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How to Breathe Underwater: Stories Paperback – 7 Apr 2005


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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (7 April 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014101508X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141015088
  • Product Dimensions: 0.1 x 0.1 x 0.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 343,098 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Julie Orringer was born in 1974 and grew up in New Orleans and Ann Arbor, Michigan. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' workshop and Cornell University. Her stories have appeared in several publications including The Yale Review, and Best New American Voices. She received the Paris Review's Discovery Prize, and her collection of stories How to Breathe Underwater was a New York Times Notable Book. Julie Orringer lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband Ryan Harty.

Product Description

Review

'An amazing debut. Conjures the same exhilaration I felt on reading Melissa Bank’s The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing’ -- Daily Telegraph

‘Outstanding’ -- Nick Hornby

About the Author

Julie Orringer was born in 1973 and grew up in New Orleans and Ann Arbor, Michigan. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and Cornell University. Her stories have appeared in several publications including The Paris Review, The Yale Review and Best New American Voices. Julie Orringer lives in San Francisco where she is currently at work on a novel. How to Breathe Underwater is her first book.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
It was Thanksgiving Day and hot, because this was New Orleans; they were driving uptown to have dinner with strangers. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By "kangaroogrrrl" on 2 Dec. 2005
Format: Paperback
I came across this book while browsing in a local bookshop, and later picked it up on 3 for 2, more or less on impulse. I have to say, I'm really glad I did; it's a wonderfully written collection of short stories by a first-time author.
I don't normally read short stories, but each of the ones in this collection is a gem; while there are certain similarities between them (among others: a female narrator/main character, often set against a Jewish background, featuring someone who is somewhat of an outsider), they're far from 'samey'. Each is a distinctive portrait of fundamental human emotions or conditions: grief, loss, jealousy, childhood, adolescence...
I couldn't believe this was written by a first-time published author; the stories are so descriptive, without being heavy-handed. You really feel like you're watching the story unfold naturally; the characters and situations are so lifelike and real, it almost seems like she's reporting rather than making things up.
Lovely stuff.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Bs Brady on 1 July 2005
Format: Paperback
What an utterly sweet and completely involving book this is. The kind of book that makes you feel 7 or 10 or 14 years old again. The kind of book that brings your own childhood racing back because that kind of confused innocence is the same whether you're a jewish girl in New Orleans or a catholic boy in Ireland.
The writing is simple but so evocative the stories already feel like actual events rather than someone else's fiction. It's 9 stories you'll want to share with your favourite people, and you'll wish you'd written them because you could have. This kind of stuff happened to everyone. I loved this book, it made me smile and broke my heart and if you've half a soul you're gonna love it too.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 Oct. 2005
Format: Paperback
Each of the nine stories in this collection is captivating. Orringer has managed to write the most evocative stories with a true voice. The depth of feelings - grief, despair, spite, bitterness and vulnerability (amongst others) and her ability to develop her characters and make them three dimensional so quickly, are what makes these stories so powerful. She has the lightest touch and a great eye for detail. You can't help but get involved with the characters in each story, which for me is unusual in short stories, which often leave me feeling short changed. This book is a gem and I would highly recommend it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 4 April 2006
Format: Paperback
I intially chose this book because the cover appealed to me. This novel was dark in places and leaves you wanting to read more to understand the outline of the short stories quicker. The stories address age old issues, but in a non- direct way, but its honesty and juicy secrets, could be compared to a good Judy Blume novel.I thought this book was a quick, easy read and a real page turner.I really enjoyed this book and would very much recommend it. I personally would recommend it for people aged 18-30.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R. K. Harvey on 4 Sept. 2005
Format: Paperback
These short stories were a really enjoyable read. All the stories focus on childhood and growing up, with issues like illness, friendship and grief. The characters in each story are interesting and well written. It's really quick to read as well.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By kehs TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 27 Dec. 2007
Format: Paperback
An extraordinary collection of short stories filled with tragedies and traumas that the book's young characters endure, such as tales of a drowning, a premature baby and a cancer sufferer. They make for quite a disturbing read but are very well written and will definitely stay with the reader. This book is packed with emotion and even though the subject matter isn't light-hearted it is superbly written.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By stevieby on 24 July 2007
Format: Paperback
Whatever you want to call it: teenage rebellion, sibling rivalry, first love, growing pains.... it is a popular source for American literature (films, songs, etc.). These stories are tinged with a deeper theme of death which gives then a poignancy and a touch of horror. In some, religion has a baring - it too acts as a weight of constraints and expectations. To my reckoning only one of the stories has a happy ending - there is none of the resolution or acceptance (or forgetting) that time might bring.

The stories are all immediate and raw, and to some extent compelling. The writing is great, an excellent portrayal of American youth with something on its mind. Bit it is hard to draw any conclusion, other than a negative one - the more minutely you examine this subject, the more intensely painful it looms!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By "the_cellisti" on 23 April 2004
Format: Hardcover
Among the best short stories that I have ever read.
Captivating fromthe first line, they will have you hanging onto every word.
If you'regoing to buy a short story collection, get this one. If you're not goingto buy a short story collection, get this one anyway.
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