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When the Nines Roll Over [Paperback]

David Benioff
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

22 May 2006

From the writer of the award-winning Game of Thrones series for HBO based on the books of George R. R. Martin.

Over the course of eight tales, often with an appealing touch of the surreal, we are introduced to a record comany exec searching for a rock star, an inexperienced Russian soldier trapped between his murderous colleagues and a clever old woman, a faded football star recalling his lost chance at love, an acress who has a shot at a role that will free her from a lifetime of waitressing, a young man who kidnap's his ex-girlfriend's father's ashes, and other young people on the cusp of discovery, jubilation or loss.

As he evokes the various states of agony and pleasure - humiliation, rebellion, cameraderie, and desire - Benioff displays a profound understanding of how single moments lead to transformation, and how sadness can be illuminated by a humorous flip side.


Frequently Bought Together

When the Nines Roll Over + The 25th Hour + City of Thieves
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  • The 25th Hour £6.29
  • City of Thieves £6.29


Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Sceptre; New Ed edition (22 May 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340895624
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340895627
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 12.8 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 467,038 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

This is a superb collection, and it proves that Benioff can handle the long and the short of the fiction game (Publishers Weekly)

American men are Benioff's terrain. On his home turf he's briliant. Benioff's gaunt but never scrawny prose is perfect for these stories. This style, a pared-down realism enlivened by the occasional fantastic flourish, acts as an elegant summation of the author's apparently complex relationship with fiction. (Literary Review)

Deliciously accessible stories . . . will hook you fast, and they'll keep you hooked (Kirkus Reviews)

All [the stories] are highly charged portraits of young men on the cusp of something momentous, be it their first war or their first love affair. Benioff is particularly good at using the compressed lives of lonely individuals to convey something of an incomprehensible world beyond. (Metro)

The latest master of the zippy, punchy, knee-to-the-groin story is David Benioff . . . Wonderful collection (Independent on Sunday)

An ace storyteller (Entertainment Weekly)

All [the stories] are highly charged portraits of young men on the cusp of something momentous, be it their first war or their first love affair. Benioff is particularly good at using the compressed lives of lonely individuals to convey something of an incomprehensible world beyond.. The best story, The Barefoot Girl in Clover, is also the simplest . . . Its potent atmosphere of lost adolescence lingers like heat on tarmac. (Metro)

A short story collection as good as this is a reminder of how pleasurable reading can be. In his crisp use of language, his neat way with a twist and his fondness for the elliptical, Benioff displays his screenwriting credentials... The title story is both funny and sharp, displaying an unexpected warmth towards his characters. The Devil Comes Home is even better, describing the terrible dilemma faced by a young Russian soldier . . . When The Nines Roll Over has its own, sharply original quality; worth reading for its humour, description of character and the oddity of its insights. (The Times)

The book's eight stories are written with both a literary writer's care and a film writer's instinct for courting his readers or viewers. He hooks them, reels them in and does his best to make them happy to be in the boat with him -- until he lets them go a few hours later (USA Today)

Benioff has taken the world and cut it into hard, bright diamonds. These stories are luminous (Ann Patchett)

A deft stylist who's a notch or two tamer than Chuck Palahniuk and T. C. Boyle, Benioff finds levity amidst the gravity in a world where the simplest of moments can change the course of our lives (Booklist)

American men are Benioff's terrain. On his home turf he's briliant. Benioff's gaunt but never scrawny prose is perfect for these stories. This style, a pared-down realism enlivened by the occasional fantastic flourish, acts as an elegant summation of the author's apparently complex relationship with fiction. (Literary Review)

'The latest master of the zippy, punchy, knee-to-the-groin story is David Benioff . . . Wonderful collection' (Independent on Sunday)

'If its high notes can be sustained throughout a second novel, David Benioff could have a success on his hands' (Sunday Herald)

