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Vacation on the Island of Ex-Boyfriends

by Stacy Bierlein

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5729344,285 (3.03)5
Quirks of fate highlight this debut short story collection whose characters are women of dazzling ironies and introspections, always in motion and trusting in love--even when it remains out of reach. Two friends plan a visit to Nantucket, but find themselves on a different island completely, where the men they have loved are lined up on the beach in chronological order; a grieving mother and daughter encounter naked strangers in unexpected places en route to the Dordogne River; a restless New York artist travels to Madrid to find a European lover, only to fall for another persnickety New Yorker. From the mysterious island in the Atlantic to the crowded highways of Los Angeles and  from the Charles Bridge in Prague to the temples of Luxor and the most remote regions of the Myanmar peninsula, the worlds invented here are inspiring and unique, original in the manner through which the physical landscape never fails to inform the emotional one.… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This review probably says more about me than it does about the book, but I'll let you figure out what, exactly, you can learn about me.

As for the book, while I enjoy short stories, I do not enjoy a collection that reads like a woman telling all her regrets. I was expecting one story about ex-boyfriends, but instead I got ALL the ex-boyfriends. This bored me.

Not only was it boring for me to read, I can only imagine how boring it must be for one author to write. Perhaps if this had been a collection from many authors... but it wasn't.
1 vote poshorange | Jan 16, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This was a very interesting collection of short stories. Every story dealt with relationships, but some in a healthier way than others. My two favorites would probably be the first and last ones, “A Vacation on the Island of Ex-Boyfriends” and “An Interrogation at the Prison of Ex-Girlfriends”—fitting bookends as the titles imply—which had a sort of fantasy feel to them. I also liked “The Challenge of Acting Normal” which was perhaps the happiest of these rather somber tales. ( )
  bookwyrmm | Nov 8, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Enjoyed this collection, particularly the title story, A Vacation on the island of Ex-Boyfriends.
I wished this story had been a little bit longer, as it had an interesting premise. ( )
  fuzzy_pickle | Oct 10, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The title of this book intrigued me, so I picked this book as an Early Reviewer and then had a hard time getting to it. I always had something better to read. Finally when I started reading this book I realized it was not a novel but short stories. The first story gave me some food for thought and it was cleverly written, however I did not like the other stories as much. I agree with one of the other reviewers and was looking for some theme to run throughout the book. ( )
  motivatedmomma | Oct 9, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Although I am not normally a short story reader, I was quite interested in this book based on the publisher's blurb. I found it to be somewhat outside my own worldview, but very creative, Ms. Bierlein has a unique way of looking at the world and there were more than a couple of times that the stories in this book made me think from a different perspective or marvel at her turn of a phrase. I enjoyed this book and will probably re-read some of the stories in the future. It definitely made me think.

(Review based on complimentary Advance Reader copy.) ( )
  wcath | Jul 24, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
Dedication
For my girlfriends, who never fail to bring wisdom and laughter to the journey
First words
In three days we have played, cried, ran, fought, laughed, danced, and built fires with them all -- every man we've ever wanted. We're exhausted.
Quotations
A fine conmoción fills the air. It is a Spanish word with no English equivalent, one my second grade teacher said with her softest voice. It is the joy held in common by a gathering of people.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Quirks of fate highlight this debut short story collection whose characters are women of dazzling ironies and introspections, always in motion and trusting in love--even when it remains out of reach. Two friends plan a visit to Nantucket, but find themselves on a different island completely, where the men they have loved are lined up on the beach in chronological order; a grieving mother and daughter encounter naked strangers in unexpected places en route to the Dordogne River; a restless New York artist travels to Madrid to find a European lover, only to fall for another persnickety New Yorker. From the mysterious island in the Atlantic to the crowded highways of Los Angeles and  from the Charles Bridge in Prague to the temples of Luxor and the most remote regions of the Myanmar peninsula, the worlds invented here are inspiring and unique, original in the manner through which the physical landscape never fails to inform the emotional one.

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Two friends plan a visit to Nantucket, but find themselves on a different island completely, where the men they have loved are lined up on the beach in chronological order. A grieving mother and daughter encounter naked strangers in unexpected places en route to the Dordogne River. A restless New York artist travels to Madrid to find a European lover, only to fall for another persnickety New Yorker. Such quirks of fate are the hallmark of Stacy Bierlein’ s debut story collection. From that mysterious island in the Atlantic to the crowded highways of Los Angeles; from the Charles Bridge in Prague, to the temples of Luxor and the most remote regions of the Myanmar peninsula, Bierlein's characters are women of dazzling ironies and introspections, always in motion and trusting in love--even when it remains out of reach.
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