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Nothing right : short stories /
Antonya Nelson.
edition
1st U.S. ed.
imprint
New York : Bloomsbury USA : Distributed to the trade by Macmillan, 2008.
description
296 p.
ISBN
1596915749 (hardcover : alk. paper), 9781596915749 (hardcover : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York : Bloomsbury USA : Distributed to the trade by Macmillan, 2008.
isbn
1596915749 (hardcover : alk. paper)
9781596915749 (hardcover : alk. paper)
contents note
Nothing right tin house -- Party of one New Yorker -- O.B.O. tin house -- Falsetto glimmer train -- Kansas New Yorker -- Biodegradable epoch -- D.W.I. sonora review -- Shauntrelle New Yorker -- Or else New Yorker.
catalogue key
6770530
A Look Inside
Awards
This item was nominated for the following awards:
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2008-12-01:
In this powerful collection of 11 short stories, Nelson's brilliantly constructed characters negotiate love, family, home and truth. Nelson consistently pays exquisite attention to detail, resulting in rich, vivid characters and settings. In "OBO," a family is gathered together for the holidays, their day reflected in the items on the kitchen table: "sparkling glitter that stuck in the syrup... then later... came the peanuts and poker chips and whiskey." In "Kansas," a wife's pregnancy ("a weapon he could plant like a bomb") keeps an unhappy marriage alive. In "Party of One," a woman secretly suffering from cancer meets her sister's adulterous lover in a bar to put an end to the relationship. While most of the stories in this collection have been previously published (many in the New Yorker), two are new: "We and They" and "People People." Nelson writes with wonderful grace and skill, each word carefully chosen, each passage carefully constructed. This beautiful collection is another remarkable accomplishment for a writer often hailed as one of our most talented storytellers. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Appeared in Library Journal on 2008-12-01:
Mothers excuse the inexcusable, sisters defend the indefensible, and spouses orbit each other like off-kilter planets in this delightfully messy collection of short stories about contemporary family relationships. A recent recipient of the Rea Award for short fiction, Nelson (Living To Tell) gives readers plenty to ponder as her frequently baffled characters struggle to make sense of the circumstances in which they find themselves. Settings are uniformly bleak; while many of the stories take place in Kansas, the physical location serves primarily as a reflection of the characters' emotional landscapes. Readers who relish conflict will burn through the pages as the disasters pile up, while those who appreciate well-rounded characters will be impressed with the variety of responses to said disasters, which reveal just how strong, flexible, and adaptable human beings can be under pressure (see especially "Kansas" and "Biodegradable"). This weary hymn to coping with life's cruelties is a tour de force, recommended for all but the smallest short story collections.-Leigh Anne Vrabel, Carnegie Lib. of Pittsburgh (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Nelson's prose isprecise and energetic, and her insights delight because they manage to be at once surprising and so right as to seem inevitable." New York Times Book Review "Nelson's great gift is her ability to create characters so lovable even in the face of their many flawsthat we will happily trail each one around for a while, scarcely caring if they are wrestling with a life-threatening crisis or taking the dog for a walk." Village Voice "I scan the tables of contents of magazines, looking for Antonya Nelson's name, hoping that she has decided to bless us again. She'sabsolutely one of my favoritesamong story writers today, and I envy the reader who has yet to discover her work." Michael Chabon "Nelson hasa pitch-perfect earfor the rhythms and unspoken subtexts of domestic life, and especially for the ways a family balances old grudges with the need to practice forgiveness." Francine Prose "Any lover of realistic narrative fiction about actual and unglamorous people will be greatly rewarded by the work of Antonya Nelson.Her voice is sure, her wit is quick, her observations continually resonate andher honesty is unwavering." Dave Eggers "We see clearly what it is that the best young writers have to offera kind ofpizzazz, the love of undercurrent, of voyeuristic intensity, a bewildered fascination with ritual as it has been undermined in our time, yet sustained, too, in an oddly moving way." Raymond Carver "I've been a Toni fan ever since I read a story of hers called 'The Salad' on my second or third day of graduate school.I read her newest collection so fast the pages are singed." David Foster Wallace