'A short story collection as good as this is a reminder of how pleasurable reading can be. In his crisp use of language, his neat way with a twist and his fondness for the elliptical, Benioff displays his screenwriting credentials... The title story is both funny and sharp, displaying an unexpected warmth towards his characters. The Devil Comes Home is even better, describing the terrible dilemma faced by a young Russian soldier... When The Nines Roll Over has its own, sharply original quality; worth reading for its humour, description of character and the oddity of its insights.' (The Times)

'When the Nines Roll Over has its own, sharply original quality; worth reading for its humour, description of character and the oddity of it insights.' (The Times)

Book Description

'A deeply satisfying collection of unusual, resonant and beautifully composed stories. David Benioff is one of the most promising writers of his generation' - George Pelecanos

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The missing gaps - a writer in development 18 Feb 2009
By Siriam TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Issued between the two novels of his first "25th Hour" and the five years later issued "City of Thieves", "When the nines roll over" is a collection of mainly magazine published short stories done before and since his first novel. As such it is an interesting selection of evidence on what Benioff does well and also less well. Some are early runs such as the Chechen conflict story ("The devil comes to Orekhovo") being a nice precedent for the WWII most recent novel. More critically, it is proof that his real forte is about current US urban scenarios where men are in open competition or relationships. The two best stories reflecting this are the lead title story which shows a real insiders feel for the abuses of the cut throat musical business in New York and Los Angeles and the last story "Merde for Luck", a sharp view of gay lovers infected with HIV that conveys well the decline into despair suffered.

However as with many other short stories selections, not all work as well. With Benioff in transition and showing himself experimenting, the two key examples are where Benioff goes into what verges on fantasy or sci fi, being "Zoanthrophy" about a lion hunt in New York and "De composition" the story of a sole survivor in a bunker dependent in recording his thoughts on a computer.

As such it is a fascinating pot pourri of a writer in development whose two novels to date have shown him to be potentially a great writer.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Outstanding Collection 2 Feb 2005
By A. Ross TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
I first read Benioff a few years ago in "All-Story" magazine, where three of the stories in this book first appeared (they are actually available online at All Story's site for those interested in sampling his writing). I then read and loved his novel "The 25th Hour", and so am glad to get my hands on this collection of eight stories. There aren't that many young American writers whose work excites me, but Benioff is certainly one of them (Mark Jude Poirier and John McNally are two others). His prose is clear and crisp, without the affectation or self-consciousness one finds in so much coming out these days. The stories collected here show a nice range of subject matter and tone, ranging from pure realism to slight surrealism, but almost all contain threads of loss, disappointment, and forlorn hope. Perhaps the highest compliment I can pay to the stories, is that even though I didn't connect with some of them, I still loved reading them.
The opening (and title) story, is one of these, following a record label A&R man (essentially a high-end scout) who pursues a talented punk girl and spirits her away to Los Angeles and out of the life of her drummer boyfriend. It felt a little old-fashioned in a lot of ways. Do record label execs still act like that? Are they really that interested in transforming punk chicks into superstars? But it did nicely capture that moment in relationships when one person has moved on to bigger and presumably better things, and their lover just doesn't fit in the picture any more. Another story, "The Garden of No", is very similar thematically, only here it's a waitress turned television actress, and the man is a short-order cook.
Misfiring romance figures prominently in three other stories as well.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  25 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must reading for all urban males! 24 Aug 2004
By Looking for a Good Read - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
At a time when the shelves are FILLED with wonderful and interesting books about contemporary life from a female perspective, at long last there is a book that does the same thing for guys.

