Emperor of the Air: Stories Hardcover – 1 Nov 1988
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20 May 1998
This particular book was one that I had the privledge of reading in one of my literature classes. It was comparable to Richard Ford's Rock Springs insofar as the American dream is shown through different perspectives, but the pursuit is surprisingly similar. Canin's writing shows the everyday rountine that is peoples' existance. If your searching for an empathic view of "normal" peoples lives; this is the book.
14 April 1997
Ethan Canin wrote these when absurdly young, in his early to mid- 20s, I think. In spite of his youth, this extraordinary collection of short stories is indispensable for those interested in short fiction. It includes "We are Nighttime Travelers," which I've probably read ten times and still marvel at the grace and nuance.
9 December 1996
This is the only book of short stories that I've read all the way through. Each fictional storyteller captivated me so that I had to know who the next one was and what they had experienced. It was an amazing read. If you're a people-watcher and are interested in what goes through people's heads, I would recommend it to you.
2 September 1999
Ethan Canin has little to say and he spends a lot of time doing that. I have thrown away more interesting books. This is a poor, poor representative of any kind of decent writing going on today.
18 May 1999
...because now I'll never see it again. Stated simply, this is a work of art. The stories are inspired, and the characters are handled with such compassion and subtle understanding that it is difficult to believe that this is Canin's first published work. I agree with the critics that it is also his best. Having read _Of Kings and Planets_ recently, I feel that his artistic integrity may be suffering the pressure of compromise coming from his book deal, but it may also be that his subject matter is exhausted. I thought that _Blue River_ was all right, though it was certainly outshined by this gem. I agree with the other reviewers that "We are Nighttime Travellers" and "Star Food" are the kind of stories that stop time dead in its tracks. If he never writes a good book again, Canin should still be regarded as an exceptional success.
15 August 1999
I approached this book with high expectations, considering the reviews lavished upon it. However, I found Canin to be one of the most disappointing contemporary writers I've had the misfortune of coming across (along with Michael Chabon). His stories are predictable, his attempts at change in his characters vacillates between trite and the kind of easy salvation the media pours into our faces day after day. If you're looking for innovative short stories, look up George Saunders or Jennifer Egan.
6 March 1999
I read this collection of stories by Ethan Canin 10 years ago, and continue to recommend it as an absolute must for anyone who enjoys fiction. The writing is straightforward and evocotive, and the plots are about real experiences that it seems almost everyone, regardless of age, race or class, will find almost eerily familiar. I agree with the reviewer who loved "We Are Nighttime Travelers." I was 29 when I read it, but my reaction was completely visceral. "Star Food" and "Where We Are Now" have the power to be classics as well. My former literature professors might send me out of class if they heard me say this, but I honestly feel these stories are very different from much of the "literary" fiction we read these days. Canin never writes over our heads. He never tells stories that appeal only to intellectual minds or to an inside group of reader/writers who have all spent time at the same fellowship programs and writers colonies. He respects his readers and has the courage to go straight for the heart. Every good story should be suspenseful, and Canin creates an irrestible sense of "what will happen now?" from the very first line. He gives us stories with beginnings, middles and ends that linger in the mind for years. Obviously, I just can't say enough. . .
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Most recent customer reviews
These stories are definitely among the best, if not the best, I have ever read. However, I first heard them on audiocassete and they are so much more powerful!!!Read more
These stories appeal to the heart as well as the head. The subtlties of male relationships (among others) are extraordinary and I'm going to make my husband read this book.
Though Ethan Canin was only in his late 20s when he wrote this book of short stories, it is the work of a great thinker and an unusual writer.Read more