We Others: New and Selected Stories

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9781780333045: We Others: New and Selected Stories
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A magnificent collection from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author: stories from across three decades that showcase his indomitable imagination.Steven Millhauser's fiction has consistently, and to dazzling effect, dissolved the boundaries between reality and fantasy, waking life and dreams, the past and the future, darkness and light, love and lust. The stories gathered here unfurl in settings as disparate as nineteenth-century Vienna, a contemporary Connecticut town, the corridors of a monstrous museum, and Thomas Edison's laboratory, and they are inhabited by a wide-ranging cast of characters, including a knife thrower and teenage boys, ghosts and a cartoon cat and mouse. But all of the stories are united in their unfailing power to surprise and enchant. From the earliest to the stunning, previously unpublished novella-length title story-in which a man who is dead, but not quite gone, reaches out to two lonely women-Millhauser "makes our world turn amazing" (The New York Times Book Review).With this collection, Steven Millhauser carves out ever more deeply his wondrous place in the American literary canon.Praise for Steven Millhauser's Dangerous Laughter"There is a ferocious restlessness in [these] stories, a mingling of desire and dread...mesmerizing" - Cathleen Medwick, O, The Oprah Magazine "Tales fuelled by curiosity and wonder, from a master...dazzling" - Jeff Turrentine, Washington Post Book World"Beautiful and profound...Millhauser's work is among the most thought-provoking I've ever encountered" - David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Review "Millhauser is a marvel...Dangerous Laughter shimmers with eccentric research, sinuous explorations of the mysteries of artistic creation, and his preternatural sensitivity to the inner lives of children and adolescents...an experience that leaves [us] dazzles, enchanted" - Daniel Dyer, Cleveland Plain Dealer "Absorbing, impeccably imagined...the best [stories] linger strangely, like ghostly taps on your shoulder" - Gregory Kirschling, Entertainment Weekly"Prose wizardry...of such melodic wit and finesse that it's more akin to musicmaking than story telling" - Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times "Millhauser's lifelong loves-of cartoons, magic, board games, mechanical marvels of the 19th century and the quiet moments of daily life-shine through, and his taste for language and grasp of storytelling are flawless. Truly amazing stories." - Stewart O'Nan

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About the Author:

Steven Millhauser is the author of numerous works of fiction, including Martin Dressler, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1997, and, most recently, Dangerous Laughter, a New York Times Book Review Best Book of the Year. His work has been translated into fifteen languages. He teaches at Skidmore College and lives in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Review:

It is a wondrous book. * Independent on Sunday * Beguiling... brilliant... yield[s] unexpected treasure. -- Patrick Ness * The Guardian * Essential reading for anyone worried about a visit from that goon, the relentless passing of time. * The Guardian * A magnificent collection from the Pulitzer Prize-winner...Surreal, disquieting and surprising. * Financial Times * He writes with startling clarity in unshowy but addictive prose. His paragraphs are beautifully composed and roll off the tongue as if they'd been designed to be sung. * The Glasgow Herald * Millhauser's writing is funny, melancholy and endlessly thought-provoking. * The Times (Saturday Review) * Millhauser's stories are filled with a sense of the magical wonder of life. * Catholic Herald * This is a wonderful collection, full of mystery and subtlety. * Independent * Fiction old and new from one of the contemporary masters of the form. Settings range from the contemporary to the indefinite to the historic . . . Much of [Millhauser's fiction] touches on the surrealistic and resonates with metaphors and allegories . . . Literary language, intelligent speculation about the human condition, all woven through sophisticated storytelling. * Kirkus Reviews * Profound and worthwhile . . . We Others isn't only a greatest-hits introduction to Millhauser's world-it's a cordial invitation to it. The approach [in this collection] gives us the opportunity to focus on the mechanics and beauty of each individual story. Millhauser has proven himself to be one of our most consistently dazzling American voices . . . Millhauser can pinpoint the deeper truths about how spectacular and even life-changing events can appear ordinary on the surface. Along the same lines, though, he also locates moments of transcendence in the most mundane of our everyday lives. . . . Millhauser's fiction in general and the stories in We Others, new and old [are] delightfully weird and sometimes even challenging in the best possible ways. They contain big words and big ideas. They will force you to think about the world around you a bit differently. But, mama, that's where the fun is. * Philadelphia Inquirer * The inventiveness and intelligence of Millhauser's writing has been well noted and the new works don't disappoint. In stately, almost formal prose that belies playfulness, often writing as 'we,' . . . Millhauser juxtaposes suburban idyll and anxiety in probing examinations of the human condition. Any library that takes short fiction seriously should have this. * Booklist * Focusing on offbeat subjects like magicians, knife throwers and Borgesian museums, working in an elegant, plainspoken style, Millhauser conjures ordinary worlds that are stalked by strangeness. Blending the eerie and the true is his hallmark; at every turn he reminds us of how eager we are for a sense of magic in our lives. * Minneapolis Star Tribune * Intense . . . richly detailed . . . a dark modern master of the short story mixes new work and old favorites. The Pulitzer Prize winner specializes in building dark, dramatic tension, at his best evoking protogothic horror. . . . Millhauser weaves highly engaging and relatable stories about the uneasiness of our lives and our culture, combining the mysterious and dreadful to the deep claustrophobia of our own guilty consciences. . . Gorgeous. -- Josh Davis * Time Out New York * Exquisite . . . I'm a Steven Millhauser fan. This kind of a book is a story-writer's crown . . . a career capstone on behalf of writer good enough to receive the honor. That Millhauser is a quiet, enigmatic master of the medium-long-to-long story; that his characteristic method mingles dreamlike and often morbid or perverse fantasies with meticulous realist observation; that his prose temperature is coolly feverish, drawing equally on Nabokovian rapture, Borgesian enigma and the plain-spoken white-picket-fence wistfulness of Sherwood Anderson; that he writes about magicians and inventors in stories that are themselves presto-chango contraptions; that he peppers his largely well-mannered dream worlds with little salacious uprisings, luscious peeps into the sexy-mermaid part of his imagination's carnival: these things I've said going in. But Millhauser's also protean. Although his stories have much in common only with themselves, he seems to demand fresh terms of himself for each project he begins. . . . Three of the new stories [in We Others] have an amplitude that makes them real advances in Millhauser's art, but they're also terrific lenses for gazing at the selection that follows. . . . The title novella is a painstakingly gradual grown-up ghost story that makes explicit Millhauser's allegiance to the tradition of Henry James. [He] is the master of what might be called the Homeopathic School of Fantastic Writing: just the barest tincture of strangeness, eyedropped into the body of an otherwise mimetic story. The payoff for this can be a reader's intensified complicity: a sensation of slippage into the unreal, just as we know it ourselves from our dreams and fantasies. The effect is often also deeply mournful . . . The opening story is my favorite among the new offerings . . . it is a mirror of unprecedented ungenerosity: it shows us only ourselves. . . . Devastating . . .Suggestive . . . Brave and inspired. -- Jonathan Lethem * New York Times Book Review *

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