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29 Ways to Drown [Paperback]

Niki Aguirre
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.84
Price: 8.82 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

25 Oct 2007
From an incredible new talent come ten stories that fizz with the irreverence of ZZ Packer, the time-bending antics of Borges, the layered mystery of Alice Munro and whiffs of Marquez's surrealism. Influenced by a Latin American literary tradition steeped in magic realism, but embracing a personal history that has included living in Chicago, Cadiz, Guayaquil and London, Niki Aguirre's fiction conveys a gritty, often scientifically-sophisticated, world with a haze of surrealism: shamans parade the pages side-by-side with lovesick film buffs, papers and humans fly at will, and intellectual and professional quests lead to self-destruction. Whether it's a boy trapped at age fourteen after a botched attempt to capture time in a capsule, an organic seed distributor entrapping an errant lover with a replica pre-Columbian Aztec artifact bought in Chicago, or a woman attempting to drown herself in a water aerobics class in London, the stories in 29 Ways to Drown grip by their absolute logic and the sheer absurdity of the inevitable truths they attempt to unravel. Latin America has always had its literary fiction heroes, but not many have come from Ecuador; based on the quality of Niki Aguirre's assured début, it has been worth the wait.

Product details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Lubin & Kleyner (25 Oct 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0954157028
  • ISBN-13: 978-0954157029
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 13 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,513,505 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

NIKI AGUIRRE is a London based fiction writer. She was born in the United States and has lived in Ecuador, Spain and the UK. She studied English Literature at the University of Illinois and holds an MA in Creative Writing from the University of London.

Her stories have appeared in numerous publications, including Tell Tales, LITRO and Pen International Magazine.

TERMINAL ROMANCE is Aguirre's second collection of short fiction.

Please visit www.nikiaguirre.com for more information.

Product Description

Review

Niki Aguirre is that rarest of writers, one who possesses an exuberant imagination, but who also casts a devastatingly sharp eye on human reality. --Laila Lalami, author of Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits

Mixing the passion of autobiographical honesty with a mystical sense of universal magic, Niki Aguirre brings her literary world to vivid life. The characters haunt and intrigue... Her exquisite tales resonate long after the last page... --Courttia Newland; author of The Scholar, Society Within and Snakeskin

The territorial explorations of Aguirre are more Calvino than Theroux. In Aguirre's fiction, we discover a uniquely mature imagination sharing secrets, oaths, threats, platitudes, pleas, fables and warnings that could have emerged from Gogol, Borges, Paley, Carver or Singer. Aguirre's imagination is beautifully served by her technical virtuosity and lyrical precision which craft unforgettable characters, dialogue ranging from the tragically inarticulate to the magically illuminating, and narrative structures worthy of Poe, Kafka, Atwood or Nabokov. --Lauri Ramey, California State University, Los Angeles

About the Author

Niki Aguirre born in the United States to Ecuadorian parents and spent her childhood between Chicago and Guayaquil. She lived in Spain in her late teens and eventually moved to London where she resides with her husband. She studied English Literature at The University of Illinois and holds an MA in Creative Writing from The University of London. Twenty Nine Ways to Drown is her first collection of short fiction.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars worth drowning for 4 April 2008
Format:Paperback
One thing I love about stories is being taken to places I wouldn't otherwise be able to reach. This is a collection that definitely does that. '29 ways to Drown' is story-telling at its most imaginative and surprising. I would recommend it to anyone who reads to travel and to escape, but also warn you that it's not so easy to escape. These tales have a strange way of drawing you in and holding you trapped, the way good cinema does when your eyes are fixed on the screen and everything else around is dark. Maybe that's the drowning effect. But for those of you feeling this sounds intense, there is also a lot of humour in the writing. Combining magic realism with her own modern slice of wanderlust, Niki Aguirre has given us something fresh and exciting that I haven't seen anywhere else.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Chris
Format:Paperback
"One summer evening, in the middle of the night, my grandfather, Luis Alberto Ibarra, sent for his seven offspring and prepared to dispatch them to the hereafter with a Colt 45. This was their punishment, he said, as he lined up the children in order of height, for the misfortune of having a harlot for a mother." These are the first two sentences of "29 Ways to Drown", and they sucked me right into the first story, "Flight of the Blackbird". The great thing about a good short story is how it feels like its own small complete universe despite being, well, "short". There are 10 stories in the book:

Flight of the Blackbird: The story of a trapped woman's broken dreams and her escape;

Time Immemorial: A boy's experiment with a "time trap" leads to highly undesirable consequences;

Scaling Macchu Picchu: About relationships, friendships, and discovering what is important;

Solomon's Call: A story about an immigrant from Ecuador and how he realizes his dream against all odds;

The Shed: About a retired man obsessed with writing a novel...and how his wife quietly (and surprisingly) deals with it in her own way.

The Language of Trees: A mysterious story about an orphan girl who goes back to the village her mother left years ago (turning into a frightening fairytale step by step)

Two Percent: About family (trees) and a quest for identity with some surprising turns;

The Derailment of Anna K: An ambitious woman who is willing to do almost everything for her career has "cause to crush another slimy-twerp opponent" - her new boss.

The Little Man: A story about an uneven couple in a dysfunctional relationship, about jealousy, and about the wish to possess a human being.
Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 ways to beguile... 10 Dec 2007
Format:Paperback
Great set of stories. Some of the stories are possibly on the too short side, but always have proper plot development, and some surprising twists!
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2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed 14 Nov 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Although I enjoyed the first story in this collection I was disappointed with the rest. Sadly, for me, the rest of the stories didn't spark my interest and I found the dialogue somewhat wooden.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Give Me More 3 May 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The most wonderful aspect of this collection is that it leaves you both deeply satisfied and wanting more. Blending together a wide range of emotions and a sense of magic, every story has its own flavor, while the dysfunctional aspects of relationships are explored with both humor and insight. While a general Latin American theme holds it together there are surprising little stories, like The Shed, which take the reader on bizarre journeys in more familiar settings. The Language of Trees, my favorite, will stay with the reader for a long time as a beautiful mystery.
There are no clichés or embarrassing metaphors here; every story is truthful and honest and original.
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