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I was reminded of this author on a recent episode of The Librarian is In podcast from the NYPL I had read one book of his short stories and went looking for , finding this collection from last year All the stories are from 2011 forward.Short story collections are hard to rate, because the stories vary Some of these are five star stories, while some are three, making this a solid five star collection No, Yasodhara, the happiest of all women, is unhappy only when she is most happy when, lying with her beloved husband, staring into his eyes as he strokes her cheek tenderly, she sees in his gaze the shadow It is the shadow of apartness, the shadow of elsewhere from The Pleasures and Sufferings of Young GautamaThis story was not my favorite of the collection in fact it is of a novella, a pet peeve when encountering story collections but it does point to a thread running throughout these stories the idea of elsewhere One of the stories is even titled Elsewhere, and I would have used that as the title for the collection Each story has an element of not belonging, of longing to be somewhere else, of isolation, discontent Some of this is accomplished through strange happenings and bits of unreal or weird, and I tended to enjoy stories with these traits most Miracle Polish tells the story of a man who buys a polish that makes the reflection shown in a mirror the ideal life energy, beauty, contentment Similar to the mirror of erised, I suppose for you Harry Potter fans , with the same dangers Phantoms is a longer story about a town that seems haunted by supernatural creatures that want nothing to do with the people living there And it starts to feel like an insult Ha Thirteen Wives I liked the style of this one, hated the central character, but who wouldn t. I rarely sit down and read an entire short story collection cover to cover, but Millhauser s Voices in the Night arrested me from the beginning while I browsed it in the library It enchanted me, still haunts me, got under my skin, and I suspect it will stay there for quite a while Voices in the Night takes on the universal theme of the disquiet at the heart of the human condition We strive for the next degree, the next great job, home, great love, family, yet in spite of our strivings, that angst is still a part of us This wonderful collection places a mirror in front of humanity to show us that reason, common sense, and creature comforts simply aren t enough to quell that raging beast And this is why we go in search of the extraordinary to break up the monotony of our lives the magic of mermaids, the heart stopping fear of a thief in the night, suicide, the voice that calls to single us out when we sit alone in the darkness Voices in the Night is a book that reminds us of how much we need to believe in magic, in the spirit world, in the impossible, in something greater than ourselves so that we don t perish in a sea of meaningless common sense and ugliness Steven Millhauser is the Brothers Grimm of the millennium, or the Brothers Grimm meets Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Shirley Jackson His writing is top notch His tales are dark, magical, and nourishing for the intellect and the spirit I highly recommend this book, but a few of the stories weren t up to the standard of the others, which is why I am giving it 4 stars instead of 5. Quirky, twisty, things taken to the max, out of all proportion A very different style of writing I really took to the mermaid story, with out culture and trend setting, people following blindly, I could almost see this happening A few strange tweaking of old favorite tales, makes this a collection to ponder, think and savor. My favorites were Phantoms and Miracle Polish Unfortunately, these were the first two stories in the collection I thought the biggest problem with this collection was the resounding sameness In every story, there was the same town of sameness with the same neighborliness that collided unwillingly with something magical or odd I also disliked the dividers that separated paragraphs within the stories, like so IN WHICH I TELL YOU HOW I WOULD HAVE PREFERRED THE COLLECTIONPerhaps as stand alone stories in anthologies I think as a collective, they appeared weaker where perhaps in an anthology, they d shine. What a strange reading experience.Read Miracle Polish Thought This is going to be a 4 star book Good writing interesting ideas.Read Phantoms Thought Wow, interesting.Read Sons and Mothers Thought Great book.Read Mermaid Fever Thought Similar to Phantoms, but interesting commentary.Read The Wife and the Thief Thought They can t all be great.Read A Report on Our Recent Troubles Thought Hhmmm, starting to see a pattern here Read Coming Soon Thought ok.Read Rapunzul Thought This story was really long.Read Elsewhere Thought Haven t I read this story before except it was about phantoms or mermaids Read Thirteen Wives Thought I like this.Read Arcadia Thought Despite some of the same devices, this was different enough to get back to interesting.Read The Pleasures and Sufferings of Young Gautama Thought Huh Long Boring.Read The Place Thought I finally understand why some people criticize works for being