The Middle Stories

Sheila Heti

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The Middle Stories

The Middle Stories Wildly acclaimed in Canada this book published there by Anansi marks the debut of a remarkable young writer first published by McSweeney s when she was twenty three and living at home with her dad

  • Title: The Middle Stories
  • Author: Sheila Heti
  • ISBN: 9780971904729
  • Page: 141
  • Format: Paperback
  • Wildly acclaimed in Canada, this book, published there by Anansi, marks the debut of a remarkable young writer, first published by McSweeney s when she was twenty three and living at home with her dad and brother The Middle Stories is a strikingly original collection of stories, fables, and short brutalities that are alternately heartwarming, cruel, and hilarious.

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      Published :2018-06-23T10:00:46+00:00

    One thought on “The Middle Stories

    1. Holly on said:

      Low ratings mean nothing to me when it comes to choosing a book. I realize is skewed towards a certain kind of book, and all literature which dareth deviate from market demand does so at its own peril. So Sheila Heti didn't scare me. But here where is the effort? Where is the labor? Lydia Davis has no trouble using minimalism to genius effect. But these stories could have been written by anyone. I don't need moralizing; I don't need plot. What I do need is something more than a collection of ta [...]

    2. Ryan on said:

      I am so enthralled with Heti's short stories. They're give the impression of short, modern fairy tales, but without any discernible moral or purpose. They seem to challenge the reader to find some meaning in them, then veer away from closure or moral at the last moment. Some are depressing, some are heartbreaking, some are just downright amusing. Highly recommended, if you can find a copy of this woefully underprinted collection.

    3. Zach on said:

      For me, this was a book of little moments, smaller even than the shortness of the stories that contained them. While the stories didn't always grab me with the depth of their meaning (too existential for that, both me and the writing), they were composed of many little scenes and individual lines that did.The short short is a strange form, in that I think personal aesthetic plays a more important role. In a novel, an author has time to drawn me into the prose, into the flow of thought. In a shor [...]

    4. Ben Rankel on said:

      What did i think? A lot of things. From, "What the hell am I reading?" to "Ok, maybe this is going somewhere" to "Nope" to "Is this poor writing intentional?" to "Nope, again" to "Holy crap, I'm only 33% through this thing".Every time I began to hope a point was being made the author would quickly upend that idea and turn me out to the next meandering story. Some might argue that itself is the point. I wouldn't argue I'd just walk away, slowly shaking my head.Maybe I just don't get it.

    5. Marie-Therese on said:

      Tiny, deceptively simple stories written in a deadpan style that frequently masks the visceral poetry and punch of Heti's individual sentences. While an occasional tale here comes off as slightly twee or underbaked, most are subtly disturbing and a few are genuinely powerful and moving. This little book can be read in about an hour but its effect on the emotions lingers on long afterwards.

    6. Humantooth on said:

      Someone on the back of the cover reviewed this as "They are the sort of stories you would read to children before tucking them into bed for the night, if you wanted them to wrestle with existential angst before falling asleep." and I agree, it's way cute. Someone on this site reviewed this using the prefix "psuedo-" like 8 times and I think she should change her tampon because you can get toxic shock syndrome.

    7. A.J. on said:

      Fresh, original, and funny. As in any collection, some stories are better than others; the best stories here are wonderful and ring with truth. Russell Smith's description, folk tales without morals, is apt.But I find myself wondering if, after putting this on the stove and bringing it to a rolling boil until only the essence remained, I'd find much left at all. These stories are more interesting on their surfaces than in their depths.

    8. Rhian on said:

      Okay, I added two stars and erased my old review. I actually did an enlightening exercise: I tried imitating the stories myself. They're still not the kind of thing I like, and feel like they rang untrue much of the time, but there is more here than first meets the eye.

    9. Chad on said:

      Even though I'm about to send this to a distant friend in Greece whom I met for one rainy night in Montreal, I love this little book.

    10. Rand on said:

      this book is fucking hilarious. tight little narratives that tell you nothing and everything of life, all at once.highly recommended.

    11. Jérôme Jaglale on said:

      An unusual book for me:- I felt a lot of things had a hidden meaning that I didn't get.- sometimes, it felt deep and beautiful.- other times, it was horrible.- it's always strangely entertaining though.- I thought it was a modern book but it was written 15 years ago.- I thought the author was one of those modern young people who feel they have to be different just to be different, but the author is older than me.:)

    12. Ben Richmond on said:

      Has that incisive Heti look at internal lives and selfishness(es?) and such, but sometimes stops short of seemingly making any point at all. But they're fun little jewel boxes of stories. None really SNAP you know?

    13. Heather on said:

      This book of thirty short stories is odd and sometimes funny and definitely grew on me: I read it quickly, and wasn't sure how much I liked it, and then I read it again and I liked it more. (Though, as the blurb on the back cover from Helen DeWitt puts it, "Heti's stories don't care if you like them: they were Cleopatra in a former life.")Some of the stories have elements of fairy tales or nursery rhymes in their titles/characters/situations, but they're fairy tales gone strange: the first story [...]

