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Out of the Girls' Room and Into the Night:…
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Out of the Girls' Room and Into the Night: Stories

by Thisbe Nissen

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Like William Adama, I am not a loaner of books. A giver of books, surely, but a loaner, no. When I hand over a book, I assume it’s gone forever, and if I really like it, I pick up a new copy for myself. This quirk is based on my own foibles: I am terrible when it comes to returning phone calls, emails, and good books.

Luckily for me, my friend Amy is a much more generous soul. When she came to visit me in the hospital (and when a friend sees you looking that bad and still gives you a hug, she’s a keeper), she brought her favorite book, Thisbe Nissen’s collection of stories Out of the Girls’ Room and Into the Night, to keep me company. [Amy and my neighbors Katie and Elena also performed many miraculous acts of cooking and kindness over those ten days, for which I am eternally and profoundly grateful.]

It’s simply wonderful. Every story is engaging, every character wholly realized. One story might make me laugh, and another might make me feel like my stomach had fallen to my feet. These are tales of the perilous nights and days of youth, ranging from cold midwest college towns to the Nevada desert and Manhattan’s apartment landscapes. And I’d almost forgotten the pleasure of reading short stories; like biting into a perfectly ripe pear, with the accompanying satisfaction of finishing the whole thing in one sitting.

That said, I can’t wait to read Ms. Nissen’s novels. Thanks Amy!
  Oh_Carolyn | Sep 27, 2013 |
Thisbe Nissen's short story collection captures snippets of love. Each story is wildly different in tone, age of the characters, geographical location, and chronological era. It amazes me that Nissen is able to write with such authenticity from such divergent points of view. Almost every story points out some aspect of the human experience that I had not heretofore considered, or had maybe thought unique to myself. Nissen explores all types of love, as well, not just romantic. There is the young man taking a road trip with his younger, special-needs brother; there are the parents struggling to deal with their daughter's anorexia; there is the young lady who cannot help but adopt one more cat. Each tale is poignant and descriptive without being flowery or trying to hard to be poetic. (That's a big problem I have with capital-L Literature, I feel like its trying too hard; forcing similes and metaphors in an attempt to be inventive and artsy.)
Each story ended a little too soon, for my taste, but I was prepared for that having read other reviews, so it wasn't as jarring or crazy-making as I might have found it had I just jumped in. Fortunately, though, a couple of the stories contained in this book have been merged and extended into a later book Nissen has written by the name of The Good People of New York. I do wish she'd do more of this. I'd particularly like to read extended versions of the title story "Out of the Girls Room and Into the Night" and "The Girl at Chichen Itza."
Overall, a quite satisfying story collection. Recommended for those who enjoy Literature without being snooty, and those who can deal with a lack of closure. ( )
1 vote EmScape | Oct 27, 2012 |
This book irritated the hell out of me. Every story left me feeling like I was a hungry dog and the author was dangling a piece of meat in front of me, only to snatch it away just as I went for it. As soon as I would start to get into a story, it would abruptly end, leaving me with no kind of closure or a lot of times, no explanation as to what the story was even about or what it's purpose was. Don't get me wrong; I've read books before where this technique was utilized and walked away from the book feeling fine about it. However with this book, it just didn't work. The only story I liked, could understand and relate to was the very last one, of course! There were 2 more I liked, but again, the endings just ruined them. Overall, I just feel like it was a waste of my time. ( )
  paperdoll | May 17, 2006 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 038572053X, Paperback)

In Thisbe Nissen's award-winning debut story collection, characters teeter on the verge of love, of life, of oncoming cataclysms after which Things Will Never Be the Same. Against the varied backdrops of Grateful Dead shows, anniversary parties, sickrooms, and bright Manhattan vestibules, Nissen traces the joy, terror, and electric surprise that flash between people as they suddenly connect. A fifteen-year-old girl whose mother is slowly dying finds solace in the bed of her best friend's older brother. A wife remembers the early romance in her marriage as she watches her husband's hand, shaky with Parkinson's, lift a bite of food to his mouth. Longtime friends are jolted by their unforeseen attraction to each other; new lovers feel their way by instinct in vans, on futons, an during risky, late-night conversation. Knowing, often hilarious, and always pitch-perfect, Nissen's tales hang inside those moments when the heart is acting and the head is watching, hopeful that the heart is doing the right thing.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:05:32 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

An anthology featuring adolescent women. One story is on sexual exploration with a man, in another it's a woman with a woman, and there are stories on college life, friendship and feminism.

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