Spectacle: Stories

Spectacle Stories In these innovative linked stories women confront loss and grief as they sift through the wreckage of their lives In the title story a woman struggles with the death of her friend in a plane crash A

  • Title: Spectacle: Stories
  • Author: Susan Steinberg
  • ISBN: 9781555976316
  • Page: 345
  • Format: Paperback
  • In these innovative linked stories, women confront loss and grief as they sift through the wreckage of their lives In the title story, a woman struggles with the death of her friend in a plane crash A daughter decides whether to take her father off life support in the Pushcart Prize winning Cowboys And in Underthings, when a man hits his girlfriend, she calls it anIn these innovative linked stories, women confront loss and grief as they sift through the wreckage of their lives In the title story, a woman struggles with the death of her friend in a plane crash A daughter decides whether to take her father off life support in the Pushcart Prize winning Cowboys And in Underthings, when a man hits his girlfriend, she calls it an accident Spectacle bears witness to alarming and strange incidents carnival rides and plane crashes, affairs spied through keyholes and amateur porn, vandalism and petty theft These wounded women stand at the edge of disaster and risk it all to speak their sharpest secrets.In lean, acrobatic prose, Susan Steinberg subverts assumptions about narrative and challenges conventional gender roles She delivers insight with a fierce lyric intensity in sentences shorn of excessive sentiment or unnecessary ornament By fusing style and story, Steinberg amplifies the connections between themes and characters so that each devastating revelation echoes throughout the collection A vital and turbulent book from a distinctive voice, Spectacle will break your heart, and then, before the last page is turned, will bind it up anew Experimental but never opaque, Steinberg s stories seethe with real and imagined menace Publishers Weekly A San Francisco Chronicle, Complex, Flavorwire, Vol 1 Brooklyn, Largehearted Boy and Slaughterhouse 90210 Best Book of the Year

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      Published :2018-09-07T14:09:26+00:00

    One thought on “Spectacle: Stories”

    1. My problem with Spectacle is that on the surface it appears to be a new form of literature that will challenge all of your notions about what the short story can do. But throughout her collection, Steinberg resorts to the same techniques repeatedly. I might not mind this if those techniques had some sort of zing or clear purpose, but for this reader those techniques felt merely whimsical, typed rather than written. I want my reading experiences to be truly singular, only available with that part [...]

    2. Ow.This book hurts. In fact, I started reading it months ago and had to put It down. But when I picked it up again I was so entranced by what Steinberg pulls off' and by her incantatory prose, that I couldn't put it down again until I'd read it through.The narrator of each of these twelve linked stories is a woman trying to explain her actions, trying to explain her life, trying to understand the connections between her young life and her present. The character is not always in the exact same st [...]

    3. Holy cow! I stayed at Vermont Studio Center with Susan a few years ago and she mentioned to me that we write about some of the same themes, but wow. This book really blew me away. I really enjoyed the use of anaphora, which created a tone as relentless as some of the difficult topics addressed in the stories. I just read a great blog post by Susan where she describes where she developed her aesthetic and her approaches to writing. You can read it here. I want to share some of my favorite moments [...]

    4. Imagine being trapped in Sartre's vision of Hell with a humor-leeched Lena Dunham and someone who imagines that Lockerbie was all about *her*—despite the fact that her connection to the event was peripheral at best. Now think what it would be like if the latter were a tiresome drunk who forced you to listen to the same grating Goldberg Variations (my dad sucks, my brother sucks, this is not a metaphor, sometimes it is a metaphor, I'm a bad girl, I'm a good girl, I'm a girl who pretends that I [...]

    5. I almost put this book down. I almost didn't finish reading it because it was strange. It was strange, and at times difficult to read. I'm so glad I finished it. The words read like poetry; there was a nice rhythm and cadence that, even though it was different than anything I'm used to, was lovely. This was probably one of the most honest things I've ever read. It was like I was reading thoughts as they came. It was so easy to relate to even though my life is nothing like hers.A good, interestin [...]

