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Understories by Tim Horvath
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Understories

by Tim Horvath

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These are stories born in that zone of distortion before falling into dreams, but instead of dissolving in the daylight of reality, they are brought into heightened relief. Crowding, jostling ideas bump against the 3D prose, merging and splitting until prose and ideas are indistinguishable.
Exhilarating, funny, it exercises mind muscles you didn't know you have.
Nancy Pearl's description of 'elastic realism' fits it perfectly.
( )
  TheBookJunky | Apr 22, 2016 |
Borges via New York and New England. I taught "The Understories" alongside "The Things They Carried" and the students got the contrast in perspectives--the soldier vs. the refugee--and they saw how history doesn't necessarily repeat itself, but instead shows up at our door and says "you haven't been taking my calls." A fantastic collection. Funny, smart, and a page turner. Can't wait to read what Horvath has next for us. ( )
  mkgutierrez | Oct 23, 2015 |
I tried to like this, given how many positive reviews it has. I also must confess that I am not a big fan of short story collections in general, and reading this book is part of my effort to expand what I read (via the 2015 Category Challenge). Still, I felt that I was failing to understand the point of many of them. When I read, I want to have empathy for the plight of a main character and for most of these, that was not the case. Still, there was one that I loved out of all of them, and that was one of the longer ones about a German Jew who is a biology field professor during and after WWII and his connection to the forests around him. The parallels to the human condition and what prevails were moving. Other than that, I was not enthralled. ( )
  lynetterl | Jan 13, 2015 |
This book reads like poetry combined with a day dream. Not just any daydream, though... These are the day dreams you don't share, and may only think about writing in your journal. Somehow, though, Horvath turned those day dreams into a wonderful collection of stories that I will likely read a few times over. ( )
  KRaySaulis | Aug 13, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I accidentally buried this book after I received it, but dug it out after hearing Nancy Pearl rave about it on NPR. I didn't like it quite as much as she did because I thought it was fairly inconsistent. Some stories were great; some less so. While I appreciate that the stories weren't repetitive, the end result was variable. These aren't science fiction stories, but they definitely are speculative (and sometimes surreal). ( )
  kbuxton | Aug 9, 2014 |
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Book description
What if there was a city that consisted only of restaurants? What if Paul Gauguin had gone to Greenland instead of Tahiti? What if there was a field called Umbrology, the study of shadows, where physicists and shadow puppeteers worked side by side? Tim Horvath explores all of this and more as he blends the everyday and wondrous to contend with age-old themes of loss, identity, imagination, and the search for human connection.

Full of speculative daring though firmly anchored in the tradition of realism, these stories easily stand in the company of contemporary masters such as Steven Millhauser and Jim Shepard. Whether making offhand references to Mystery Science Theater, providing a new perspective on Heidegger’s philosophy and forays into Nazism, or following the imaginary travels of a library book, Horvath’s writing is as entertaining as it is thought-provoking.
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"What if there were a city that consisted only of restaurants? What if Paul Gauguin had gone to Greenland instead of Tahiti? What if there were a field called Umbrology, the study of shadows, where physicists and shadow puppeteers worked side by side? Full of speculative daring though firmly anchored in the tradition of realism, Tim Horvath's stories explore all of this and more--blending the everyday and wondrous to contend with age-old themes of loss, identity, imagination, and the search for human connection"--BAck cover.… (more)

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