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This anthology of thirty works by some of our best contemporary American writers looks at our perennial American obsession: fat. It's everywhere, all around you, and maybe even on you. Now, America's consuming passion at last has its own anthology. From Andre Dubus's delicious story of a young woman more comfortable in her fat body than her thin one ("The Fat Girl"), to Tob This anthology of thirty works by some of our best contemporary American writers looks at our perennial American obsession: fat. It's everywhere, all around you, and maybe even on you. Now, America's consuming passion at last has its own anthology. From Andre Dubus's delicious story of a young woman more comfortable in her fat body than her thin one ("The Fat Girl"), to Tobias Wolff's tale of bonding over pancakes ("Hunters in the Snow"), Dorothy Allison's poem about food and love ("Dumpling Child"), Peter Carey's surreal tale of a fat-man revolution ("The Fat Man in History"), Wesley McNair's poetic celebration "Fat Heaven", and George Saunders's "The 400-pound CEO," this bountiful feast of fiction and poetry will ensure no reader ever looks at fat quite the same way again. Including stories and poems by Dorothy Allison Frederick Busch Peter Carey Raymond Carver Junot Díaz Andre Dubus Pam Houston Jill McCorkle George Saunders Tobias Wolff Contents: Extra extra large by Frederick Busch Brief wondrous life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz Fat enter heaven by Wesley McNair Fat girl by Andre Dubus Crash diet by Jill McCorkle Love for a fat man by Rhoda B. Stamell Full figure by Allison Joseph Ax of the apostles by Erin McGraw Fat by Conrad Hilberry Power by Stephen Dunn Fat man in history by Peter Carey Nouveau big by Katherine Riegel Six hundred pound man by Jack Coulehan Hungry self by Rebecca Curtis Dumpling child by Dorothy Allison Fat man by Vern Rutsala 400-pound CEO by George Saunders Big Ruthie imagines sex without pain by S.L. Wisenberg Waltzing the cat by Pam Houston I want to be fat by Terrence Hayest For the one man who likes my thighs by Denise Duhamel When fat girls dream by J.L. Haddaway Ballerina by Sharon Solwitz Displaced overweight homemaker's guide to finding a man by Donna Jarrell Weight bearing by Patricia Goedicke Hunters in the snow by Tobias Wolff Fat lady travels by Cathy Smith-Bowers Fat people at the amusement park by Rawdon Tomlinson Disappearing by Monica Wood Fat by Raymond Carver


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This anthology of thirty works by some of our best contemporary American writers looks at our perennial American obsession: fat. It's everywhere, all around you, and maybe even on you. Now, America's consuming passion at last has its own anthology. From Andre Dubus's delicious story of a young woman more comfortable in her fat body than her thin one ("The Fat Girl"), to Tob This anthology of thirty works by some of our best contemporary American writers looks at our perennial American obsession: fat. It's everywhere, all around you, and maybe even on you. Now, America's consuming passion at last has its own anthology. From Andre Dubus's delicious story of a young woman more comfortable in her fat body than her thin one ("The Fat Girl"), to Tobias Wolff's tale of bonding over pancakes ("Hunters in the Snow"), Dorothy Allison's poem about food and love ("Dumpling Child"), Peter Carey's surreal tale of a fat-man revolution ("The Fat Man in History"), Wesley McNair's poetic celebration "Fat Heaven", and George Saunders's "The 400-pound CEO," this bountiful feast of fiction and poetry will ensure no reader ever looks at fat quite the same way again. Including stories and poems by Dorothy Allison Frederick Busch Peter Carey Raymond Carver Junot Díaz Andre Dubus Pam Houston Jill McCorkle George Saunders Tobias Wolff Contents: Extra extra large by Frederick Busch Brief wondrous life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz Fat enter heaven by Wesley McNair Fat girl by Andre Dubus Crash diet by Jill McCorkle Love for a fat man by Rhoda B. Stamell Full figure by Allison Joseph Ax of the apostles by Erin McGraw Fat by Conrad Hilberry Power by Stephen Dunn Fat man in history by Peter Carey Nouveau big by Katherine Riegel Six hundred pound man by Jack Coulehan Hungry self by Rebecca Curtis Dumpling child by Dorothy Allison Fat man by Vern Rutsala 400-pound CEO by George Saunders Big Ruthie imagines sex without pain by S.L. Wisenberg Waltzing the cat by Pam Houston I want to be fat by Terrence Hayest For the one man who likes my thighs by Denise Duhamel When fat girls dream by J.L. Haddaway Ballerina by Sharon Solwitz Displaced overweight homemaker's guide to finding a man by Donna Jarrell Weight bearing by Patricia Goedicke Hunters in the snow by Tobias Wolff Fat lady travels by Cathy Smith-Bowers Fat people at the amusement park by Rawdon Tomlinson Disappearing by Monica Wood Fat by Raymond Carver