    6. Good riddance. It's all about style for me and I didn't like the style these stories were written in. It felt like ironing, but not in an editorial sort of way, in a tedious kind of way. "Susan wrote a book. Or rather, she worked on stories that comprised a book. I read the book. When I read the stories that comprised Susan's book, I felt used. Or rather, I felt abused. Abused by Susan. Or rather, I felt like my time was stolen. I hate my father. I'm a whore."I feel pretty disappointed, I expect [...]

    7. An amazingly good collection. Not a single weak link, and many of the stories are among the best I've read this year. Formal innovation with serious stakes. Nearly univocal: strong, new, textured. And the collection as a whole feels highly designed: meant as a book from the get-go rather than as a gathering of good stories. Marvelous.

    8. Susan Steinberg's Spectacle, is a spectacular collection of thematically- and stylistically-linked fictions, where the artifice of each construction is often engagingly commented on, and the semiotics of desire and representation are critically interrogated. Self-deprecations as well as witty and withering assessments of jerks in the vicious circle abound.

    9. hcn/issues/45.10/dont-REVIEW - From the June 10, 2013 High Country News issueSan Francisco-based writer Susan Steinberg experiments with form and structure as she examines the roles men and women play in her arresting story collection, Spectacle. "The woman," she writes, "is supposed to know the subtle difference between being a woman and performing one." An unnamed woman narrates these 13 first-person stories, revisiting certain touchstones -- her relationships with her brother and divorced par [...]

    10. I was excited to read this collection of stories that was widely reviewed as innovative and noteworthy. I made note going in that the narrative style was unusual and that it might seem disjointed at times. I appreciated Steinberg's somewhat experimental use of voice in the stories, but had I not read elsewhere that the stories were meant to be written from several points of view of different characters I never would have gotten that from the text itself. For the first few stories I found her sty [...]

    11. Spectacle by Susan Steinberg(released January 2013 / Graywolf Press)3 Stars - Stories for all stylesRead 4/8/13 - 4/14/13You can really never go wrong with a Graywolf Press title. Their short story collections always impress me and this one was incredibly interesting - Steinberg plays around with story structure here AND retells the same story multiple times throughout the collection. A trickster, this one!Though I totally got into it for the first few stories, I began to tire of the switching s [...]

    12. incredibly heartbreaking tales that seem too too autobiographical (though perhaps it's all made up) in the style of elizabeth crane You Must Be This Happy to Enter trinie dalton Wide Eyed and or lydia davis Varieties of Disturbance and even maybe shelia heti and lorrie moore. so good company no? but still, it almost physically hurt, these stories. author teaches in SF califa i think.

    13. Spectacle was a spectacular read. The stories written were somehow connected in the most bizarre ways known to mankind. Steinberg did an amazing job with the writing style. That was the best thing about this book. The way things were written aroused feelings of intense despondency within me. It was all so incredibly fascinating. The writing was poetic, sad and very, very different compared to what I have come across. Out of all the anthologies I have been able to get my hands on so far, Spectacl [...]

    14. Stylistically compelling, but not quite enough for me to sustain a collection. Would prefer to bump into these stories individually in lit mags; I think I needed something more to vary the experience. With the same cheeky voice juxtaposed, in very similar situations, it became a bit monotonous. Reading the first story, I thought, "Brilliant." Midway through I felt a slump.

    15. I was not particularly fond of this book. -Somewhat spoilers-----The stories, while each different, were from various woman basically in similar circumstances: life has gotten crazy in multiple ways, and generally sex , abuse, and/or substance abuse leads to more of lifes complications, all written in first-person perspective in a type of repetitive poetic style of sorts. It work's in a way as the repetitious ways helps push the emotion of each story on you, but again its like hearing the same l [...]

    16. Quick read. Overall enjoyed it. All the stories seemed connected, but also not. Recurring theme of girl with father issues, crashing plane, and not valuing herself enough when it comes to men.

    17. full-stop/2013/03/27/rReview by Adam BeaudoinThe back cover of Susan Steinberg’s new story collection Spectacle claims that “in these stories, wounded women stand at the edge of disaster and risk it all to speak their darkest secrets.” If they’re taking risks, the narrator doesn’t seem to care, and as a result, neither does the reader.The book’s characters, who in retrospect often seem to blend together, spend most of their time in a boring tailspin of liquor, drugs, and unfulfilling [...]

