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Ideas of Heaven: A Ring of Stories by Joan…
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Ideas of Heaven: A Ring of Stories (2004)

by Joan Silber

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1757102,380 (3.68)39

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
I don't usually like short stories, because they often leave me feeling unsatisfied. But these each covered many years of a person's life, and that and the connections among them gave much more of a sense of completion.
Yet another one of those "I don't like this kind of thing, but I like this instance of it" books.
( )
  JenneB | Apr 2, 2013 |
Loosely connected short stories, spanning two centires. ( )
  AnneliM | Aug 12, 2008 |
While she can't match Alice Munro or Joyce Carol Oates, this is nevertheless a very competent book of short stories, both historical and contemporary. I particularly enjoyed Ideas of Heaven. I thought that the character devolopment of Liz from a very young and idealistic wife and mother to missionary torn between the welfare of her children and the need to convert the Chinese to christianity was very well done. With the Boxer rebellion in the background, Liz, like so many women, sees the practicalities and realities of the situation and agonizes over what she has sacrified. very well done. ( )
  bhowell | Apr 23, 2008 |
One of the best short story collections I've read in several years. Silber subtly connects each story--you have to think a bit, in some cases, to see the connection. I'm not a conventionally 'religious' person, but this book left me feeling spiritually moved by the various concepts of faith the characters experience, from missionary zeal to belief in oneself to hope in the form of the most unexpected fellow human. ( )
1 vote Cariola | Jul 31, 2007 |
I really enjoy Silber's prose and these connected series of short stories are engaging and thought-provoking. I enjoyed the ways the very different stories were interwoven--each story could stand on its own, but also exists as part of a larger whole. ( )
  penguinasana | Jun 26, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 039332687X, Paperback)

Shortlisted for the National Book Award: "Joan Silber writes with wisdom, humor, grace, and wry intelligence. Her characters bear welcome news of how we will survive."—Andrea Barrett

Intense in subject yet restrained in tone, these stories are about longings—often held for years—and the ways in which sex and religion can become parallel forms of dedication and comfort. Though the stories stand alone, a minor element in one becomes major in the next. In "My Shape", a woman is taunted by her dance coach, who later suffers his own heartache. A Venetian poet of the 1500s, another storyteller, is introduced to a modern traveler reading Rilke. His story precedes a mesmerizing narrative of missionaries in China. In the final story, Giles, born to a priesthood family, leans toward Buddhism after a grievous loss, and in time falls in love with the dancer of the first story. So deft and subtle is Joan Silber with these various perspectives that we come full circle surprised and enchanted by her myriad worlds. National Book Award finalist. Reading group guide included.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:00 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"Set in France, Italy, New York, and China, in past and present, these stories cover lifetimes, much in the manner of Alice Munro and William Trevor. Intense in subject yet calm in tone, they are about longing - often held for years - and the ways sex and religion become parallel forms of dedication and comfort." "As the stories move along, a minor element in one turns major in the next. In "My Shape" a woman is taunted by her dance coach, who later suffers his own heartache. A Venetian poet of the 1500s, another storyteller, is introduced to a modern traveler reading Rilke. His story precedes a mesmerizing narrative of missionaries in China. In the final story, Giles, born to a priesthood family, leans toward Buddhism after a grievous loss, and in time falls in love with the dancer of the first story."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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W.W. Norton

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