30 review for What Are You Looking At?: The First Fat Fiction Anthology

  1. 5 out of 5

    Laura Cushing

    I wanted to like this way more than I did. The collection of short stories and poems have the theme of fat in common, but it's far from size empowerment or body positive. Most of the stories are about how miserable people are, and how they struggle with wanting to be thin or with how the world treats them because of their size. The gems in this otherwise so-so anthology are The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao, and Waltzing the Cat. They are really the only two that stand out in an otherwise ho- I wanted to like this way more than I did. The collection of short stories and poems have the theme of fat in common, but it's far from size empowerment or body positive. Most of the stories are about how miserable people are, and how they struggle with wanting to be thin or with how the world treats them because of their size. The gems in this otherwise so-so anthology are The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao, and Waltzing the Cat. They are really the only two that stand out in an otherwise ho-hum collection that falls far short of the tagline it gives itself 'The first fat fiction anthology'. Really, it should be subtitled 'An anthology about the woes of fatness.'

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sterlingcindysu

    Very clever editors--to break the stereotype of fat people being jolly these stories show how cranky and frustrated these fat characters are (or in other words, just like everyone). I liked the poetry more than the stories. Everything is relative...in one of the first stories, a college senior goes on a severe diet because she weighs 184 lbs. To me, that's certainly not fat or at least not to a senior citizen. Very clever editors--to break the stereotype of fat people being jolly these stories show how cranky and frustrated these fat characters are (or in other words, just like everyone). I liked the poetry more than the stories. Everything is relative...in one of the first stories, a college senior goes on a severe diet because she weighs 184 lbs. To me, that's certainly not fat or at least not to a senior citizen.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Alana Muir

    I wanted to like this book. The intro was so promising. I believe that the editors truly tried to make a collection to highlight fat representation. Unfortunately, they kind of failed. I want to start by saying that the poetry in the book is actually pretty good. The poetry is the reason this book gets 2 stars from me instead of 1. Where the book fails is the short stories. It's an endless parade of terrible fat stereotypes. Every fat character is a miserable loser who only gets redemption by los I wanted to like this book. The intro was so promising. I believe that the editors truly tried to make a collection to highlight fat representation. Unfortunately, they kind of failed. I want to start by saying that the poetry in the book is actually pretty good. The poetry is the reason this book gets 2 stars from me instead of 1. Where the book fails is the short stories. It's an endless parade of terrible fat stereotypes. Every fat character is a miserable loser who only gets redemption by losing weight. Most of them are shown to be greedy binge eaters who are impossible to love until they "get control" of themselves and conform to society's ideals. This is not a book that represents the fat experience. It is a book about fat people, written by thin people as a morality tale. (A few of the stories aren't so bad, but not good enough to stand out.) This collection is trying to represent fat people, but it does it in the same way as a minstrel show tries to represent black people. It's all just gross stereotypes. The girl who hides chocolate bars and eats in secret. The man who is desperately in love with someone who will never love him because he's too fat. The woman who never dates until she loses weight. Where are the smart fat people? Where are the confident fat people? Where are the fat people who don't give a crap about whether shallow people are attracted to them? Those are the fat people I know in real life, and they certainly aren't in this book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Zen Cho

