggles, and stings suffered because of love--are captured. Romantic love is not the only story within the pages of this book, rather a love that comes through struggles and the search for a tie with another human being.
Armchair Interviews says: The depth that only love can bring to a soul is captured within the pages of Everybody Loves Somebody.
Joanna Scott, world-renowned author and Pulitzer Prize finalist, has compiled a collection of ten short stories. The stories span from World War One, all the way down to the present day. The stories all tell tales of heartache, heartbreak, and true love. Scott has a timeless way of telling a tale, and this book is sure to become a classic. Each story has a quiet simplicity to it, a commodity often unseen today.
From the first story, in which a ne'er do well father finds himself trapped in the bathroom of the hotel in which he is staying, unable to atone for his past sins and attend his daughter's wedding, the reader has a sense that Scott is speaking not merely from her imagination, but, rather, that she has an uncanny ability to peer into the inmost parts of the human heart, and define what resides within. No theme is too tense, or too sacred for Scott to analyze and interpret. From lives in the tenements of New York to a beautiful wedding on a bright, sunny ocean beach, to drunken bouts, prostitution, old age, and an infant making a feast out of a cicada shell, Scott weaves ten powerful tales of love and loss. Not only is romantic, passionate love related, as in the kiss that lasts near a half-hour, but also love for family, friends, and the human race.
Although, at times, the stories in "Everybody Loves Somebody" seem a bit "wordy," Scott has a knack for taking ordinary words and sentences, and converting them into beautiful, timeless, haunting tales that the reader will not soon forget.
Received book free of charge.
After my initial disappointment that the stories were not as compelling as what I found in Follow Me, I realized that this collection was a good resource for me as a writer. I spent a lot of time focused on her description of characters - the way they moved, spoke, smelled, dressed, and behaved. Rather than feeling like an outside observing a situation unfolding, I found that I was very much side by side with the characters, learning about their unqiue personality quirks and histories.
As a writer, this book was very helpful to me from a character study point-of-view. It answers all of the questions that an author must consider to create characters that truly spring from the page. It reminded me of break-outs you might read in preparation for a theatre performance. They are the back stories for colorful characters who could each easily be made into their own full-length novels. I finished each story wanting to know more about these people I had just met and was disappointed to not learn more about their them.