"Nelson's prose isprecise and energetic, and her insights delight because they manage to be at once surprising and so right as to seem inevitable." New York Times Book Review"Nelson's great gift is her ability to create characters so lovable even in the face of their many flawsthat we will happily trail each one around for a while, scarcely caring if they are wrestling with a life-threatening crisis or taking the dog for a walk." Village Voice "I scan the tables of contents of magazines, looking for Antonya Nelson's name, hoping that she has decided to bless us again. She'sabsolutely one of my favoritesamong story writers today, and I envy the reader who has yet to discover her work." Michael Chabon"Nelson hasa pitch-perfect earfor the rhythms and unspoken subtexts of domestic life, and especially for the ways a family balances old grudges with the need to practice forgiveness." Francine Prose"Any lover of realistic narrative fiction about actual and unglamorous people will be greatly rewarded by the work of Antonya Nelson.Her voice is sure, her wit is quick, her observations continually resonate andher honesty is unwavering." Dave Eggers"We see clearly what it is that the best young writers have to offera kind ofpizzazz, the love of undercurrent, of voyeuristic intensity, a bewildered fascination with ritual as it has been undermined in our time, yet sustained, too, in an oddly moving way." Raymond Carver"I've been a Toni fan ever since I read a story of hers called 'The Salad' on my second or third day of graduate school.I read her newest collection so fast the pages are singed." David Foster Wallace
Praise forNothing Right "Nelson, an astute observer of everyday conflicts, has skillfully mapped out life in this unforgettable collection, and sooner or later a reader will run into herself in a story, the character's troubles as real as the reader's own. Still, even more wonder comes when one realizes that Nelson, witty yet sympathetic, articulates our pains and troubles better than we do. Could it be that she knows us better than we know ourselves?" -San Francisco Chronicle "I don't know how I missed the extensively published and acclaimed writer Antonya Nelson, but I'm glad my first encounter was this collection of short stories. They are funny in a dark, subterranean way, gracefully told, and populated by characters you wouldn't want to know but already know intimately... These difficult characters... may seem impossible to like, but because of Nelson's fluid skill and insight, you end up caring about them all." Bust "Nelson never chafes against the limitations of her chosen form, the realistic, well-made story. It's the ideal medium for a writer who isn't afraid to remind us of the familiar, who values insight over epiphany." -New York Times Book Review "Those wondering whether the spirit of bohemian anarchy endures in today's hunkered-down Red America need look only as far as the marvelously reliable Wichita, Kansas native Antonya Nelson's latest story collection,Nothing Right... Nelson delivers convincing portraits11 of them hereof folks who are alarmingly drinking-positive, more than a little familiar with illicit drugs, and all too conversant in the language of infidelity...Sordid, cynical, and supremely romantic tales."-Elle "Stellar... never has anxiety been made as entertaining as it is here. Nelson deploys a quirky, far-reaching humor and resonant detail to describe both the quiet and not-so-quiet implosions of midwestern families as they attempt to cope with contemporary life.... Nelson is in complete command of her material here, infusing her stories with just the right shades of poignancy, humor, and heartbreak." Booklist, starred review "In this powerful collection of 11 short stories, Nelson's brilliantly constructed characters negotiate love, family, home and truth. Nelson consistently pays exquisite attention to detail, resulting in rich, vivid characters and settings... Nelson writes with wonderful grace and skill, each word carefully chosen, each passage carefully constructed. This beautiful collection is another remarkable accomplishment for awriter often hailed as one of our most talented storytellers." Publishers Weekly, starred review "The settings are Western and middle-middle class, but the characters defy stereotype... Nelson is at her best creating densely packed, almost novel-like family mini-sagas." Kirkus "Delightfully messy...Nelson gives readers plenty to ponder as her frequently baffled characters struggle to make sense of the circumstances in which they find themselves...Readers who relish conflict will burn through the pages as the disasters pile up, while those who appreciate well-rounded characters will be impressed with the variety of responses to said disasters, which reveal just how strong, flexible, and adaptable human beings can be under pressure. This weary hymn to coping with life's cruelties is a tour de force." Library Journal, starred review Praise for Antonya Nelson<
Praise forNothing Right "Stellar... never has anxiety been made as entertaining as it is here. Nelson deploys a quirky, far-reaching humor and resonant detail to describe both the quiet and not-so-quiet implosions of midwestern families as they attempt to cope with contemporary life.... Nelson is in complete command of her material here, infusing her stories with just the right shades of poignancy, humor, and heartbreak." Booklist, starred review "In this powerful collection of 11 short stories, Nelson's brilliantly constructed characters negotiate love, family, home and truth. Nelson consistently pays exquisite attention to detail, resulting in rich, vivid characters and settings... Nelson writes with wonderful grace and skill, each word carefully chosen, each passage carefully constructed. This beautiful collection is another remarkable accomplishment for awriter