I found this as I was desperately looking for something to read on a long plane ride, and it was fantastic. Funny, and insightful. Some of the same themes and sensibility as Palahniuk's FIGHT CLUB, but much more relevant to "every day" life: if you liked FIGHT CLUB, you'll love this even more! Are the characters exotic and off beat? Yes, and that makes it more fun. What makes it captivating is that what these characters go through is something any one -- and particularly, any guy -- can relate to, at least to some extent. This book will make you laugh and it will make you think: what more can you ask for! You will not regret this purchase!!!!!
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars These Tales Will Roll You Over... 16 Nov 2004
By James J. Yohe - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
"This is what you need to know about my father: He was a man who made a living killing animals, though he adored animals and disdained men. But I was his love's son and that gave me immunity from disdain, immunity from the cool hunter's stare he aimed at everyone else. His turn in this world was far from gentle, but he was gentle with me."

David Benioff from the short story "Zoanthropy"

I'm not a short story fan. Typically, short stories are either touchy-feely poetry fiascos that lack depth or they are compact verbiage crammed debacles that are too abrupt to allow proper character and plot development. Ironically, one of my favorite short story writers is Stephen King because he can scare the crap out of you in relatively short order. However, King doesn't count, because he considers 200 pages epigrammatic. Nevertheless, I actually stumbled upon an amazing work of short stories by the author of "The 25th Hour". The book is entitled "When the Nines Roll Over & Other Stories" by David Benioff. Each of the eight stories was a unique gem waiting to be discovered under some fertile yet shallow soil. I was able to read one complete novella during each of the study hall sessions I monitored during my 16th year of teaching at Susquehanna Township High School. Each tale left me invigorated and filled me with the gusto necessary to take on the challenges of the rest of my teaching schedule. I'm already worried about what I will do next week without the magical digressions each story provided me.

Although I enjoyed all eight of Benioff's short stories, four of them held a special place in my heart. "The Devil Comes to Orekhovo" was the most haunting tale in the lot. It began with two twenty-something veteran Russian soldiers (Nikolai and Surkhov) and an eighteen-year-old newbie named Leksi. The three men were scouting the Chechen countryside for enemy guerrillas. Since the Chechen terrorists were rumored to crucify unfortunate Russian soldiers and even place their severed heads on the doorsteps of their families' houses, the mission transformed Leksi's mental state into total disarray. Eventually the three men broke into a house to establish a headquarters of sorts only to stumble upon the residence's elderly female inhabitant. A cunning game of cat and mouse ensued, and the powerful story walloped its readers with one hell of a character piece and one amazingly assembled narrative.

My second favorite tale was entitled "The Barefoot Girl in Clover". Although fairly simple and contrite, this story involved a teenager's unplanned escape from his small New Jersey town via a stolen 1955 Eldorado. However, instead of running all the way to California as he initially envisioned, the young athlete only managed to make it to Hershey Park, Pennsylvania. While near Hershey, the car thief encountered a unique girl and fell head over heals in love. The one day romantic affair blossomed into a life altering experience with a wham-bam-smack in the face conclusion that any reader of this yarn could never forget.

I also really enjoyed "Zoanthropy" about an escaped lion roaming New York City streets, and I was fond of "Merde for Luck" about the horrors of AIDS and the ordeals regarding those pitiable people that served as Guinea Pigs during experimental drug treatments. All the short stories were written with impetus, style and compassion. As can be gleaned from the opening quote, Benioff also delivered potent expressions meant to sear the soul of his readers. Although I was unable to watch all of Spike Lee's "25th Hour" (it really bored me to tears), I know I would have enjoyed the original novel written by this truly remarkable author.

