All Souls by Christine Schutt

All Souls

byChristine Schutt

Kobo ebook | March 17, 2008

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In 1997, at the distinguished Siddons School on Manhattan's Upper East Side, the school year opens with distressing news: Astra Dell is suffering from a rare disease. Astra's friends try to reconcile the sick girl's suffering with their own fierce longings and impetuous attachments. Car writes unsparing letters, which the dirty Marlene, in her devotion, then steals. Other classmates carry on: The silly team of Suki and Alex pursue Will Bliss while the subversive Lisa Van de Ven makes dates with Miss Wilkes. The world of private schools and privilege in New York City is funny, poignant, cruel, and at its heart is a sick girl, Astra Dell, "that pale girl from the senior class, the dancer with all the hair, the red hair, knotted or braided or let to fall to her waist, a fever and she consumed."

National Book Award Finalist Christine Schutt has created a wickedly original tale of innocence, daring and illness.

Title:All SoulsFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:March 17, 2008Publisher:Houghton Mifflin HarcourtLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0156034522

ISBN - 13:9780156034524

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Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from Sometimes I swing this way, sometimes that way... 3 Show more Review Rating: 3.3 / 5 It was alright. For short story collections, it's kind of hard to judge them as a whole, because I'm never partial to all of the stories therein. In the case of this collection, my favourites were "Escape from Spiderhead", and "My Chivalric Fiasco". The former I found to be interesting, both in concept and execution. At some parts, it was even amusing, but, perhaps, when the actual idea of it is taken into account, it becomes a bit darker, so I can't say that it was fully amusing. The latter story, however, is hilarious, especially given which point of view it's told from. I don't want to reveal too much about either story, but if I have to chose two from the collection that I really liked, those would definitely be the ones that I'd highlight. As for other stories that I thought were good, I liked "Puppy", "Tenth of December", and "Victory Lap". All of them contained fairly original ideas, and the characters were likable and interesting enough for me to like the stories overall. "Tenth of December" definitely has the best imagery of the three, and, being the finale of the collection after which the book is named, evidently it would have to have promise in order to make it a worthwhile read. The stories that I didn't understand were "Sticks" and "Exhortation". By far, these two were the shortest stories, and I understood a bit of what they were about, but, at the same time, I just didn't understand what the point of them was. (Anyone can feel free to explain it to me, of course.) Not that they weren't interesting in their own way, but, unlike the other stories, these didn't have as clear a narrative which, I suppose, is a different type of short story, but just not one that I can see myself getting into. Overall, it was a worthwhile read, considering that it's for my English course, and amusing enough to give some stories, at a later time, a reread. No further comments on this.
Date published: 2018-03-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great collection funny, original, and sane - great book for these times
Date published: 2018-02-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great collection funny, original, and sane - great book for these times
Date published: 2018-02-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great collection funny, original, and sane - great book for these times
Date published: 2018-02-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great collection really enjoyed these stories
Date published: 2017-11-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book! I read this book for the first time when i was 15 and it really resonated with me. I still read it once every few years and it never gets old. I love Holden
Date published: 2017-11-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from a great read An Interesting and very quick read! I enjoyed the story. Very different than anything I have read until now.
Date published: 2017-10-18
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Wanted to like it....but couldn't I love the author since I discovered it....but I'm not a fan of this and returned it before I finished it. Essay collections are hit or miss for me and this sadly was a miss. Check out her other books though!
Date published: 2017-09-28
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Meh Was expecting some inspiring female characters, but didn't personally find any of them empowering
Date published: 2017-09-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! Too bad J.D. Salinger died so young. He was so handsome and so talented! Love his writing style and innocence...
Date published: 2017-09-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Wonderful book to read- hard to put down
Date published: 2017-09-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from wow The first eight stories were subtle in their meaning, really made you think about what he was trying to say for a while. I can see why some people would walk away feeling like there was nothing to be gained from these stories. The last story though, Teddy, was the one that really affected me, and will stay with me forever. Left me sleepless for quite a few days. Highly recommend.
Date published: 2017-09-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely amazing! Honestly, I love this book so much and I'm so glad that I had purchased it!
