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The Reasons I Won't Be Coming by Elliot…
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The Reasons I Won't Be Coming (2005)

by Elliot Perlman

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Showing 4 of 4
I love Elliot Perlman. The thing about an anthology is that it's very difficult to write a cohesive review of the entire text without just talking about each individual story. I was surprised that the last story took up approximately half of the book; of course, it was an excellent story. All of the selections contained that signature Perlman style I've come to know and love, and for that I'm grateful.
  Esquiress | Jun 23, 2011 |
Perlman likes to address himself to you and because I don't read much from this perspective, it's off-putting. Many of the stories here address me the reader as if I were someone else, leaving me scant clues as to who and what my relationship is to the narrator. While intriguing, it leaves me too distanced from the story. He is talented though and I find his writing to have depth and resonance; he makes me think about things differently, which may be the positive aspect of his odd framing. My favorite one would have to be the final; A Tale in Two Cities. ( )
  Bookmarque | Sep 3, 2008 |
Released after his award-winning novel 'Three Dollars' but before his massive work 'Seven types of ambiguity', this collection of short stories by Elliot Perlman shares many characteristics of both those other books.

Each of these nine stories, to my mind, deals with an aspect of loss - the loss of friends, lovers, family; the loss of innocence; the loss of hope and the loss of life. Perlman's great skill is in showing us how his characters deal with these dilemmas, or, in some cases, fail to deal with them.

In this respect the stories remind me very much of 'Three dollars'. I suspect that many of the stories were written before that first novel because you can see in them the development of Perlman's style. His writing is imbued with a deep social conscience, exploring the lives of those living on the fringes of society.

Perlman is obviously well read, his writing being littered with many obscure literary references, reminding me very much of his second novel 'Seven types of ambiguity', which referred to the work of William Empson (among many others). My favourite story in this collection is 'I was only in a childish way', which refers to the work of Russian poet Osip Mandelstam. I'd never heard of this writer, and one of the great strengths of Perlman's writing is that it inspires me to do further reading.

It's interesting to note also, that this story is one of few in this collection that contains a sizable portion of dialogue. I think some reviewers have criticised Perlman's writing for containing too much narration and not enough dialogue. While I enjoy all of Perlman's writing, I do think the inclusion of dialogue makes the story more readable.

If, like me, you've read Perlman's novels first, I think you will enjoy this collection of stories. If you haven't read any of his writing, then this is a great place to start.
  mproeger | Dec 4, 2007 |
Showing 4 of 4
Perlman shapes his tales of bruised humanity from the detritus of strained relationships. Fond of psychiatric and legal terms, characters wander in a Kübler-Rossian ether, pointing out logical flaws in each other’s emotions.
 
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0571196993, Paperback)

This collection of stories explores the late-20th-century world of downsizing, anxiety and sexual confusion. An office worker discovers his lover's betrayal via e-mail, and a woman hires a private detective and trawls through the underworld for her brother.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:05:45 -0400)

A collection of nine short tales explores the complex worlds of such protagonists as lovers, poets, lawyers, immigrants, students, and murderers, in a volume that follows such themes as betrayal and lost opportunities.

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