Jay's Grade: A
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT COLLECTION OF SHORT STORIES! 24 Aug 2004
By Christy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Some of the short stories in this collection made me laugh out loud -- others (particularly "The Devil Comes to Orekhovo") made me shiver. I thought this was a wonderful collection of stories and, ordinarily, I am not a huge fan of the genre -- I happened to pick this book up because I had rented "The 25th Hour" last weekend and enjoyed it. I TOTALLY disagree with others who characterized this as a "MALE" book: I am a 32 year old female and really loved it. "The Barefoot Girl in Clover" was very moving and made me remember my high school days. And "Zoanthropy" (my personal favorite) was offbeat, but really, really wonderful. This is a book that both men AND women will love. I've already lent my copy to a friend!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Outstanding Collection 2 Feb 2005
By A. Ross - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I first read Benioff a few years ago in "All-Story" magazine, where three of the stories in this book first appeared (they are actually available online at All Story's site for those interested in sampling his writing). I then read and loved his novel "The 25th Hour", and so am glad to get my hands on this collection of eight stories. There aren't that many young American writers whose work excites me, but Benioff is certainly one of them (Mark Jude Poirier and John McNally are two others). His prose is clear and crisp, without the affectation or self-consciousness one finds in so much coming out these days. The stories collected here show a nice range of subject matter and tone, ranging from pure realism to slight surrealism, but almost all contain threads of loss, disappointment, and forlorn hope. Perhaps the highest compliment I can pay to the stories, is that even though I didn't connect with some of them, I still loved reading them.

The opening (and title) story, is one of these, following a record label A&R man (essentially a high-end scout) who pursues a talented punk girl and spirits her away to Los Angeles and out of the life of her drummer boyfriend. It felt a little old-fashioned in a lot of ways. Do record label execs still act like that? Are they really that interested in transforming punk chicks into superstars? But it did nicely capture that moment in relationships when one person has moved on to bigger and presumably better things, and their lover just doesn't fit in the picture any more. Another story, "The Garden of No", is very similar thematically, only here it's a waitress turned television actress, and the man is a short-order cook.

Misfiring romance figures prominently in three other stories as well. "Barefoot Girl in Clover" tells of a 30ish man who tries to track down a girl he hung out with for a day as a teenager. "Neversink" is about a New York couple and the aftermath of their breakup. In "Merde For Luck", a gay man recounts his last relationship from beginning to grim end. What's interesting is that in all three of these stories, the narrator is either missing a crucial piece of information or operating under some major misconception. This allows Benioff to set each up for a major fall late in the story, when all is revealed. The lesson seems to be that if women don't betray you, life will find a way to.

The three other stories are a little harder to categorize. "The Devil Comes to Orekhovo" is a great story with a very traditional feel to it. It follows three Russian soldiers on patrol in Chechnya as they scout out a house that may or may not contain Chechen separatists. Benioff brilliantly captures the unease and awkwardness of the youngest, rawest soldier, as the older men mock him and eventually put him to a nasty test. It deserves a place with Tolstoy and Lermontov's stories of the Russian experience in the Caucuses. "Zoanthropy" is a strange story about a young man whose father is called in to shoot lions when they appear in New York. It left me kind of blah, but again, I enjoyed reading it. Finally, "De Composition", is a Twilight Zone-inspired take on a man locked into a bunker with his computer following some kind of global cataclysm. Felt a little derivative, but nicely done with a clever ending.

On the whole, this is a very strong collection of stories. Hopefully Benioff can find time away from the lucrative world of screenwriting to write another novel.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hip and Literary 15 Mar 2010
By Nawlins Ike - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Not much you can say about this author to dispute that that he's a pro. He can obviously write any way he wants, but he has pegged a particular style that doesn't show off his way with words but just unreels an engaging yarn, one after another. In short stories there's not a lot of room to detour, but instead he builds his random details into his stories so they come off contemporary and quirky and still stay on track. Personally, I think his style is perfectly suited to short stories - little investment, short engaging trips. And they manage to get under your skin enough to make you attached. The stories are all over the place in range, from a rock band management tale to a Russian soldier's march to a gay artist dying of AIDS to a last-man-on-earth transmission. That one, about a guy in his shelter typing away and not daring to come up to the surface, really stuck with me.
Really good stuff, no complaints. Not groundbreaking, so I wouldn't give it five stars (I couldn't give five stars to anything that would be at home in the New Yorker - for five stars I want my head spun around), but easily good bang for the fifteen bucks.
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