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Drinking Coffee Elsewhere Paperback – 10 Feb 2005


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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books; New edition edition (10 Feb. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841955566
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841955568
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.8 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 73,451 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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"

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.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Is on 7 Jun. 2004
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mr. S. N. Barton VINE VOICE on 13 May 2004
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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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 29 Nov. 2004
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In this collection of short stories ZZ Packer presents black American characters on the whole uneasy with notions of solidarity, of race or otherwise. Whether tracking the progress of a trainee teacher and her awful pupils, a young man dealing with his objectionable father, or the internal wonderings of a nurse at work and in her church congregation, Packer has a sharp insight into human goings on and gives her characters and the often difficult situations they find themselves in great realism. an intelligent and absorbing read.
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