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First, Body by Melanie Rae Thon

First, Body (edition 1997)

by Melanie Rae Thon

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692173,491 (3.58)1
Title:First, Body
Authors:Melanie Rae Thon
Info:Houghton Mifflin (1997), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 165 pages
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First, Body: Stories by Melanie Rae Thon



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St. Barts 2013 #4 - A dark collections of stories by Thon that leave me with mixed feelings.....I enjoyed the first one very much until the end when I completely lost track of what was going on....thinking 'why did she go and derail a perfectly good story?' The next several stories also contained this 'stream of conscious' quality that again left me scratching my head....(again, I'm no genius here....I read for enjoyment)....ready to give up, I was progressively surprised with the final few stories in this book, my favorite being the last one, 'Necessary Angels.' Thematically on the down side, but with some merit, 3 stars is all i can give. ( )
  jeffome | Jan 18, 2013 |
I'm particularly fascinated by literary representations of the human body, that process that turns ink and paper into flesh and bone, so it's hard for me to give "First, Body" a negative review. Thon's body-centric collection of short stories does, at any rate, deliver on its premise: the human form undergoes a dizzying number of permutations here, and the author describes its constantly shifting appearance and meaning with great care. At the same time, readers who like to enjoy seeing the solidity and physicality of our bodies expressed in print are likely to be disappointed. While Thon's prose is focused on the physical, it also has an airy, delicate quality to it that's miles away from, say, Hemingway or Lawrence's unapologetic celebrations of the flesh. Several of these stories also veer into fantasy or new age territory and, while these themes are dealt with skilfully, they may not be to everyone's taste. More problematic still is the fact that many of these stories deal with bodies that have been abused or neglected. Again, Thon shows genuine empathy for her characters, but I'm still not sure there's a way to write about underage homeless prostitutes without seeming sort of exploitative – heck, ask "J.T. Leroy" about that. These criticisms are mostly matters of personal taste, though, and might have somethig to do with your reviewer's male gender and expectations. Thon's book is still a good addition to what we might call the literature of the body, the way that our physical forms look, feel, act and breathe in text. ( )
  TheAmpersand | Aug 27, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 039578588X, Hardcover)

"Two nurses with scissors could make a man naked in eleven seconds." The first sentence of the first story from this collection grabs you and offers an insightful metaphor for all that is to come. With dark and seductive prose, Thon strips away the surface of her characters to get to the raw heart of being. Her characters' lives are edged with pain, addiction, loneliness, and dire circumstances. Sex is an act of survival, drugs less a matter of choice than necessity, human contact less an act of intimacy than a jostling for position. And Thon dumps you right into the middle of these desperate lives, graced only with her lyrical and searching voice. Although it's a slender collection, barely more than 150 pages, it hits you hard--you'll want to catch your breath after each story. Granta has declared Thon to be among the best young American novelists, and this collection does not belie the accolades.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:21 -0400)

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Seven stories on the seamy side of life. The story, Nobody's Daughter is on a homeless black girl, while Father, Lover, Deadman, Dreamer is on a woman who ran over a drunk 20 years earlier and is still haunted by it.

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