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Dangerous Laughter: Thirteen Stories

by Steven Millhauser

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5152733,974 (3.7)26
A collection of darkly comic stories united by their obsession with obsession.



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» See also 26 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
3.5 stars--The Disappearance of Elaine Coleman is such an excellent story.

( )
  AaronJacobs | Oct 23, 2018 |
Great. Today showed up on the NYT top 5 fiction books of the year. I picked a winnah!
The Dome was particularly good. Great riff. ( )
  TheBookJunky | Apr 22, 2016 |
Creative, but often felt contrived or artificial. The extremely detailed descriptions were almost tiring to read. In general, I feel like these stories are not full-fledged stories, but fleshed-out ideas. There is a distinct question behind each story: What if historians were obsessed with cataloging what happened today instead of what happened long ago? What if being ignored made people physically disappear? What if the next town over was an exact replica of your town, only no one could live there? What if we could delve into the psyches of Tom and Jerry? and so on. But while these might be interesting questions to explore, you need more than that to make a successful short story.

I enjoyed the later, more Borgesian stories in this collection more than the earlier ones. ( )
  thatotter | Feb 6, 2014 |
Very entertaining collection. 1st section: Fantastical stories told with a casual delivery, such that you could conceive of their truth. Especially liked "The Room in the Attic". 2nd section: incredible assemblages, human avarice run amuck. 3rd section: alternate histories, told in sharp detail and imagination, again teasing the line of the plausible. ( )
  ThoughtPolice | Apr 16, 2013 |
I appreciate the fact that the stories can’t be easily put in the same old categories, and there were no middle aged men or women at a dinner with their odd collection of friends who wander outside and stare at the stars and smoke a joint, but this collection just didn’t do it for me. It seems to be made up entirely of things I would like, but didn't.

All the stories have elements in common, maybe too much. It almost seems like variations on a theme at times. There is usually an interesting, and somewhat unique idea at the core, and they’re mostly told in a fable or fairy tale style. There are elements of SF and Fantasy, but these are not genre stories at all, he very naturally ignores genre and just tells tales. The style is very distant, there are no characters to get to know. Often there are literally no characters, just “the people”.

A few of them I enjoyed; Cat ’n’ Mouse, A Precursor of the Cinema (my favorite) and the tower story. The laughing story, and others I can’t remember, were tedious, silly, and made me think of writing class assignments, young writers trying way too hard to be meaningful. All of them, even the ones I liked, were too long, often way too long.
( )
  bongo_x | Apr 6, 2013 |
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