    18. I went through this book fast not because I loved it, but because for one, it was only 135 pages and for 2, I ended up skipping about half of the stories after reading the first page or so. It's interesting to see that a writer CAN break all of the rules, but I don't think it always works out so well. Every story that I started was in first person. I don't think there is anything bad about a story in first person, but when reading a collection I don't like to see it every single time. And much m [...]

    19. While this sort of work is way off my usual well-trodden path, it is compelling and insightful. Susan Steinberg twists language in some new ways, managing to use no words unfamiliar to an 8-year old or longer than 8 letters (well, a few). But there is no gimmickry here. Not that I would read this to an 8-year old, given the liberal use of the word fuck, not to mention all of the actual fucking and virtual fucking that takes place. I did read some of it to my 2-year old, though, as she awoke from [...]

    20. Clipped rhythm and repetition. First person voice-heavy stories. A lot of sentence fragments beginning with "To say ___." Stories with line breaks. Stories with a single pages-long paragraph of semicolon-separated sentences. A lot of sentence fragments starting with "Meaning ___." The style will seduce you or drive you mad. The characters will seduce you or drive you mad. That being the point, I think. Seamless jumps of topic and time from line to line. A collage is built and then collapses in o [...]

    21. In these stories, as the blurbs on the back suggest, style is all. There is often very little by way of story (by which I mean plot, but also something simpler, like dramatic incident) and the conflict is most often interior, both within the consciousnesses of the characters, and within the language itself. Interesting friction continually rises up between the sentences, so that the stories are forever revisiting and revising the earlier claims, sometimes to augment and expand the scenes, other [...]

    22. Dragged a few times, but the parts in between are what really matters. The parts where you read a passage and become so excited you keep scanning the same passage over and over, finding you love it more and more and wish you had the type of brain where you could commit such things to memory and pull them back out at the drop of a hat. I will have to settle for copying a bunch of these passages down where I can access them again and again.One such passage, from the story "Superstar":"It was then [...]

    23. There's a reason I like to record what I've read. The reason is that otherwise I lose track.It turns out I'd read Spectacle before. I don't know when, or in what context. I feel like I read it when I was reading books in the cedar scrub-land of Austin, Texas. I didn't though, because this book came out in 2013 and I left Texas in 2012.So, Spectacle is a book outside of time for me. I read it and realized I'd read it before, and that's okay. Maybe I'll read it again. Maybe I'm always reading it, [...]

    24. Give me a second. Because when I tell you that this book amazed me I have to explain why and I need a moment to figure out where the book becomes more than simple pleasure reading. I can tell you it doesn't happen in the form. Steinberg flouts every convention: she confuses her own meaning, she overuses the semicolon--on purpose!--she writes choppy narrative, she writes about things too personal for entertainment, etc. But it's all so gripping and I can't tell you why. Maybe her mantra-like pros [...]

    25. Powerful writing. Even though the insistence on trauma-related proference (yeah, detatchment+lightness here) lead sometimes to sentences such as "I am not the killer they want me to be. I am not the [xxxx] that I am supposed to be", of too a sensationalist taste for my taking them seriously. The end of the first story, for instance, overdoes solemnity and technique to the point of feeling articial. If you've read hundreds of short stories, you will feel tired now and them reading these, but stil [...]

    26. "A man I knew in Warrensburg, Missouri, a man I knew from the job I needed to quit, had been bitten by a brown recluse. He'd rolled over it one night in bed and got bitten in the ass. When he told me the story I laughed. I was like, Why were you naked? He was like, Wrong question. Because he was trying to tell me the bite dissolved the skin on his ass. Because he was trying to tell me that this just wasn't right.The technical term is necrotized.The point is I was not always serious.No, the point [...]

    27. I enjoyed this collection. I thought that the form was an interesting choice and I can't imagine these stories written any other way. Each story explores performance, performance of gender, parenthood, religion, sexuality and even performance of performance (a complexity that constantly stumped me and delighted me as I read the collection). I would highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys stories that focus more on emotion and image, rather than strict plot.

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