Date published: 2017-08-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Emotional roller coaster So much sadness and violence, but also love. Each short story created a variety of emotional responses, but they were all well written and had a depth many writers will never reach.
Date published: 2017-07-24
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Boring Didn't like this story or characters at all.
Date published: 2017-05-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing An fantastic collection of short stories. Moore did it again, once you read one you have to read the rest.
Date published: 2017-04-22
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not worth it Had high expectations but this book was not good...lots of sex, lots of sad women, but no difficult women. And nothing empowering!
Date published: 2017-03-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful Great selection of short stories. Looking forward to his next book after Lincoln in the Bardo
Date published: 2017-03-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it Great short stories.. These are as afoot as, or better than, Heather Oneill, Guy Vanderhaeghe, and John Cheever.
Date published: 2017-03-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An amazing read Roxane Gay is a masterful writer and this book is full of lovely and heartbreak stories.
Date published: 2017-03-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Minor work but still worth the trip Nine Stories has all the undertones of that classic Salinger off-beat, retro stamp and it is often overshadowed by Catcher in the Rye and Franny and Zooey despite being a small masterpiece in its own right, but I was apprehensive about picking up the short story collection all the same. It is rather silly to hold on to a writer's more established and acclaimed work and not venture out to slightly unchartered territory specially when this reader realized that it was not quite unchartered territory for her after all. Moreover, it feels strange to revisit Salinger's unique world not merely because his eclectic turns of phrases and marginalized characters make the reader yearn for the yesteryear and a world gone by, but it is also an odd contrast to modern literature and life. Salinger's oddball, somewhat hostile, and always beautifully vulnerable gang struggling in a pedantic and square world have an immense cultural significance. Indeed, the Rockwellian undertones of Salinger's pen feels slightly uncomfortable to today's discerning viewer. In this day and age, intimate friendships and conversations between precocious children and adult men are seen as unnatural if not immediate cause for alarm which is a poor, poor reflection of our society and its crumbling mores. Salinger understands and treats young adults with dignity and serious aplomb which is quite bittersweet and worth revisiting if only to reclaim our own displaced sense of wonder and childlike innocence.
Date published: 2016-11-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Classic Salinger These stories capture Salinger's writing in its most essential from. While they lack the scope and poignancy of The Catcher in the Rye, they discuss themes that will be familiar to any Salinger reader. Childhood, innocence, and the suffering that contrasts them all play prominent roles within this collection. Don't expect to be swept off you feet, but enjoy Salinger's unique perspective on the functions of ordinary life.
Date published: 2016-11-12
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Hit or Miss It's ironic how for a short story collection, I preferred reading George Saunders' lenghtier ones in "Tenth of December." It has to do with how there is more time and space for Saunders to flesh out his ideas and themes, which I find is his strongest suite, and the window allowed for audiences to read between the lines. His choice of words and sentence structures come across very carefree in some stories, but with others, they feel careless and quite difficult to digest. On the strength of the few memorable stories and his commencement speech "Congratulations, by the way: Some Thoughts on Kindness", I'm still very drawn to what he has to and will offer in future works.
Date published: 2014-11-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A work of art. This is a short book with a several short stories. Now for the magic: masterful use of language, exceptional understanding of structure, and a deft balance between expressing the voice of the author and telling the stories that surround us every day.
Date published: 2014-03-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Tenth of December Loved this collection of short stories. Witty and quirky. Five stars!
Date published: 2013-12-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Strong Collection of Short Stories I don't often read short stories. They have to be written really, really well if they're going to grab my attention and keep it. Saunders managed to do that. I couldn't put this book of stories down...they are written in a strong voice that lingers in my mind after each story, blending into the next...until the last story makes me want to kneel down and say...I read a book of short stories and I liked it.
Date published: 2013-08-05