self indulgent But isn t that the right of the author Read Home Run Thought Really Read American Tall Tale Thought Wow, did this book go downhill.Read A Voice in the Night Thought At least it ends on a positive note, but I m glad it s over and I can read something else. Voices In The Night Short Stories by Steven MillhauserThe Pulitzer and Story Prize winner, Steven Millhauser, has created sixteen new short stories that will thrill readers of his previous works.Several stories view the private musings of ordinary people in an unorthodox way At times you are in a small town that seems to be infected with something supernatural and extraordinary In other instances you feel the weight of spiritual reflection as a person struggles to define religion and faith Family relationships are explored and raw emotions surface The face that is seen by the world doesn t always reflect what the person feels or is thinking The reader shares the confusion, disappointment, fear, anxiety, despair, hopes and hopelessness.My favorite stories draw on popular fables and the new perspectives will dazzle and amaze You meet Rapunzel and her Prince like you have never seen them before Millhausen presents an anecdotal event in the life of Paul Bunyan that will have you in stitches.A couple of stories seemed to drag the narrative along too long The message was there long before the story ended.Overall I found it to be a wonderful read that was savored one story a night a delight I looked forward to each evening.One story, The Place, had a startling effect on my psyche It touched a familiar yearning in my being and I found myself magically transported to treasured memories.I was granted access to the digital review copy of Voices in the Night in Edelweiss by Random House. |DOWNLOAD BOOK ⚑ Voices in the Night ♞ From The Pulitzer And Story Prize Winner Sixteen New Stories Provocative, Funny, Disturbing, Enchanting That Delve Into The Secret Lives And Desires Of Ordinary People, Alongside Retellings Of Myths And Legends That Highlight The Aspirations Of The Human Spirit Beloved For The Lens Of The Strange He Places On Small Town Life, Steven Millhauser Further Reveals In Voices In The Night The Darkest Parts Of Our Inner Selves To Brilliant And Dazzling Effect Here Are Stories Of Wondrously Imaginative Hyperrealism, Stories That Pose Unforgettably Unsettling What Ifs, Or That Find Barely Perceivable Evils Within The Safe Boundaries Of Our Towns, Homes, And Even Within Our Bodies Here, Too, Are Stories Culled From Religion And Fables Samuel, Who Hears The Voice Of God Calling Him In The Night A Young, Pre Enlightenment Buddha, Who Searches For His Purpose In Life Rapunzel And Her Prince, Who Struggle To Fit The Real World To Their Dream Heightened By Magic, The Divine, And The Uncanny, Shot Through With Sly And Winning Humor, Voices In The Night Seamlessly Combines The Whimsy And Surprise Of The Familiar With Intoxicating Fantasies That Take Us Beyond Our Daily Lives, All Done With The Hallmark Sleight Of Hand And Astonishing Virtuosity Of One Of Our Greatest Contemporary Storytellers I loved the prose, the writing itself than the ideas in the stories I compulsively don t read short story collections in order Some times they work out better for the collection, and sometimes they don t This is the time it didn t I read the different ideas first American Tall Tale, A Voice in the Night Enjoyed them immensely Then I read Arcadia and loved that too But after Arcadia all stories seemed to have a common theme darkness, melancholy and death I can take that in small doses, but in this case they felt same y the restlessness of a small town, something unexpected happening, and the small town people reacting in odd and spectacular ways There was a break or two Rapunzel, which was an amazing retelling of the fairytale was probably the highlight of the entire book and I enjoyed The Pleasures and Sufferings of Young Gautama, surprisingly, even though I grew up with the story and have never been particularly enchanted or moved by it But on the whole, the collection disappointed me I fell in love with the writing, but not the ideas This is my first book by Steven Millhauser, and I m confident that I ll love Martin Dressler. The stories in this book are romantic and vivid, despite being short in length Millhauser manages to get quickly to the heart of his stories without feeling rushed or laboring too long on philosophical ideas On the surface, this collection of short stories covers a wide variety of genres and topics, but the magic that Millhauser has spun within these stories are the common themes and symbols that tie the stories together. Really the premiere magical realism author in many ways Millhauser s strengths are many, but primarily atmospheric, conceptual and There are regular hallmarks of a Millhauser story They re almost always set in picture perfect, timeless, whitebread neighborhoods then the calm is disrupted by some element that goes out of control It s almost a little formulaic but Millhauser knows his style, his voice and there s no one really like him If there is humor, it s very dry and suppressed He summons scenes and settings from his childhood constantly I m always fascinated by his work.