    I thought it was OK, I guess? A lot of it was about food ... I dunno, I guess I kinda disapproved of how so many of them were about food, because you're not always fat just because you eat a lot. Lots of fat people eat like anyone else does! The stories felt v. American, but perhaps that was only to be expected, since the editors are American. The stories I liked best were the ones by Peter Carey (creepy story about a fat men's conspiracy that turns out to be about an experiment on fat men in an I thought it was OK, I guess? A lot of it was about food ... I dunno, I guess I kinda disapproved of how so many of them were about food, because you're not always fat just because you eat a lot. Lots of fat people eat like anyone else does! The stories felt v. American, but perhaps that was only to be expected, since the editors are American. The stories I liked best were the ones by Peter Carey (creepy story about a fat men's conspiracy that turns out to be about an experiment on fat men in an intensely fatphobic society) and Raymond Carver (perplexing, slightly sci-fi-ish one about a fat guy who eats a lot at a diner and refers to himself as "we" and the waitress who serves him, who is perhaps going to undergo a mysterious change after the end of the story). A lot of the others were that sort of horrible modern story that have no real ending and aren't really about anything but the unpleasantness of their characters' lives/the characters themselves.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kendal

    Really disappointing. I'm always looking for fiction about fat people and thought that I'd have some luck here, unfortunately almost every story was about self-loathing and fat shame. I'm not saying that stuff isn't real and there shouldn't be stories about it, but if you're selling yourself as fat fiction it'd be nice if there was a broader spectrum of fat experiences represented, especially since that's a central point of fat politics--that there isn't one universal fat experience of self hatr Really disappointing. I'm always looking for fiction about fat people and thought that I'd have some luck here, unfortunately almost every story was about self-loathing and fat shame. I'm not saying that stuff isn't real and there shouldn't be stories about it, but if you're selling yourself as fat fiction it'd be nice if there was a broader spectrum of fat experiences represented, especially since that's a central point of fat politics--that there isn't one universal fat experience of self hatred. Fat people, like other people, are capable of having experience and emotions that don't revolve around shame, and this book would have been better if it had included that.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Bunge

    I made it through the first 3 stories, and gave up. This is not even remotely a 'fat positive' book. It's DEPRESSING. Stupid me for believing the book jacket and introduction. It would be better marketed as 'depressing short stories about fat people - the kind of obnoxious scholarly work you had to read in college literature classes that your professor made you dissect to death because the stories were boring but written by snobby lit professors who write MEANINGFUL SERIOUS work that no one wants I made it through the first 3 stories, and gave up. This is not even remotely a 'fat positive' book. It's DEPRESSING. Stupid me for believing the book jacket and introduction. It would be better marketed as 'depressing short stories about fat people - the kind of obnoxious scholarly work you had to read in college literature classes that your professor made you dissect to death because the stories were boring but written by snobby lit professors who write MEANINGFUL SERIOUS work that no one wants to read for fun.' bleck.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Melanie Page

    The stories in this collection were really great. When I read the title of the anthology, my first thought was the Raymond Carver story "Fat," and it was in there. BUT! I kept wondering...is this all there is out there in terms of "fat-fiction"? No one else writes any? Makes me want to write more of it...also makes me wonder if people don't really want to read it and that is why I can't get any published. Also, I'm really surprised that most of the reviews of this book comment that the reader ex The stories in this collection were really great. When I read the title of the anthology, my first thought was the Raymond Carver story "Fat," and it was in there. BUT! I kept wondering...is this all there is out there in terms of "fat-fiction"? No one else writes any? Makes me want to write more of it...also makes me wonder if people don't really want to read it and that is why I can't get any published. Also, I'm really surprised that most of the reviews of this book comment that the reader expected this to be an uplifting anthology. It can be really difficult to turn a physical/psychological problem into something feel-good. I wasn't expecting that at all.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    "The Brief Wonderful Life of Oscar Wao" is likely the diamond in the rough here; I believe I will read that at novel length, because it's fucking great. The other fiction I've read are character pieces, none of them bad, but nothing too memorable. The Raymond Carver story was sort of a dud, which is a shame; he is after all a master of the short story form. Editor Donna Jarrell's story reminds me of terrific story "Job History" from "Wyoming Stories", except it was more bitter and less poignant. "The Brief Wonderful Life of Oscar Wao" is likely the diamond in the rough here; I believe I will read that at novel length, because it's fucking great. The other fiction I've read are character pieces, none of them bad, but nothing too memorable. The Raymond Carver story was sort of a dud, which is a shame; he is after all a master of the short story form. Editor Donna Jarrell's story reminds me of terrific story "Job History" from "Wyoming Stories", except it was more bitter and less poignant. Some of the poems are pretty great, too (though by no means all of them). But the anthology is a definite mixed bag

