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Music for Wartime: Stories af Rebecca Makkai

Music for Wartime: Stories (udgave 2015)

af Rebecca Makkai

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
14811142,540 (4.02)7
Presents a collection of wide-ranging, evocative short stories, including several inspired by the author's family history or featuring protagonists whose lives are shaped by irony.
Titel:Music for Wartime: Stories
Forfattere:Rebecca Makkai
Info:Viking (2015), Hardcover, 240 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Nøgleord:fiction, short stories, books by women, American, twenty-first century

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Music for Wartime: Stories af Rebecca Makkai


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I read this collection on a long flight. Sometimes I find it challenging to read a collection of stories in one sitting. With some collections there is a sameness that makes it sort of wearying to read one story after another; (after a reading a bunch of Raymond Carver stories I either wanted a drink or to check into AA;); and some short stories while skillfully written require so much work to understand (I have my limitations) that it is just not fun to read more than one at a time.

But Makkai’s collection was really fun to read. I’ve met her and she’s a skilled writer and also really smart, which isn’t always helpful for a writer, but she pulls it off. These stories covered a wide range of topics from music to academia to mysticism to reality shows (my favorite). Many of the stories were on subjects I have a profound level of ignorance about (classical music) and while I am sure I missed some of the subtext, I was immediately engaged in every one of them.

No surprise, The New Yorker reviewer says it better than I can: “Ricocheting from the war-torn twentieth century to the reality-show-rich present, the stories in this impressive collection feature characters buffeted by fate – or is it mere happenstance?...Our sense of history is probed, too, not without humor.”

It’s a great collection. Highly recommended. ( )
  LenJoy | Mar 14, 2021 |
I loved Makkai's last novel, The Great Believers and immediately wanted to seek out her earlier work. I hit the bulls-eye with this story collection from 2015. The writing is excellent but I really admire how she weaves her Romanian family history into these tales, both past and present. I especially liked the story of a prized circus elephant that keels over on Main Street and transforms the town. Terrific collection. ( )
  msf59 | Mar 3, 2021 |
I didn't love the early stories in this book. Some of them felt a little too clever (a weird stumbling block for me, as I tend to like clever), and some of them felt, I don't know, just a little half baked. The final three stories made the book worthwhile, though. I'm undecided on whether I'll read more by Makkai or not. Her stories have been widely published in respected magazines, but the hit/miss ratio in this collection was pretty low for me, and it'd take a pretty spectacular novel to pull me in. I feel like the collection here was generally stronger than its constituent stories. ( )
  dllh | Jan 6, 2021 |
The author wrote these stories over the course of 13 years, but they feel like they were designed to be together. Some of them are set in our current era and take on contemporary topics, like honesty in terms of reality TV, while others are set around the Holocaust in Eastern Europe. Some of the shortest stories appear to come from the author's family, and I liked the way these mini stories were interspersed in the collection. It made it almost feel like the author's well-designed story scrapbook. I also really enjoyed the way she writes about artists and musicians -- she well captures the self-serving aspects of people in the arts as well as the escape and catharsis they offer listeners and viewers. ( )
  nancyjean19 | Jun 3, 2020 |
Music for Wartime by Rebecca Makkai

A literary symphony of history and fable, loss and remembrance, Music for Wartime echoes the work of magical realism’s Eastern European masters even as it creates a milieu all its own, one in which both the European and American experiences are featured, at times separately, at others in various levels of concert.

Chicago’s Rebecca Makkai is an exceptional writer, one able to move seamlessly between not just cultures of Old World and New, but registers as diverse as faerie tale and contemporary comedy. Possibly the most stunning attribute of Makkai’s work, though, is its consistent humanity, the clarity with which she sees the hybrid of joy and sadness that is human life.

Given that Makkai was featured in Best American Short Stories four years running (2008-2011), and that the selected stories (“The Worst You Ever Feel,” “The Briefcase,” “Painted Ocean, Painted Ship,” and “Peter Torrelli, Falling Apart”) are all included here, you might expect Music for Wartime to feel a little like a greatest hits album, a collections of classics mixed with a few relatively weak, newer pieces, the whole fitted uneasily into a book.

This isn’t the case. Makkai’s newer material is every bit the equal of her BASS stories. More than that (or, perhaps, again, in concert with it) Music for Wartime does indeed feel musical (a la Kundera), a symphony of past and present, light and dark, tiny fables intermingled with the sort of longer stories we traditionally think of in connection with the short story form. Though this is neither a linked collection nor a novel-in-stories, somehow Music for Wartime feels incredibly cohesive, a piece of art beyond the sum of its parts. The obvious conclusion being that this alchemy is just another byproduct of Makkai’s immense talent.

http://www.thenervousbreakdown.com/kbaumeister/2016/08/the-nervous-breakdowns-re... ( )
  kurtbaumeister | Oct 25, 2017 |
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Presents a collection of wide-ranging, evocative short stories, including several inspired by the author's family history or featuring protagonists whose lives are shaped by irony.

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