» » McSweeney's Issue 29 (McSweeney's Quarterly Concern)

Free eBook McSweeney's Issue 29 (McSweeney's Quarterly Concern) download

by Dave Eggers

Free eBook McSweeney's Issue 29 (McSweeney's Quarterly Concern) download ISBN: 1934781088
Author: Dave Eggers
Publisher: McSweeney's (December 23, 2008)
Language: English
Pages: 300
Category: Imaginative Literature
Subcategory: Genre Fiction
Size MP3: 1985 mb
Size FLAC: 1778 mb
Rating: 4.4
Format: mbr doc azw txt

With our biggest line-up in quite a while – fifteen stories from writers like Yannick Murphy, Roddy Doyle, Ben Greenman, and Peter Orner – McSweeney's 29 offers everything a good book should: there is jungle warfare, there are boomerang factories, there are tragedies and romances and animals it might not have been wise to bring home. There is also art on every damn page, and a finely die-cut cover, wrapped in several kinds of cloth, that will make other people want to grab this one right out of your hands, so watch out.
User reviews
McSweeney's is always hit or miss but with a publication that puts out a mixed bag of writers with different approaches to writing that's going to be case. McSweeney's 29 is no different. Out of the 14 stories here I enjoyed 7 of them. They're the ones I'll write about briefly.

The book opens with Brian Baise's story "It's Nice When Someone is Excited to Hear From You" about a man who leaves his home town and close friends behind but who comes back after a few years, meets his best friend and realises that they've moved on and can't be friends anymore. Sounds sad and it is but has moments of light humour and pathos as well as some accurate observations on bar life. For me this was the gem of the book and a terrific opener (but probably because I related to the narrator the most).

Nathaniel Minton's "The Land of Our Enemies" is a bonkers, barmy, and wildly imaginative tale of two men who crash land in a jungle and survive in their own ways, eventually killing each other in a spectacular and dramatic battle at the end. I was reminded of George Saunders' "The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil" when reading this because the characterisation becomes quite abstract. Memorable if a bit confusing to read.

Laura Hendrix's "A Record of Our Debts" is about a mysterious girl who is sister to the narrator who is accused of cursing the town they live in. The town's population goes mad and society falls apart until the townsfolk appear on their doorstep demanding the little girl for sacrifice. Reminded me of Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery", and just as readable and interesting.

Erica Plouffe Lazure's "Cadence" is about a love triangle in the army where one of the individuals burns to death before being told that he's going to be dumped by the other two. Very brief at 4 pages but some memorable images and genuine sounding dialogue.

Yannick Murphy's "Calls" is about a vet whose family including him gets abducted by aliens. Funny and interesting format.

Joyce Carol Oates' offering "Labyrinth" is two pages on the inside cover told in a swirling script that resembles in form a labyrinth. A bit gimmicky to look at but an interesting tale nonetheless of a boy being sent to live with his aunt and getting locked in the cellar after being told not to go down. What does he see there...?

Roddy Doyle's "The Painting" is the longest story here at 33 pages. Doyle's a brilliant writer whether its novels or short stories and this is no exception. A young Polish man who paints is living in Dublin. He meets a strange young woman who asks him to paint her portrait and he does. Once it is done they part ways but the young man catches glimpses of her around town where she is getting fatter. As she changes through the weeks he changes the painting as well by breaking into her house and adding to the painting. There's a happy ending here too. Strange and beguiling with a hint of the supernatural about it, if you've never read Roddy Doyle, come on, get one of his books out!

It's a very short book with a lot of stories having only 3-4 pages. It's beautifully designed with seemingly eastern European propaganda dating back from the 1940s-50s on each page in the corners. Like I said it's hit or miss and maybe out of the 7 I liked you won't like them as much or might like the other 7 I didn't mention and didn't like. It is a very eclectic mix of interesting tales and imaginative visions though and I'm glad I picked it up. Hopefully you will too.
One of the best issues of McSweeney's, a beautifully bound volume thick with stories, each page marked with a vintage Soviet matchbox label.

It begins with a near-flawless rendering of the untrustworthy first person by Brian Baise, where a very socially maladroit man imagines his relationships ruined by anyone but himself, a story tragicomic in that the reader knows more than the narrator. Nathaniel Minton has a fantastic story about a pilot and a missionary crashing in the jungle and beginning civilization afresh. Laura Hendrix has a great story about a town that goes berserk and blames it on the narrator's sister, and Nelly Reifler has a very enjoyable story about a troubled couple finds some dogs (or possibly aliens) in the woods and adopts them to the improvement of their relationship. Erica Lazure has a strong, affecting story about a man who's faced with the dilemma of what to do when his best friend, whose girlfriend the man is cheating with, dies. Even old Roddy Doyle, who so frequently wastes McSweeney's pagespace, has a great, effortless story here about a Polish painter nervously wooing a saucy Irishwoman.

Joyce Carol Oates has a quick experimental piece called "Labyrinth" that's written as an inward spiral on the back cover, and Yannick Murphy has a successfully executed story written as a police report.

There are plenty more too, of many subjects: lorises and other invasive species, a boomerang factory and its owners, and mindfish.

There are a couple duds, of course, care of Dawn Ryan and Blaze Ginsberg, which is a reference-dependent pop culture prank that exhausts its extremely minor charm and then just keeps on going. But there's so much here it's hard to hold much against the editors. Much like the massive Issue 10, with such quantity you're sure to have a few misses, but the whole collection isn't much affected. A solid volume.
I should start by saying that I'm a huge fan of David Eggers & McSweeney's. Yet again this was another amazing issue. I couldn't wrap my head around any major theme to this one except the art. Art from on old match boxes were included on every page. They're from Eastern Europe and are interesting, I especially enjoyed a bunch of the Russian space ones.

My absolute favorite story was by Blaze Ginsberg, an autistic teenager who writes stories about his life as an episode on a TV show that he's the star of. The story included here was called My Crush On Hilary Duff and had me close to tears it was so funny.

My second favorite was The Painting by Roddy Doyle who is a regular contributor to McSweeney's. In this story an immigrant painter from Poland is struggling to make ends meets in Dublin and takes a job to paint a portrait of a local woman who he finds beautiful. The woman is extremely odd and as the story progresses nicely in only 50 pages or so.

There were quite a few other stores that I liked a lot. Dawn Ryan writes another stand out story about a couple of high school girls who have a lesbian relationship. One of the girls comes from a poor home life and the other is a black girl adopted young by a well off white couple. A Record of Our Debts by Laura Hendrix was an extremely powerful story about a town whose population is going insane. Augury by J. Erin Sweeney is about importing these cute advise giving monkey like animals to a small town. The book ends on a really interesting story by Joyce Carrol Oates called Labyrinth where the words circle around two open pages requiring the reader to rotate the book at the end of the line starting in the upper left corner and ending in the center of the pages. I enjoyed both the story and the form in which it was written.

The other stories deserve to be mentioned too as they're also good but I guess it's just a matter of taste that I prefer these.