  9. 5 out of 5

    Donna LaValley

    As in any anthology, some stories are memorable and are not. This volume includes poems too, and the same comment applies. The best of the lot were by Junot Diaz and Monica Moon. In fact, "Disappearing" by Monica Moon is a story I'd read at least 10 years ago in an anthology entitled "Sudden Fiction," and I liked it then as well. I would actually give this 3.5 stars, and I recommend it for readers interested in the topic generally or personally, with the caveat that some are crude, or have viole As in any anthology, some stories are memorable and are not. This volume includes poems too, and the same comment applies. The best of the lot were by Junot Diaz and Monica Moon. In fact, "Disappearing" by Monica Moon is a story I'd read at least 10 years ago in an anthology entitled "Sudden Fiction," and I liked it then as well. I would actually give this 3.5 stars, and I recommend it for readers interested in the topic generally or personally, with the caveat that some are crude, or have violence, or in retrospect are stereotypical and not worth the time taken to read them.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Emily Smiltneck

    A good bunch of stories that feature main characters of size. A good read for anyone, really, though, not just the plus-sized. It's good to see main characters who are not just like everyone else. Some of the stories are depressing, some are uplifting, some just are. A good bunch of stories that feature main characters of size. A good read for anyone, really, though, not just the plus-sized. It's good to see main characters who are not just like everyone else. Some of the stories are depressing, some are uplifting, some just are.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mindy

    i got this book because i wanted to read the story the wonderous life of oscar wao and it wasn't ava but this came up in my library search. wonderfully touching short stories. i got this book because i wanted to read the story the wonderous life of oscar wao and it wasn't ava but this came up in my library search. wonderfully touching short stories.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    An excellent collection of short stories.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Not the best fiction anthology I've ever read. I preferred Jarrell's compendium of fat non-fiction. Not the best fiction anthology I've ever read. I preferred Jarrell's compendium of fat non-fiction.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    So bad I couldn't finish it. Angry fat people being abused and lashing out at pretty much everyone, when they're not shutting down and closing themselves off. The vibe is like a BIG pity party. Not at all what I was looking for!! As a morbidly obese senior female, fighting the fat battle all my life, even as a young child, I was hoping for body positivity. I guess I'll have to write it myself. I'm open to suggestions for something much closer to what I'm looking for ~ So bad I couldn't finish it. Angry fat people being abused and lashing out at pretty much everyone, when they're not shutting down and closing themselves off. The vibe is like a BIG pity party. Not at all what I was looking for!! As a morbidly obese senior female, fighting the fat battle all my life, even as a young child, I was hoping for body positivity. I guess I'll have to write it myself. I'm open to suggestions for something much closer to what I'm looking for ~

  15. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn Lochhead

    Lots of stories, some great, some not so great. A good bus read.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jack

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sylvia

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jordan

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kari Petersen

  20. 5 out of 5

    Cassie

  21. 5 out of 5

    N i k k i t a

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rakisha

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jess

  24. 4 out of 5

    Anne

  25. 4 out of 5

    Julia

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Lee Min Yee

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

  28. 4 out of 5

    Terri

  29. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

  30. 4 out of 5

    Joy

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