often hailed as one of our most talented storytellers." Publishers Weekly, starred review "The settings are Western and middle-middle class, but the characters defy stereotype... Nelson is at her best creating densely packed, almost novel-like family mini-sagas." Kirkus "Delightfully messy...Nelson gives readers plenty to ponder as her frequently baffled characters struggle to make sense of the circumstances in which they find themselves...Readers who relish conflict will burn through the pages as the disasters pile up, while those who appreciate well-rounded characters will be impressed with the variety of responses to said disasters, which reveal just how strong, flexible, and adaptable human beings can be under pressure. This weary hymn to coping with life's cruelties is a tour de force." Library Journal, starred review Praise for Antonya Nelson "Nelson's prose is precise and energetic, and her insights delight because they manage to be at once surprising and so right as to seem inevitable." New York Times Book Review"Nelson's great gift is her ability to create characters so lovable even in the face of their many flawsthat we will happily trail each one around for a while, scarcely caring if they are wrestling with a life-threatening crisis or taking the dog for a walk." Village Voice "I scan the tables of contents of magazines, looking for Antonya Nelson's name, hoping that she has decided to bless us again. She's absolutely one of my favorites among story writers today, and I envy the reader who has yet to discover her work." Michael Chabon"Nelson has a pitch-perfect ear for the rhythms and unspoken subtexts of domestic life, and especially for the ways a family balances old grudges with the need to practice forgiveness." Francine Prose"Any lover of realistic narrative fiction about actual and unglamorous people will be greatly rewarded by the work of Antonya Nelson. Her voice is sure, her wit is quick, her observations continually resonate and her honesty is unwavering." Dave Eggers"We see clearly what it is that the best young writers have to offera kind of pizzazz, the love of undercurrent, of voyeuristic intensity, a bewildered fascination with ritual as it has been undermined in our time, yet sustained, too, in an oddly moving way." Raymond Carver"I've been a Toni fan ever since I read a story of hers called 'The Salad' on my second or third day of graduate school.
Praise forNothing Right"The settings are Western and middle-middle class, but the characters defy stereotype... Nelson is at her best creating densely packed, almost novel-like family mini-sagas." Kirkus Praise for Antonya Nelson "Nelson's prose isprecise and energetic, and her insights delight because they manage to be at once surprising and so right as to seem inevitable." New York Times Book Review"Nelson's great gift is her ability to create characters so lovable even in the face of their many flawsthat we will happily trail each one around for a while, scarcely caring if they are wrestling with a life-threatening crisis or taking the dog for a walk." Village Voice "I scan the tables of contents of magazines, looking for Antonya Nelson's name, hoping that she has decided to bless us again. She'sabsolutely one of my favoritesamong story writers today, and I envy the reader who has yet to discover her work." Michael Chabon"Nelson hasa pitch-perfect earfor the rhythms and unspoken subtexts of domestic life, and especially for the ways a family balances old grudges with the need to practice forgiveness." Francine Prose"Any lover of realistic narrative fiction about actual and unglamorous people will be greatly rewarded by the work of Antonya Nelson.Her voice is sure, her wit is quick, her observations continually resonate andher honesty is unwavering." Dave Eggers"We see clearly what it is that the best young writers have to offera kind ofpizzazz, the love of undercurrent, of voyeuristic intensity, a bewildered fascination with ritual as it has been undermined in our time, yet sustained, too, in an oddly moving way." Raymond Carver"I've been a Toni fan ever since I read a story of hers called 'The Salad' on my second or third day of graduate school.I read her newest collection so fast the pages are singed." David Foster Wallace
"Vintage Nelson: It's full of contrarian views of modern life, swift eviscerations of simpering morality, the complicated love between parents and children, brinkmanship with psychosis and everyday breakdowns, a culture that makes adolescents of us all, a lot of alcohol and a smattering of infidelity" --Los Angeles Times "Nelson, an astute observer of everyday conflicts, has skillfully mapped out life in this unforgettable collection, and sooner or later a reader will run into herself in a story, the character's troubles as real as the reader's own. Still, even more wonder comes when one realizes that Nelson, witty yet sympathetic, articulates our pains and troubles better than we do. Could it be that she knows us better than we know ourselves?" San Francisco Chronicle "Nelson has always possessed superb craft as a writer. Her stories are shapely and precise; they move through scenes seamlessly. "Nothing Right" has taken her into deeper waters, though. Heartbreak, here, isn't enough. Most of these characters have been there before. They know better. Revealing them on the cusp of such self-knowledge, Nelson has brought her characters into a whole new age. They know the tough choices they have to make; somehow, none of them feels right."