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McSweeney's Issue 44 (Timothy McSweeney's) Hardcover – 30 May 2013

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 300 pages
  • Publisher: McSweeney's (30 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1938073452
  • ISBN-13: 978-1938073458
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 16 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 257,816 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dave Eggers is the author of six previous books, including "Zeitoun," a nonfiction account a Syrian-American immigrant and his extraordinary experience during Hurricane Katrina and "What Is the What," a finalist for the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award. That book, about Valentino Achak Deng, a survivor of the civil war in southern Sudan, gave birth to the Valentino Achak Deng Foundation, run by Mr. Deng and dedicated to building secondary schools in southern Sudan. Eggers is the founder and editor of McSweeney's, an independent publishing house based in San Francisco that produces a quarterly journal, a monthly magazine ("The Believer"), and "Wholphin," a quarterly DVD of short films and documentaries. In 2002, with Nínive Calegari he co-founded 826 Valencia, a nonprofit writing and tutoring center for youth in the Mission District of San Francisco. Local communities have since opened sister 826 centers in Chicago, Los Angeles, Brooklyn, Ann Arbor, Seattle, and Boston. In 2004, Eggers taught at the University of California-Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, and there, with Dr. Lola Vollen, he co-founded Voice of Witness, a series of books using oral history to illuminate human rights crises around the world. A native of Chicago, Eggers graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in journalism. He now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and two children.

Product Description

About the Author

Dave Eggers lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. McSweeney's began in 1998 as a literary journal that published only works rejected by other magazines. That rule was soon abandoned, and since then McSweeney's has attracted work from some of the finest writers in the country, including Denis Johnson, Jonathan Franzen, William T. Vollmann, Rick Moody, Joyce Carol Oates, Heidi Julavits, Jonathan Lethem, Michael Chabon, Ben Marcus, Susan Straight, Roddy Doyle, T.C. Boyle, Steven Millhauser, Gabe Hudson, Robert Coover, Ann Beattie, and many others. At the same time, the journal continues to be a major home for new and unpublished writers; we're committed to publishing exciting fiction regardless of pedigree.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a book about making a mark. All six main stories here are very strong and insightful. Rebecca Curtis has a stand out piece about the question of how much to give and take. Joe Meno's piece is somewhat heavy on the symbolism but enjoyable enough. Pieces by Jim Shepard and Wells Tower both threaten to be overwhelmed by their authors differing stylistic quirks but equally prove themselves worth reading in the end. Two short pieces by Stuart Dybek and Tom Barbash both pack a punch.
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By Eleanor TOP 500 REVIEWER on 28 Nov 2013
Format: Hardcover
McSweeney's 44 consists of a mixture of short stories and a series of articles and illustrations celebrating the journalist and intellectual Lawrence Weschler. I enjoyed all of the short stories and some were excellent. Wells Towers's 'The Dance Contest' particularly stood out, an extended fiction describing a few weeks in a Thai prison, where the narrator's father (Osmund Towers) is incarcerated. Towers employs his distinctive prose to good effect resulting in a dryly humorous and slightly surreal work.

In Tom Barbash's 'Birthday Girl' a collision between a car and a pedestrian is related by the perpetrator. Her subsequent behaviour and demeanour make for a disturbing read. 'The Gusher' also features a narrator who seems slightly off, a college student describing her nightmare housemate and the increasingly strange relationship they have with each other. Finally Jim Shepherd's 'The Ocean of the Air' is a beautiful story narrated by one of the Montgolfier brothers.

I have to admit that I hadn't heard of Lawrence Weschler before I came to this issue of MacSweeney's, however the enjoyable and stimulating pieces which make up the appreciation will have me seeking out both his writing and exploring further artists such as J. S. G. Boggs and David Wilson.

The book itself is an attractive hardback, featuring illustrations by Wesley Allsbrook as well as a series of strangely lovely works by Ryan Mrozowski consisting of stacks of baseball cards from which the players have been cut out.


The Gusher - Rebecca Curtis
Animals - Joe Meno
The Ocean of Air - Jim Shepherd
Happy Ending - Stuart Dybek
The Dance Contest - Wells Tower
Birthday Girl - Tom Barbash

You Have to See This: Portraits of Lawrence Weschler

Disappearing Acts - Ryan Mrozowski
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Like a 40-Something Reminiscing With Friends about What Made Their 20s So Great 14 Nov 2013
By Matt M. Martin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Now this is the type of McSweeney's I've missed! Issue 44 is a standard hardback featuring five great stories and a superb novella, all from tremendously talented writers, almost all of whom are McSweeney's standbys, most of whom we haven't heard from in a while. This issue also features a tribute to Lawrence Weschler, much like Issue 24's tribute to Donald Barthelme.

Rebecca Curtis begins with a story of quarrels between two roommates escalating and escalating. It's a subtle, keenly executed treatise on race, attraction, passive-aggressive sniping, and small wounds wrought large, and how we connect more with our enemies than our lovers. It starts the proceedings well.

Joe Meno follows with a story of a recovering coke addict and his stepdaughter escaping his AA meeting to scare away a polar bear and her cub from causing trouble in their Alaskan small town, a strong story about the ways we influence each other, mostly wordlessly.

Jim Shepard is next (always good to see him), and he writes a story set in Annonay, France in 1783. The piece follows Joseph-Michel and Jacques-Etienne Montgolfier, the inventors of the hot air balloon, one a profligate dreamer, the other a practical thinker, and how their lives intertwine. Shepard’s habit of exposing the true lives of those involved in historical feats continues, told with rich period details and the eagle eye of deep research. It’s a heady piece, not easy to read, but rich in rewards for those who are willing to ferret them out.

Stuart Dybek continues with a short about a retinue of playwrights discussing what happiness is and coming, surprisingly, to an answer. Tom Barbash writes about a young actress who acts her way through her real life just as as she does on stage. She hits a teenage girl in her small town and has to take the girl to the hospital. Confronted by the girl’s parents, she turns in her best performance yet. A powerful story.

And then there's Wells Tower's knock-it-out-the-park novella. Ah, Wells, it's been a while, since Issue 32 with the wonderful "Raw Water." Here he turns in a fantastic story, touching, hilarious, unique, and bizarre. In a prison in Thailand, Wells’ father hangs on to dear life. His cellmates form together to participate in a dance contest held by the warden, and through preparing for the dance, they come together in strange ways. I wish this novella would have been longer, and that's the highest praise anyone can achieve, actual grief at finishing his piece.

The Lawrence Weschler tributes round out the collection. Weschler was a frequent McSweeney's contributor with his "Convergences" series, which were always curious and sometimes illuminating. In essays from Errol Morris, Jonathan Lethem, and others, everyone who had the privilege of knowing Weschler recounts his itinerant interests and philomath's perspective on life--a man to whom a rabbit trail was a mandate. These pieces are fairly repetitive (half of them would have been enough), but the admiration they have for Weschler is, uh, admirable.

Overall, though, there's just too much good fiction to give this issue anything less than the full five stars.
44th 24 Nov 2013
By Stephanie Tocantins - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As always super fun and interesting to read. I always want more graphics though (well, that's not entirely true. Sometimes the cover is as awesome as the book)
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