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Do Not Deny Me: Stories

Tekijä: Jean Thompson

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioKeskustelut
993277,328 (3.53)-
"Do Not Deny Me is a fictional primer of how Americans live day to day: Thompson's characters -- a middle manager in the midst of a midlife crisis, an urban single visiting her best friend turned suburban mother, a grieving woman looking for guidance -- are instantly recognizable in their predicaments, foibles, and sensibilities."--Cover.… (lisätietoja)

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näyttää 3/3
This collection was my first exposure to Jean Thompson, but after reading this and several other of her books, she's become one of my favorite authors.

Thompson's stories are about real, believable people, portrayed with great insight and sensitivity. Usually these people are in some extreme situation, whether physical (a stroke victim trapped in a hate-filled relationship with his wife and caretaker), or internal/existential (a successful middle aged executive who builds an elaborate treehouse as solace and escape from a life that he suddenly finds painfully empty).

Another reviewer characterized the stories in this book as dark and negative. I disagree, but certainly not in the sense of finding them simple-mindedly uplifting. Thompson's best stories are both dark _and_ uplifting. Her characters struggle, make mistakes, fumble their way through life, have un-noble thoughts and feelings, but they don't give up.

That said, I felt that the real pleasure to be found in these stories was not in either joyful uplift or gritty darkness, but more in the precision and artistry with which she portrays her characters. She creates characters that are recognizable and realistic, but who will also surprise you and teach you something about what it feels like to be alive and in the world and human. ( )
  KarlBunker | Apr 7, 2014 |
My favorite, "Liberty Tax," was the first-person tale of a woman whose husband had lost his job. She slowly realizes he is up to some illegal moneymaking scheme. She is accosted by an FBI agents (or are they?) in odd places. In the end, we find she wasn't being wholly truthful with her husband either.

If there is a thread to Thompson's stories, I think, it's that characters are very ordinary people, people that have just hauled themselves up to the middle class. Another thread: other people are so ... elusive, beyond knowing, even one's spouse or child.

Also like "Little Brown Bird," the one about the woman of retirement age, a seamstress with the husband at home always up to some bothersome renovation work. She is observing this family--or makeshift family--next door, trying to figure out the relationships. She takes the little girl under her wing, teaches her about quilt-making, tries to find out more about her household. Is her father abusive? We'll never know, never come close to certainty. Isn't that has it usually is? You get a suspicion, an odd feeling about someone that you can't explain, the friend that is suddenly not your friend ... and it will never be clear.

We get the perspective of a DIY man in "Treehouse," in which the man himself doesn't know why he feels compelled to build a treehouse.

Aside from the one with the psychic, unknowability gets most explicit in "How We Brought the Good News" in which a young woman wannabe eco-tourist in New York (I think), feuding with her blank of a lover, hunts down the whereabouts of the ((Indian) artist whose work is in her restaurant/gallery workplace. Not that she finds the man himself.

Almost forgot another favorite, "Her Untold Story," in which a divorced woman goes out on a date found via an online dating site. Hasn't this plot been done to death? I was thinking. It turns out to be someone, an envious nobody, from her high school days. (Having just seen Young Adult, I couldn't help thinking of characters in that.). And she's still someone, if not a blond glamour girl, that someone envies. ( )
  Periodista | Jun 21, 2012 |
I don’t read many short stories, but I thought this collection was really good. I think what is most compelling about it is that each story was something that could happen to you, or to someone you know. There’s nothing extraordinary here, just people dealing with their lives. Funnily enough, the one story I didn’t enjoy was the one that shared the collection title "Do Not Deny Me", which had a psychic bent to it. She even brings things full circle a bit, with the final story showing a different side of a character in one of the first ones. Even if you’re not a short story reader, there’s a lot to like here. ( )
  miyurose | Jul 16, 2009 |
näyttää 3/3
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"Do Not Deny Me is a fictional primer of how Americans live day to day: Thompson's characters -- a middle manager in the midst of a midlife crisis, an urban single visiting her best friend turned suburban mother, a grieving woman looking for guidance -- are instantly recognizable in their predicaments, foibles, and sensibilities."--Cover.

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