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The miniature wife and other stories by…

The miniature wife and other stories (edition 2013)

by Manuel Gonzales

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10826111,760 (3.74)30
Title:The miniature wife and other stories
Authors:Manuel Gonzales
Info:New York : Riverhead Books, 2013.
Collections:Your library
Tags:Books of 2012, Dec 12

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The Miniature Wife: and Other Stories by Manuel Gonzales



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Deadpan absurdist short stories. The best of them are very good, but a sameness in tone and technique prevents the collection as a whole from fully satisfying.

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  MusicalGlass | May 3, 2014 |
Short stories, and the author has a very contemporary magical realism style. When it worked, it was really different and evocative -- the stand-out was a story about a zombie who worked in an office, doing payroll, and I was also very impressed with one about a composer who spoke through his ears -- but sometimes it felt a little repetitive, a little forced in, like HOW ABSURD CAN I MAKE THIS? ( )
  delphica | Jan 31, 2014 |
The trouble with collections of short stories is that it’s really hard to have different voices for every story. Most of the time they all start sounding alike. I absolutely loved this collection because even though the stories were all different and very unique, none of the narrators sounded alike. This was a brilliant first novel by Manuel Gonzales.

All of the stories were so inventive and so surreal that this book really held my attention from beginning to end. I don’t think there was one that fell short for me. Some of my favourites were “The Disappearance of the Sebali Tribe” where two anthropologists disappear after discovering a new tribe, and the TWO zombie stories “All of Me” and “Escape from the Mall” that reminded me of Warm Bodies and Dawn of the Dead. Other good ones were “Wolf” about a man who turns into a werewolf and how his family copes and “Farewell, Africa”, which is a really strange story about what happens when the continent of Africa sinks.

These are really weird stories, but there’s something utterly charming and captivating about them. I’m addicted to this author already and definitely going to check out any future books he writes. ( )
  jadestar31 | Dec 4, 2013 |
Although I can't say that I liked all the stories in this collection I did like several. Among my favorites was the title story "Miniature Wife" and the first story about a high-jacked airplane, as well as the Mall story which kept my interest all the way through. It is hard to describe these stories, the best I can come up with is it is like falling asleep and having a really out there dream and than waking up and thinking "Where did that come from?" That is what some of these were like, and once again the imagination of the human mind can be astonishing. ( )
  Beamis12 | Mar 7, 2013 |
The Miniature Wife and Other Stories by Manuel Gonzalez is a bizarre collection of tales that at times reminded me of Kafka, not so much in style as in having all involved routinely accept sharp divergences from the reality we know. In the title story, for example, a husband who works at a "miniaturizing" facility finds his wife has somehow been accidentally miniaturized, and she's far from happy about it. Developing events would have made for a suitably creepy "Twilight Zone" entry, and her plight made me think of Gregor waking up as a sentient cockroach.

Some are just morbidly funny, like “Cash to a Killing,” where two hired killers kill the wrong guy, have to dig him back up because of a missing wallet, and then make a different, critical mistake.

Many are narrated in the first person by men who are badly coping with their given reality because of cluelessness, or mistaken views, or in one surprisingly haunting story, "All of Me" because of the protagonist's belief that he's a zombie when others can't see it. The one other zombie-based story, "Escape from the Mall", is probably the weakest story in the bunch, with the tip-off on the main plot development coming too early in the story. One quite poignant story is centered on what appears to be a captured unicorn (first perceived as a "pearlescent undersized horse") who viewers can't resist. Other stories include "The Disappearance of the Sebali Tribe" about an extraordinarily detailed anthropological and academic con job, and another, "The Artist's Voice", involves a composer whose classical music creations seem inextricably tied to his progressive physical deterioration.

Some have connected Gonzalez' writing to that of Borges, but I haven't read enough of Borges to do the same. It certainly is a high compliment. This is a talented author with a wide-ranging imagination and an understanding heart. Thanks to Mark for recommending this. Because these are short stories, it's hard to quote much without giving them away. Here's an example of the deadpan weirdness from the title story "The Miniature Wife":

"Only in hindsight did I find it odd that the door was unlocked. I expected to see her waiting for me on the kitchen counter or on the coffee table. I stepped gingerly around the house, the cups around my ears so that I might hear her. Then I heard a noise from the upstairs bedroom, where I kept her dollhouse. Of course, I thought. The dollhouse! How silly of me to have forgotten!" ( )
5 vote jnwelch | Feb 11, 2013 |
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A collection of short works set in a range of fantastical settings explores such themes as disproportional guilt, the reinvention of self, and the powerful urges to defend and provide for loved ones.

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