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We Others: New and Selected Stories Hardcover – 3 Nov 2011


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Corsair (3 Nov. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780333048
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780333045
  • Product Dimensions: 15.7 x 3.4 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 231,331 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Exquisite . . . I'm a Steven Millhauser fan. This kind of a book is a story-writer's crown . . . a career capstone on behalf of writer good enough to receive the honor. That Millhauser is a quiet, enigmatic master of the medium-long-to-long story; that his characteristic method mingles dreamlike and often morbid or perverse fantasies with meticulous realist observation; that his prose temperature is coolly feverish, drawing equally on Nabokovian rapture, Borgesian enigma and the plain-spoken white-picket-fence wistfulness of Sherwood Anderson; that he writes about magicians and inventors in stories that are themselves presto-chango contraptions; that he peppers his largely well-mannered dream worlds with little salacious uprisings, luscious peeps into the sexy-mermaid part of his imagination's carnival: these things I've said going in. But Millhauser's also protean. Although his stories have much in common only with themselves, he seems to demand fresh terms of himself for each project he begins. . . . Three of the new stories [in We Others] have an amplitude that makes them real advances in Millhauser's art, but they're also terrific lenses for gazing at the selection that follows. . . . The title novella is a painstakingly gradual grown-up ghost story that makes explicit Millhauser's allegiance to the tradition of Henry James. [He] is the master of what might be called the Homeopathic School of Fantastic Writing: just the barest tincture of strangeness, eyedropped into the body of an otherwise mimetic story. The payoff for this can be a reader's intensified complicity: a sensation of slippage into the unreal, just as we know it ourselves from our dreams and fantasies. The effect is often also deeply mournful . . . The opening story is my favorite among the new offerings . . . it is a mirror of unprecedented ungenerosity: it shows us only ourselves. . . . Devastating . . .Suggestive . . . Brave and inspired. (Jonathan Lethem New York Times Book Review)

Intense . . . richly detailed . . . a dark modern master of the short story mixes new work and old favorites. The Pulitzer Prize winner specializes in building dark, dramatic tension, at his best evoking protogothic horror. . . . Millhauser weaves highly engaging and relatable stories about the uneasiness of our lives and our culture, combining the mysterious and dreadful to the deep claustrophobia of our own guilty consciences. . . Gorgeous. (Josh Davis Time Out New York)

Focusing on offbeat subjects like magicians, knife throwers and Borgesian museums, working in an elegant, plainspoken style, Millhauser conjures ordinary worlds that are stalked by strangeness. Blending the eerie and the true is his hallmark; at every turn he reminds us of how eager we are for a sense of magic in our lives. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

The inventiveness and intelligence of Millhauser's writing has been well noted and the new works don't disappoint. In stately, almost formal prose that belies playfulness, often writing as 'we,' . . . Millhauser juxtaposes suburban idyll and anxiety in probing examinations of the human condition. Any library that takes short fiction seriously should have this. (Booklist)

Profound and worthwhile . . . We Others isn't only a greatest-hits introduction to Millhauser's world-it's a cordial invitation to it. The approach [in this collection] gives us the opportunity to focus on the mechanics and beauty of each individual story. Millhauser has proven himself to be one of our most consistently dazzling American voices . . . Millhauser can pinpoint the deeper truths about how spectacular and even life-changing events can appear ordinary on the surface. Along the same lines, though, he also locates moments of transcendence in the most mundane of our everyday lives. . . . Millhauser's fiction in general and the stories in We Others, new and old [are] delightfully weird and sometimes even challenging in the best possible ways. They contain big words and big ideas. They will force you to think about the world around you a bit differently. But, mama, that's where the fun is. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Fiction old and new from one of the contemporary masters of the form. Settings range from the contemporary to the indefinite to the historic . . . Much of [Millhauser's fiction] touches on the surrealistic and resonates with metaphors and allegories . . . Literary language, intelligent speculation about the human condition, all woven through sophisticated storytelling. (Kirkus Reviews)

This is a wonderful collection, full of mystery and subtlety. (Independent)

Millhauser's stories are filled with a sense of the magical wonder of life. (Catholic Herald)

Millhauser's writing is funny, melancholy and endlessly thought-provoking. (The Times (Saturday Review))

He writes with startling clarity in unshowy but addictive prose. His paragraphs are beautifully composed and roll off the tongue as if they'd been designed to be sung. (The Glasgow Herald)

A magnificent collection from the Pulitzer Prize-winner...Surreal, disquieting and surprising. (Financial Times)

Essential reading for anyone worried about a visit from that goon, the relentless passing of time. (The Guardian)

Beguiling... brilliant... yield[s] unexpected treasure. (Patrick Ness The Guardian)

It is a wondrous book. (Independent on Sunday)

Book Description

A brilliant collection of stories from one of America's best writers.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By The Outsider on 5 Feb. 2013
Format: Hardcover
This collection removes any doubt about Millhauser - he is one the great short story stylists alive. Though he won the Pulitzer for the magical Martin Dressler, this is his metier. It's a greatest hits collection, leading off with powerful new material and finishing up with selections from Dangerous Laughter.

To the uninitiated, Millhauser writes in simple prose, but fills his stories with wonder, and is both childlike and amazing. His tales are almost science fiction, but not quite. Only a few, like the title story and a handful of others cross the line into fantasy and sci-fi, yet they all retain a magic, surreal quality. Millhauser is a late middle aged American man who has a rather unworldly world view, yet captivates readers from any age and background.

The Slap is an amazing tale of an unknown slapper who assaults strangers in public places. We Others is a ghost story that is unlike anything I've ever read. There is the Barnum Museum, so alike the tone and style of Martin Dressler, as is the wonderful The Next Thing.

Many have come to Millhauser from The Illusionist, a film loosely based on Eisenheim the Illusionist included here. It is nothing like the film - which was made into a romance. Instead, it focusses entirely on the magician, and is great in its own way. In a similar vein, The Knife Thrower explores similar themes to great effect. What is real? How are we complicit?

I have reviewed Dangerous Laughter in its own right - a wonderful collection of stories, featuring the excellent Tom and Jerryish Cat and Mouse, and the amazing Dangerous Laughter.

Millhauser is great, but I found it best NOT to read straight through, but to put him down for a few days, dip in and out. It's a rich blend, but delicious.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By john doy on 15 Nov. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Amazing! Buy it!
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Simon Barrett 'Il Penseroso' on 26 Aug. 2013
Format: Hardcover
'I was a normal, ordinary, well-adjusted boy, without a trace of anything that might account for the fate that lay in store for me.' That is the general trajectory of these predictably unpredictable essays in the would-be weird. OK, I started at the back with the early ones, but they ALL have a positively antediluvian feel that goes back sixty years - or 55 at least - to a time when unmemorably anodyne 'tales' could be read in Argosy or the old London Evening News and forgotten by bedtime. The last one here is a feeble imitation of HG Wells. Now I can be as Old School as the next man, but - Wells? A hundred years? Time to reset the Time Machine..

Oh well, Christopher Priest rates him..
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