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Madame Zero: 9 Stories by Sarah Hall

Madame Zero: 9 Stories

by Sarah Hall

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Showing 5 of 5
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I can believe that this collection might wow plenty of people, while not being one of those people myself. It's not so much that a few of these nine stories read like excerpts of novels, it's that they'd be novels I wouldn't want to read; I wasn't interested in any of these characters, and all of the stories are more or less bleak. In short, this book just wasn't any fun to read.
  noveltea | Jun 23, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Sarah Hall has written a remarkable collection of short fiction.
There are stories from first, second, and third person, with points of view from women, men, boys, and girls in many combinations of personality and sophistication.
Maybe four of the selections confused me. Hall has a grasp of medical language and an extensive vocabulary. Five of the nine stories were wonderful. The first one in the book, "Mrs. Fox," is the best thing I've read in some time. It is about a man, a woman, and a fox, told beautifully, a story to read slowly and savored. It would be a shame to give away the plot, which grows from ordinary to fantastic and back to ordinary in ways that were completely believable to me. ( )
  mykl-s | Jun 15, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received this book of stories by Sarah Hall from the Early Reviewers program. I have read other works by Ms. Hall and enjoyed her previous work so I was thrilled to have the chance to review this new book.

The stories in Madam Zero are all executed very well. They are all subtle without being obtuse and are easy to absorb without being obvious. I particularly enjoyed Evie, Luxury Hour and Later His Ghost.

If you want stories you can jump into, feel the world of the story surround you quickly, then get out feeling satisfied, this is a book for you.

Well done, Sarah! ( )
  DuffDaddy | May 31, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
In the short story collection "Madame Zero" writer Sarah Hall has produced nine stories which explore the nature of being human and individual. in both the first and last stories a woman changes beyond recognition and the husband choses how to respond. In the first story when the wife is transformed into a fox the husband clings desperately to his love for her and the hope for a reversal. In the last story, the wife suffers a complete change in personality and the husband eagerly indulges in the new, alarming and aggressively sexualized persona without giving much thought to any underlying cause. Another story relates the case history of a child who has been raised in a chaotic commune setting and has awareness of neither his own individuality nor boundaries between self and others. In "Later, His Ghost" a man battles alone through continuous gale-force winds after a climatic disaster, scavenging for food and remnants that can remind him of what means to be human. It feels as if each story is challenging the reader to consider how they might respond in similar situations - would they prove to be human or something less? ( )
  Course8 | May 30, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I really wanted to be dazzled by this because I found the brief descriptions of the nine stories to be so intriguing. Unfortunately, I was underwhelmed and I'm still not entirely sure why. I came away with the feeling that this was a creative writing exercise that got published. It's....fine with solid writing and varied, even unexpected stories. But it lacks something vital to bring it to life and/or maybe to give the collection of stories a cohesive feel?

Things We Lost in the Fire is similarly unsettling, similar in length and it's the better of the two. I read Madame Zero over a long holiday weekend and now - two days after finishing it - I can generally describe a couple of stories, but most of them didn't land and I can't tell you whether there's an overarching theme here. Meh. If you're crazy about short stories or have a thing for this author, go for it, but otherwise....plenty of other fish in the sea. ( )
  angiestahl | May 30, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062657062, Hardcover)

From one of the most accomplished British writers working today, the Man Booker Prize-shortlisted author of The Wolf Border, comes a unique and arresting collection of short fiction that is both disturbing and dazzling.

Sarah Hall has been hailed as "one of the most significant and exciting of Britain’s young novelists" (The Guardian), a writer whose "intelligence and ambition are thrilling to behold" (BookForum). Her work has been acclaimed as "amazing . . . terrific and original" (Washington Post). In this collection of nine works of short fiction, she uses her piercing insight to plumb the depth of the female experience and the human soul.

A husband’s wife transforms into a vulpine in "Mrs. Fox," winner of the BBC Short Story Prize. In "Case Study 2, " A social worker struggles with a foster child raised in a commune. A new mother runs into an old lover in "Luxury Hour." In incandescent prose, full of rich observations and striking clarity, Hall has composed nine wholly original pieces—works of fiction that will resonate long after the final page is turned.

(retrieved from Amazon Tue, 25 Apr 2017 12:57:13 -0400)

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