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Shot Paperback – 15 Jan 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Virago; New edition edition (15 Jan 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844080145
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844080144
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.4 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 925,074 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


An excellent collection of short stories (LAVA (NZ, of HAVING WORDS WITH YOU))

Sarah Quigley, whose keen eye for the absurd, revealed in lively ironic prose, also catches the heartstrings. (IRISH EXAMINER)

'Shot (is fresh and inventive.')

TIME OUT ('Highly unpredictable and constantly entertaining')

Book Description

* 'a wry and heartwarming tale of love, loss and discovery' Waterstone's Magazine

* a humorous take on what happens when life isn't funny anymore

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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First Sentence
In the time it took for a bullet to travel through her left ear and into the back wall of the donut shop on the corner of Ellis and Polk, Lena McLeonard remembered her past. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Star_Sea on 22 Feb 2005
Format: Paperback
'Shot' actually begins in the middle of its story - with the protagonist, Lena, accidentally getting shot in the ear while visiting her old neighbourhood. We then move right back to Lena's childhood and why exactly this place is dear to her, meeting the members of her family; Quigley does all of this in light crisp prose, laced with Lena's calm, slightly disbelieving humour, never too melodramatic.
The only child of her immigrant Polish parents to be born in America, Lena Domanski carries the weight of her father's expectations on her shoulders, and is pushed into comedy as a career before she's even ten. Her sister Bella is devoted to taxidermy, and her brother Davey is a space cadet both literally and figuratively. While Lena's childhood is both poignant and amusing, it's what happens to her after the shooting that's the really interesting part of the book, at least for me.
The shooting is a wake up call; she decides to give up comedy, which she never liked doing anyway, and to become a photographer instead. She is more interested in observing human nature than making fun of it. Quigley inserts the story of these photographs into the story so quietly that you may not notice what they are at first and wonder what she's talking about.
Lena's actual journey to Alaska does not take place until about half way through the book. She begins her proverbial healing up there, but not in a happy charmed atmosphere as is usually the case; instead, she is surrounded by other people who have been damaged by life. The ending is surprising and not for those who like everything neatly tied up in a bow, but it suits the story. Like Helen Dunmore, another novelist who is also a poet, Quigley has a gift for describing things uniquely, seeing the world through a slightly different lens.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By NB on 23 Mar 2008
Format: Paperback
Starting in San Francisco with comedian Lena getting shot on her way to buy donuts, it seemed quirky and interesting, with the bullet having a voice aswell as her.

Then there are pages and pages about her Polish immigrant family, all who have strange aspects and interests (OCD, taxidermy) and how she started performing as a child at her dad's club- whilst it's nice to have some background, half a book on this was dull and too much.

Things start to get interesting when Lena decides to leave California, her horrifcally ambitious and 1-D boyfriend and go to Alaska and takes photos of loss.

This section was full of descriptions of the wilderness and of the secrets and losses people hold inside them and although I could see the ending coming a mile off, it was written with suspense and clarity which the rest of the book lacked.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 11 Feb 2004
Format: Paperback
It's a wonder! - all the ingredients for a great read are here - humour, love, tragedy, and to top it all a slightly skewed, slightly eccentric look at life. I urge you to read this book - Sarah Quigley is a writer who is going to go far. A beautifully written, bittersweet, funny book, full of quirky characters: the protagonist, Lena, a reluctant comedian; the straight-talking stunning sister, Bella, who has a passion for stuffing animals; the daydreaming brother, Davey, who spends all his time in a hangar, trying to build sattelites. Oh, did I mention the donuts (don't nag about the spelling - it's set in San Francisco, and they're definitly the 'dunkin' kind)?
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1 review
Worst ending ever 16 Oct 2008
By C. Smee - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Why should I invest my time, energy and emotions into a book that is only going to leave me feeling more bitter and twisted than I was before I began reading it? What an awful ending, from an awful writer. This book was long and laborious and when I finally began to enjoy it she killed off the only character I liked. Terrible, terrible writing. And who ever wrote the blurb for the book should be shot for complete and utter inaccuracy. This wasn't uplifting or hopeful, or even happy you moron. It was just painful and hurtful and horribly depressing. I wanted to kill myself after I read it. What a horrible, horrible writer. You shouldn't have killed off Jimmy, Quigley. He was the one redeemingly hopeful thing about your whole stupid book.
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