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A Bunch of Fives Paperback – 3 May 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Classics (3 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099561573
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099561576
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.8 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 237,134 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"This is an outstanding collection of stories-the product of a new, original voice" (Hilary Mantel reviewing 'Four Bare Legs in a Bed')

"Of all contemporary writers, Simpson has the most honest, the most authentic voice... [Her] unfooled but kind eye is matched by her ear for the ebb and flow of everyday talk. But she does more than just record: every word rings true. Dear George shimmers with grace and savagery and wit" (Nigella Lawson)

"A stunner of a collection" (Jonathan Franzen reviewing 'Hey Yeah Right Get a Life' New York Times Book Review)

"A masterful contemporary exponent of the genre. Simpson now deserves to be compared with Flannery O'Connor and Alice Munro" (Robert McCrum reviewing 'Constitutional' Observer)

"Short stories are notoriously difficult to sell, but even people who don't care for the form make an exception for the work of Helen Simpson...Wickedly funny and painfully true...Dangerously close to perfection" (Kate Saunders reviewing 'In-Flight Entertainment' The Times)

Book Description

'Lorrie Moore with a BBC accent' Jay McInerney

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Sam Quixote TOP 50 REVIEWER on 2 May 2012
Format: Paperback
This isn't a new book by Helen Simpson, it's a "best of" collection of stories culled from her previous books: Four Bare Legs in a Bed, Dear George, Hey Yeah Right Get a Life, Constitutional, and In-Flight Entertainment.

For anyone who enjoys short stories and doesn't know which book to pick, this is a good place to get a taste of Simpson's writing as well as some of her best work. "Diary of an Interesting Year" and "Festival of the Immortals" are particularly good, the former being about a woman surviving in a post-major climate change catastrophe world and the latter being a literary festival full of all the great writers of history, as if they never died!

Helen Simpson is an excellent short story writer and I recommend her books, but for anyone looking for a new book by her, there is no new material here.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By William Jordan on 23 Jun. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Five stories from each of five collections from Helen Simpson.

I'd read just a couple of Helen Simpson's stories in anthologies prior to this 'best of', so this was very nearly all new to me. I found myself enjoying this more and more as I felt Simpson got into her stride in a subject matter - notably women with small and school age children not much covered in anything else I've read, and vividly rendered here - and in a way that provokes thought. I enjoyed most the stories from Yeah Right Get A Life, particularly Burns and the Bankers, which deals with a large work dinner at a ballroom style venue in a large hotel - also a subject matter I can't recollect being tackled in anything else I've read, and a very effective study of work/life balance issues, among much else. The excerpts from the fourth collection are all stories that touch on death, however - something of a surprise - and some of those from the fifth touch on climate change. Perhaps these too are little worked and interesting themes, but I tended to find them less gripping on the whole...

The introduction by the author is interesting - on why she writes short stories when novels sell better - and pointing out that her collections are all in print and many of her stories translated and have for example been dramatised on Radio 4 well after their first appearance. And undoubted success, then - and indeed, this is probably an excellent introduction to and cross-section of her work. I just think for me, perhaps one of the actual collections might have served my purposes better.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A wonderful collection of Helen Simpson's own favourite short stories over the years- she selected the bunch of fives. They are witty,fluently writen and often very funny. They should appeal particularly to women at all stages of their lives.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Elley G on 13 Mar. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A varied selection of 25 brilliantly written,longish short stories, some very funny, some sad, many both at the same time. Perfect for reading on a train journey, on holiday or before going to sleep
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ms. S. J. Rolph on 9 Aug. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was pleased with all aspects of this purchase: the product arrived promptly and was in excellent condition and met my expectations.
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