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The Bostons

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Carolyn Cooke's stories have been featured in several volumes of PRIZE STORIES: THE O. HENRY AWARDS and THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES. Her highly anticipated debut collection tells hilarious and often savage truths about people struggling within the confines of history, society, and class. Mr. Sargent, the aging Brahmin aesthete of the title story, scribbles his epiphani Carolyn Cooke's stories have been featured in several volumes of PRIZE STORIES: THE O. HENRY AWARDS and THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES. Her highly anticipated debut collection tells hilarious and often savage truths about people struggling within the confines of history, society, and class. Mr. Sargent, the aging Brahmin aesthete of the title story, scribbles his epiphanies on cocktail napkins and covers them up with his drinks. A Maine innkeeper shoots his wife, who remains bitterly loyal to him until the death of their son. A whole family conspires to keep the birth of yet another dirt-poor relation a secret from his grandmother. On the icy cobblestone streets of Boston and the rockbound coast of Maine, these vividly realized characters try to reconcile habits of obedience and self-reliance with the urgent desire to capture the wild core of life. The result is an explosion of exquisitely tuned voices, as authentic as they are unforgettable.


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Carolyn Cooke's stories have been featured in several volumes of PRIZE STORIES: THE O. HENRY AWARDS and THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES. Her highly anticipated debut collection tells hilarious and often savage truths about people struggling within the confines of history, society, and class. Mr. Sargent, the aging Brahmin aesthete of the title story, scribbles his epiphani Carolyn Cooke's stories have been featured in several volumes of PRIZE STORIES: THE O. HENRY AWARDS and THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES. Her highly anticipated debut collection tells hilarious and often savage truths about people struggling within the confines of history, society, and class. Mr. Sargent, the aging Brahmin aesthete of the title story, scribbles his epiphanies on cocktail napkins and covers them up with his drinks. A Maine innkeeper shoots his wife, who remains bitterly loyal to him until the death of their son. A whole family conspires to keep the birth of yet another dirt-poor relation a secret from his grandmother. On the icy cobblestone streets of Boston and the rockbound coast of Maine, these vividly realized characters try to reconcile habits of obedience and self-reliance with the urgent desire to capture the wild core of life. The result is an explosion of exquisitely tuned voices, as authentic as they are unforgettable.

30 review for The Bostons

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    I always forget how much I actually enjoy reading short stories. That said, I wish I could have been more comfortable with these. Literate short stories demand more of a reader. Words have to be more carefully chosen because the author tells the story in just a few pages. Carolyn Cooke's sketches of people are poignant, depressing, touching, and insightful. I found them, on the whole, truthfully disturbing. If you prefer a story with a middle, beginning, and end, these stories will baffle you. I always forget how much I actually enjoy reading short stories. That said, I wish I could have been more comfortable with these. Literate short stories demand more of a reader. Words have to be more carefully chosen because the author tells the story in just a few pages. Carolyn Cooke's sketches of people are poignant, depressing, touching, and insightful. I found them, on the whole, truthfully disturbing. If you prefer a story with a middle, beginning, and end, these stories will baffle you.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Adam

    This was a really interesting collection of stories about the reclamation of life in very sordid, sometimes-haunting but not depressing ways. The echoes of characters' and their fates gird this collection cohesively and allow the stories to slip past overt themes. It seems, to me, any "coldness" the stories might carry with them owes much to the idea that these stories are in no small part about individuals who are living knowing lies often in service to undiscovered or unrealized desires. These This was a really interesting collection of stories about the reclamation of life in very sordid, sometimes-haunting but not depressing ways. The echoes of characters' and their fates gird this collection cohesively and allow the stories to slip past overt themes. It seems, to me, any "coldness" the stories might carry with them owes much to the idea that these stories are in no small part about individuals who are living knowing lies often in service to undiscovered or unrealized desires. These stories are as much about isolation as they are about liberation. In particular, the first story about the old man, the train, and his "ideal" companion is a moving portrait of a character who examines the consequences of obtaining the hottest pursuits of his life. A fun, often non-linear, collection that is very much worth the read!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Deb

    Don't get me wrong, good solid writing here, and clarity too but every single one of these short stories was awful. I was left with a sad sense that no one really cared for others in this world, and that they were all living the sorry lives that discover the grass is not greener on the other side, or still yearning for the 'courage' to leap with the sincere belief that life would be all daisies if they could. Awful. Depressing. Not quite soul-sucking, but on it's way. Don't get me wrong, good solid writing here, and clarity too but every single one of these short stories was awful. I was left with a sad sense that no one really cared for others in this world, and that they were all living the sorry lives that discover the grass is not greener on the other side, or still yearning for the 'courage' to leap with the sincere belief that life would be all daisies if they could. Awful. Depressing. Not quite soul-sucking, but on it's way.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rebekka Istrail

    This collection of short stories is a promising debut. I enjoyed the variety in characterization, the familiarity of the scenes of Boston and Maine, the allusion to the fading grandeur of some "blue blood" families, and the soft humor often mingled with sadness. It will be interesting to see how the author stitches together characters, scenes, and themes in future novels. This collection of short stories is a promising debut. I enjoyed the variety in characterization, the familiarity of the scenes of Boston and Maine, the allusion to the fading grandeur of some "blue blood" families, and the soft humor often mingled with sadness. It will be interesting to see how the author stitches together characters, scenes, and themes in future novels.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    THis was "okay". Can't say I'd recommend it. Consists of individual chapters which are loosely tied into each other with character relationships but difficult to keep track of the connections. Most of the chapters are ordinary stories of ordinary people with ordinary problems. Well written but was not overly captivating. THis was "okay". Can't say I'd recommend it. Consists of individual chapters which are loosely tied into each other with character relationships but difficult to keep track of the connections. Most of the chapters are ordinary stories of ordinary people with ordinary problems. Well written but was not overly captivating.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Zoë

    Interlaced stories, some disturbing and violent. Abandonment and isolation of the psyche, characters silently pleading to live and breathe. Haunting and beautiful. My first read was dissatisfying, my second lead me to a deeper appreciation and to create a map of the connections between the characters and places in this group of short stories.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Elsimom

    Written by a high school friend of one of our members. We liked the characters, and found them very realistic, but the group found the stories’ endings odd. Overall, not well liked by the group (although critically acclaimed).

  8. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    I like how the stories/characters are interconnected, and as previously mentioned, I was a little disappointed in the ending. Maybe I am more ashamed that I wanted resolution with the characters; A happier ending.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kara Chiasson

    While the collection had some high points, I really struggled to get through it. I was a bit disappointed.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

    It’s kind of strange: the linked stories were the ones I liked best, individually, but still, I’m not sure quite sure what I make of the links.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rick

    Over Cooked.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jacob

    These were...stories? Yeah, stories. Stories about people. People...in places? Doing...things? Is this going to be on the exam?

  13. 4 out of 5

    Risa

  14. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey

  16. 5 out of 5

    Abby

  17. 5 out of 5

    Robert Voedisch

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ellen-Sue Shaw

  20. 4 out of 5

    Erin

  21. 4 out of 5

    Marie

  22. 5 out of 5

    Erin

  23. 5 out of 5

    Trish

  24. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

  25. 5 out of 5

    Julia Benson

  26. 5 out of 5

    Amy

  27. 5 out of 5

    Griselda

  28. 4 out of 5

    Brian Rothbart

  29. 4 out of 5

    Matt

  30. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia Stillinger

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