--Newark Star-Ledger "In this powerful collection of 11 short stories, Nelson's brilliantly constructed characters negotiate love, family, home and truth. Nelson consistently pays exquisite attention to detail, resulting in rich, vivid characters and settings...Nelson writes with wonderful grace and skill, each word carefully chosen, each passage carefully constructed. This beautiful collection is another remarkable accomplishment for a writer often hailed as one of our most talented storytellers."Publishers Weekly, starred review"Those wondering whether the spirit of bohemian anarchy endures in today's hunkered-down Red America need look only as far as the marvelously reliable Wichita, Kansas, native Antonya Nelson's latest story collection,Nothing Right...Nelson delivers convincing portraits11 of them hereof folk who are alarmingly drinking-positive, more than a little familiar with illicit drugs, and all too conversant in the language of infidelity...Sordid, cynical, and supremely romantic tales."-Elle"Stellar... never has anxiety been made as entertaining as it is here. Nelson deploys a quirky, far-reaching humor and resonant detail to describe both the quiet and not-so-quiet implosions of midwestern families as they attempt to cope with contemporary life.... Nelson is in complete command of her material here, infusing her stories with just the right shades of poignancy, humor, and heartbreak." Booklist, starred review"Nelson is at her best creating densely packed, almost novel-like family mini-sagas." Kirkus"Delightfully messy...Nelson gives readers plenty to ponder as her frequently baffled characters struggle to make sense of the circumstances in which they find themselves...Readers who relish conflict will burn through the pages as the disasters pile up, while those who appreciate well-rounded characters will be impressed with the variety of responses to said disasters, which reveal just how strong, flexible, and adaptable human beings can be under pressure (see especially "Kansas" and "Biodegradable"). This weary hymn to coping with life's cruelties is a tour de force." Library Journal"Nelson never chafes a
"Vintage Nelson: It''s full of contrarian views of modern life, swift eviscerations of simpering morality, the complicated love between parents and children, brinkmanship with psychosis and everyday breakdowns, a culture that makes adolescents of us all, a lot of alcohol and a smattering of infidelity" -- Los Angeles Times "Nelson, an astute observer of everyday conflicts, has skillfully mapped out life in this unforgettable collection, and sooner or later a reader will run into herself in a story, the character''s troubles as real as the reader''s own. Still, even more wonder comes when one realizes that Nelson, witty yet sympathetic, articulates our pains and troubles better than we do. Could it be that she knows us better than we know ourselves?" San Francisco Chronicle "Nelson has always possessed superb craft as a writer. Her stories are shapely and precise; they move through scenes seamlessly. "Nothing Right" has taken her into deeper waters, though. Heartbreak, here, isn''t enough. Most of these characters have been there before. They know better. Revealing them on the cusp of such self-knowledge, Nelson has brought her characters into a whole new age. They know the tough choices they have to make; somehow, none of them feels right." -- Newark Star-Ledger "In this powerful collection of 11 short stories, Nelson's brilliantly constructed characters negotiate love, family, home and truth. Nelson consistently pays exquisite attention to detail, resulting in rich, vivid characters and settings...Nelson writes with wonderful grace and skill, each word carefully chosen, each passage carefully constructed. This beautiful collection is another remarkable accomplishment for a writer often hailed as one of our most talented storytellers." Publishers Weekly, starred review "Those wondering whether the spirit of bohemian anarchy endures in today's hunkered-down Red America need look only as far as the marvelously reliable Wichita, Kansas, native Antonya Nelson's latest story collection, Nothing Right...Nelson delivers convincing portraits11 of them hereof folk who are alarmingly drinking-positive, more than a little familiar with illicit drugs, and all too conversant in the language of infidelity...Sordid, cynical, and supremely romantic tales."