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Drinking Coffee Elsewhere Today [Hardcover]

ZZ Packer
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 2003
Teeming with life, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere is a collection that explores what it is to be human. Never neatly resolved, these provocative and unforgettable stories resonate with honesty and wry humour and introduce us to a major new talent.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Drinking Coffee Elsewhere Today + How to Breathe Underwater: Stories
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Books; Second Printing edition (May 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573222623
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573222624
  • Product Dimensions: 23.7 x 16.1 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,153,857 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

Review

"A dazzler of a debut...Packer's words sing and soar; her characters take possession of the narrative and pull the reader in. She can be exhilarating, hilarious and heartbreaking." Daily Mail; "I don't think I can remember where I last encountered a debut collection that so justified its existence, that buzzed with so much credibility and attitude... Here is a master at work." Julie Myerson, Guardian; "The kind of brilliance for narrative that should make her peers envious and her readers very, very grateful." Zadie Smith; "A writer to be reckoned with...her tales crackle with electric; energy...simultaneously slangy, elegant and graceful, this collection is seriously good." Eithne Farry, Elle; "Believe the Hype." Uncut" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

ZZ Packer is a recipient of a Whiting Writers' Award, a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award and was selected for the New Yorker's summer fiction debut issue in 2002. She was named one of Granta's Best of Young American Novelists in 2007, and her collection of stories, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, was a New York Times Notable Book and the winner of a Commonwealth Club Fiction award. A graduate of Yale, she has been a Wallace Stegner-Truman Capote fellow and a Jones lecturer at Stanford University. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, Harpers, the New York Times Magazine, the New York Times Book Review and Salon. She lives in the San Francisco Bay area. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Packer packs a punch 7 Jun 2004
By Is
Format:Hardcover
It's no surprise that they have got a Zadie Smith quote at the back of this book - ZZ Packer (cool name or what!) hasn't just got zeds in her name, she's also a young, black woman who has graduated from an elite university. But that's about it when it comes to similarities between the two of them. ZZ Packer writes tense little stories about people on the outskirts, and she's got that gift of making you believe in everything she tells you. I caught myself thinking "this must be autobiographical" during most of the stories - which is of course impossible, unless ZZ has been reincarnated as a whole bunch of people.
Normally, I wouldn't read short stories, but this book has made me change my mind. The different stories form a whole - they transmit an atmosphere of run-down West Coast US cities that is so real, it almost plays like a film.
The language is mostly straight-forward - she doesn't do all those sorts of twists and gimmicks that Dave Eggers or Jonathan Safran Foer or Zadie Smith (sorry, her again) play around with. It's far from being boring though: every so often, the language is shot through with spot-on metaphors or vivid imagery. The mini-storylines don't have a really clear structure and still they keep your interest throughout, which I thought was brilliant. I mean, life doesn't really have a clear-cut structure, does it? So why should stories about life do? The fact that ZZ doesn't hammer in her point makes it only more effective - you know, understatement rather than hyperbole.
The first story, about a girl-scout camp, is probably the most conventional one in the book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars read this now! 13 May 2004
By Mr. S. N. Barton VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
These are a collection of wonderful and unpretentious stories. They are so lucid, and don't ooze with metaphors and similes like other novels, but are embellished by them, seamlessly woven in by this fantastic energetic new writer. This is one of those few books that defies genre, not in its obtuseness but in its simplicity, it seems that writers are learning to just tell good, clever stories again
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sky-high expectations and it did not disappoint 29 Nov 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I had heard/read nothing but good things about this book and so, inevitably, expected to be let down. It would be too hard for it to match up to the glowing praise it had received.
But, no, it is superb. Brilliant. I read the first fifty pages after opening it to read the acknowledgements... didn't even notice I was turning pages. It sucked me in from the start. It is incredibly easy to read - not due to simplicity but due to the writer's unforced facility with language.
I hope ZZ writes more. Much more.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome 3 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback
Drinking Coffee Elsewhere is one of my personal favorites. Its exploration of the characters, fascinating plot and smooth flow make for an excellent read, which is why I recommend it to any lover of nice stories.With other collections like The Usurper: and Other Stories, Ward No. 6 and Other Stories, I am I am enjoying short fiction for the first time in my life.
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