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good, but far from brilliant Conventional wisdom -- at least in literary circles and its mighty marketing machine -- will tell you that George Saunders' new book of short stories, Tenth of December, is the book to read this year. Other writers, including such favourites as David Foster Wallace and Dave Eggers, praise him to the heavens. Critics are calling some of the stories in this book brilliant. So Saunders is a writer you just have to read. And read his book I did – up until the title story at the end, which I abandoned after about a dozen pages. The biggest flaw in Tenth of December, I found, is the obviousness of his artistic technique and the voice used by narrators in most stories. I think the best fiction (and this is true in art in general) is that in which the technique is seamless, almost invisible -- a kind of artless art. Saunders, however, likes to play around in his fictional sandlot and perhaps that’s why so many great contemporary writers and critics love him. Certainly, I appreciate and admire the scope of his imaginative landscape. Stories like The Semplica Girl Diaries and Escape from Spiderhead, perhaps the best pieces in this collection, offer crazy scenarios that will challenge the best of science fiction but they’re presented in a realistic, dare-I-say-it, almost suburban way. Especially Semplica. That story chronicles a suburban dad’s attempt to make his daughter happy on her birthday and keep up with the Joneses at the same time by purchasing real live young girls from the developing world. A wire is inserted through their heads (without injuring them, we’re told) and they’re strung up like a clothesline where they flutter in the breeze beautifully. The girls don’t come cheap though and dad doesn’t have much money. In fact, he’s deep in debt. He is saved when he wins $10,000 in a scratch-and-win card. He splurges on the Semplica girls and also buys his girl two figurines that she asked for as a present, plus a third for good measure. There are two problems with this story. First, is the narrator’s tone. He’s writing in a journal to a reader possibly in the future and while most of us recognize that this type of writing tends toward the conversational and less formal, this narrator sounds like Tarzan of the suburban jungle. Or Mr. Miyagi of The Karate Kid. Listen to his speech and the absence of verbs: “Nice for them to know good luck and happiness real and possible! In America of my time, want them to know, anything possible!” Problem number two: while few people will find fault in the narrator’s aspirations to climb the social ladder and especially give generously to his children, the materialism of his gifts is nauseating. He also gets caught up in the appearance of riches as his backyard suddenly becomes the envy of neighbours. “Nice to win, be winner, be known as winner,” he writes. Spiderhead, in the other story, is the term that occupants of a scientific experiment use to describe their Control room. It is like the head of a spider, the narrator says, and its legs are called Workrooms. When the subjects go into the Control room and work alongside a person by the name of Abnesti, it is known as the head of the spider. The narrator and others in this institution have a job and it is to have sex with some of the women in the place using a love potion. But it appears they cannot get emotionally attached to them and the relationships come with a nasty side-effect – a product called Darkenfloxx™ - which kills the women in an excruciating way. The hero of this story is much more likeable and noble and the story ends with him taking the tragic hero’s proper course. That ending also illustrates a common theme and bond that runs through many of Saunders’ tales: that of the parent and child, particular mother and son. It’s a theme we encounter in the story Home and in the frightfully wrong parenting styles of the opening story Victory Lap, a harrowing tale of a young boy’s attempt to save a teenage girl from rape. In this story, there are two kinds of helicopter parents: the ones that hover over and smother their children and those whose sharp blades cuts their kids down. That story has one of the best and most uplifting lines in the collection: “Don’t you understand…all people deserve respect? Each of us is a rainbow.” It’s the kind of line, and story, that makes you want to read the rest with satisfication. But then you get to a piece like My Chivalric Fiasco. It starts conventionally enough but you get to lines like: “Kyle departed anon. I did happily entertain our Guests, through use of Wit and various Jibes, glad that I had, after my many Travails, arrived at a station in Life from whence I could impart such Merriment to All & Sundry.” And so the narrator carries on to the end of the story, as if Shakespeare walked into the door and took over the telling of the tale.
Date published: 2013-05-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome book These short stories were very interesting and I found them to capture my attention to the fullest.
Date published: 2004-06-20
Rated 1 out of 5 by from 9 Big Yawns J.D. Salinger's 'Catcher In the Rye' made him famous - which is a good thing, because his short stories would have gotten him nowhere fast. The only remarkable thing about these nine tales is their utter lack of interest, both character and plotwise. Reading J.D. Salinger's short fiction generates about as much excitement and satisfaction as would the observation of sea barnacles. If you enjoy short stories, do yourself a favour: do not read this book.
Date published: 2004-02-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Sweet Every bit as enjoyable as Catcher in the Rye. Shorter works with the same kind of impact. You want the stories to just go on. Them not to have an end. When reading anything Salinger has written I am filled with an unusual mixture of wonder, sadness, sweetness and honesty. Catcher is merely the sequel. This book is worth the read. Really. I'm not kidding.
Date published: 2000-09-19
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Bananafish! Although the stories are not up to the standard as "Catcher in The Rye", these stories should not remain overlooked. The first story expands on the life of Seymour Glass, using a different point of view. Also enjoyable was the story about a young genius. A lighter Salinger read.
Date published: 2000-06-06