- Elle "Stellar... never has anxiety been made as entertaining as it is here. Nelson deploys a quirky, far-reaching humor and resonant detail to describe both the quiet and not-so-quiet implosions of midwestern families as they attempt to cope with contemporary life.... Nelson is in complete command of her material here, infusing her stories with just the right shades of poignancy, humor, and heartbreak." Booklist, starred review "Nelson is at her best creating densely packed, almost novel-like family mini-sagas." Kirkus "Delightfully messy...Nelson gives readers plenty to ponder as her frequently baffled characters struggle to make sense of the circumstances in which they find themselves...Readers who relish conflict will burn through the pages as the disasters pile up, while those who appreciate well-rounded characters will be impressed with the variety of responses to said disasters, which reveal just how strong, flexible, and adaptable human beings can be under pressure (see especially "Kansas" and "Biodegradable"). This weary hymn to coping with life''s cruelties is a tour de force." Library Journal "Nelson never chafes against the limitations of her chosen form, the realistic well-made story. It's the ideal medium for a writer who isn't afraid to remind us of the familiar, who values insight over epiphany." New York Times Book Review "Wonderful... Slow down and savor every page, because the characters are vivid and flawed and achingly real, the humor suitably grim, and the undertones of loss almost palpable... Nelson''s insight and language are...simply gorgeous. There is not a single thing wrong with Nothing Right" -- Boston Globe "I don't know how I missed the extensively published and acclaimed writer Antonya Nelson, but I'm glad my first encounter was this collection of short stories. They are funny in a dark, subterranean way, gracefully told, and populated by characters you wouldn't want to know but already know intimately... These difficult characters... may seem impossible to like, but because of Nelson's fluid skill and insight, you end up caring about them all." Bust "You have only to read Antonya Nelson''s new story collection, Nothing Right, to appreciate her talent.... Nelson, unlike so many writers today, is not serving up magic realism in her stories. Her magic, in fact, is their powerful realism: deeply understood, beautifully expressed." Hartford Courant "Antonya Nelson's Nothing Right [targets] the romantic poseurs in all of us." Vogue "Delightfully messy...Nelson gives readers plenty to ponder as her frequently baffled characters struggle to make sense of the circumstances in which they find themselves...Readers who relish conflict will burn through the pages as the disasters pile up, while those who appreciate well-rounded characters will be impressed with the variety of responses to said disasters, which reveal just how strong, flexible, and adaptable human beings can be under pressure (see especially "Kansas" and "Biodegradable"). This weary hymn to coping with life''s cruelties is a tour de force." -- Library Journal, starred review
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, December 2008
Publishers Weekly, December 2008
Booklist, January 2009
New York Times Book Review, February 2009
San Francisco Chronicle, February 2009
Boston Globe, March 2009
Los Angeles Times, March 2009
New York Times Full Text Review, October 2009
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
A collection of stories from one of theNew Yorker's "twenty young fiction writers of the new millennium," a series of unforgettable glimpses into contemporary family life.Set in the American Southwest, and featuring one previously unpublished story,Nothing Rightshows one of our best writers working at the top of her game. Antonya Nelson's stories are masterpieces: poignant, hilarious, truthful explorations of domesticity.The artfully rendered characters inNothing Righttry to keep themselves intact as their personal lives explode around them. A mother and her teenage son finally find common ground when his girlfriend becomes pregnant. A woman leaves her husband and finds herself living with a stranger who is getting extensive plastic surgery while her best friend is dying of cancer. In "Or Else," one of three short stories nominated for a National Magazine Award for theNew Yorker, a man brings his girlfriend to a house he claims belongs to his family, only to have his lie exposed when one of the real owners comes home to scatter her father's ashes.These stories are sure to delight longtime fans and readers lucky enough to be just discovering Antonya Nelson.
Main Description
A collection of stories from one of the New Yorker's "twenty young fiction writers of the new millennium," a series of unforgettable glimpses into contemporary family life.Set in the American Southwest, and featuring one previously unpublished story, Nothing Rightshows one of our best writers working at the top of her game. Antonya Nelson's stories are masterpieces: poignant, hilarious, truthful explorations of domesticity.The artfully rendered characters in Nothing Righttry to keep themselves intact as their personal lives explode around them. A mother and her teenage son finally find common ground when his girlfriend becomes pregnant. A woman leaves her husband and finds herself living with a stranger who is getting extensive plastic surgery while her best friend is dying of cancer. In "Or Else," one of three short stories nominated for a National Magazine Award for the New Yorker, a man brings his girlfriend to a house he claims belongs to his family, only to have his lie exposed when one of the real owners comes home to scatter her father's ashes.These stories are sure to delight longtime fans and readers lucky enough to be just discovering Antonya Nelson.
Main Description
Set in the American Southwest, and including one previously unpublished story, "Nothing Right" features poignant, hilarious, truthful explorations of domesticity and characters who try to keep themselves intact as their personal lives explode around them.

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