    14. Bean on said:

      This one perhaps I didn't take enough a grain of salt to garnish with. One reviewer deems it "spare" which seems to be the nice and glorified way these days for empty. I get that Heti's not big on plot, which is fine, but there is little to drive these stories. I found it hilariously tragic that the quotation page too holds a mark of our time: "In 'The Poet and the Novelist as Roommates,' the poet says, 'It has been so in politics, it has been so in religion, and it has been so in every other de [...]

    15. Maggie Gordon on said:

      What a strange little book "The Middle Stories" is. On the back, Alan Reed describes the book as "the sort of stories you would read to children before tucking them into bed for the night, if you wanted them to wrestle with existential angst before falling asleep". That is possibly the most apt way of describing Heti's odd piece of work. The book is filled with short stories, often with a bit of a fairy tale bent. But they are speaking to modern generations. The narratives feel a bit like early [...]

    16. Shonna Froebel on said:

      These stories are all stories with an odd twist to them. Fairy tales gone wrong such as women that live alone in a shoe and mermaids held captive in glass jars. People who think they know what they want until they get it and find that they don't want it after all. People who wander aimlessly through life looking for a purpose. Each story offers a different surprise, a different way of thinking. These are not happy stories, but are they are stories that make you think.This edition offers nine new [...]

    17. Chaserrrr on said:

      A collection of "stories" that are more like sparse, haunting snapshots or fables scant of moral that teeter on the verge of absurdity and surrealism while remaining defiantly simplistic and all asparkle with existential dread. "The Raspberry Bush", "The Princess and The Plumber", "A Bench For Marianne and Todd", and "The Sort of Woman Freeman Loved" are some personal favorites. This led me to seek out Heti's novel "How Should A Person Be?" which also seems to take great joy in being difficult t [...]

    18. Robert Hudder on said:

      I read this book and was delighted. Many of the stories share the same writerly tricks. When they work, they are fun and thoughtful but when they don't, they are well written almost parables. If the writing is this good in small spaces, maybe I will try out a larger space and see how it is filled out? I will be reading something else by Heti but this would be an easy introduction for someone trying to figure out why all the fuss.

    19. Molly Gaudry on said:

      "The Princess and the Plumber" is amazing. Surprising at almost every turn. Fresh, timely, emotional, provocative. I think it speaks to Jack Zipes's concern that the reteller of fairy tales has an ethical obligation to not just retell (the past) but to recast narrative worlds and events in ways that necessarily reflect and comment upon important social issues of our own time. It's going into my course pack for sure.

    20. Brandon on said:

      I'm a fan of Mcsweeney's and certainly of modern fairy tales and fables. There are a few that work here, but there are a few that don't quite have the payoff I was hoping for, as in the manner of, say, Barthelme or Coover. "The Man From Out of Town" was really good and strange, but "The Giant," which showed promise, was quite a let down in the end. Most of the stories are extremely short; a very fast read.

    21. Jack Waters on said:

      'The Middle Stories' contain fables, farces, and tales which draw laughter and concern throughout. The concern is no so much a negative connotation, but rather a confrontation with possibilities in which the reader can witness the reactions of a character in a situation that might seem familiar, but is acted upon in ways which might seem askew from apparent normalcy. Heti has written a book to be enjoyed time and time again.

    22. Becky Thompson on said:

      and she realized that she was twenty-one, and she thought of her life, "What a waste," and nothing convinced her otherwise. Walking past a fountain on his way to the train station, he passed a girl of late teenage years who was blond and who he supposed would like the companionship of a man like him. Dragging her into the park he tore out two-thirds of her hair. These were best described to me as "short brutalities". I like that. That's exactly what these are. And they were fantastic.

    23. Kaycie Hall on said:

      I read this collection in about a day, and I'm not sure what I think about it. I enjoyed reading it, but sometimes I didn't know if all of the stories really had a point (but then again, do they have to? Maybe not).I'd say Heti's writing, in this collection at least as I've never read any of her novels, is a cross between Miranda July and Aimee Bender.

    24. Njy on said:

      The cover, although very inventive, is a turnoff. Some of the stories in here are the same. But some of the stories here are genius. This book got an extra star for "The Novelist and the Poet as Roommates" alone, simply because it is among the five best short stories I have ever read. It takes a while to get used to the brutally honest fairy tale style, but damn is the effort worth it.

    25. Gena on said:

      I like Heti's writing and the kind of brutal humor of these pieces but this collection felt like a series of exercises more than anything else. McSweeney's really did a hack job on the copyediting, which did not help.

    26. Laura on said:

      This was such a let-down after How Should a Person Be, which I loved. Maybe I’ll reread it at a later time to see if I feel the same, but ugh. Some of the stories were bad. I probably would’ve loved them when they first came out, though.

    27. Suzanne on said:

      What a delightfully odd collection of absurd fairytale-esque tiny stories. Overall I found the collection to be a very mixed bag, but I'm still very glad I finally read it and was incredibly charmed by Heti's fabulous ability to weave a good tale. Looking forward to reading more of her work.

    28. Jessica on said:

      I heard an interview with Sheila Heti recently and was looking forward to reading her work. This is a book of short fables, but I've read a number of books of fables this year, and this was lackluster compared to the others. Perhaps I have to read something else by Heti.

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