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Anthropology Hardcover – September 5, 2000

12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

An ingenious project in prose construction, Rhodes's book of short stories is composed of 101 tales, each containing exactly 101 words. The short-shorts boast an economy of language common to prose poems, or even sonnets, and the subject matter is love. The speaker appears to have a new girlfriend in each story. The women have names like Mazzy, Xanthe, Treasure, Foxglove or more commonly, "My girlfriend," and the adventures of the various lovers are alternately funny, goofy, clever and surreal, with an occasional drop of pathos for the speaker's oft-thwarted heart. Angelique drives the speaker to stick pins in his face, Paris is literally catatonic after her bike is stolen, Tortoiseshell is in jail, Celestia may just be a bunch of chemicals, Amber goes to the grocery store naked. The best pieces, the ones that feature comic, misunderstood dialogue between lovers, resemble poet Hal Sirowitz's humorous Mother Said, while other pieces are overly Brautigan inspired. Many of these feature a story line of the girlfriend who is so beautiful that the speaker feels sorry for her ex-boyfriends, but is also petrified at the possibility of becoming one of them. In spite of some less than sparkling entries, most of these little nuggets are fun, quirky and occasionally poetically lovely. They gather steam, increasing in violence, heartbreak and intensity as the book progresses. Like the French poetry movement OulipoAan experimental group whose projects included the writing of an entire novel without using the letter "e"ARhodes seems to have created a new, ostensibly senseless form that yields some true delights. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-Anthropology 101 is a beginning course on the study of Man. Anthropology consists of 101 extremely short short stories (101 words) that explore the interactions between men and women. The nameless, often-hapless male narrators describe with sometimes poignant, sometimes bizarre detail their relationships with such girlfriends as Tortoiseshell, Treasure, Paris, or Azure. These brief summaries are frequently the written equivalent of slapstick or pratfalls, but just as often, the surprising twists provoke new thinking about age-old quandaries. Personalities are quickly and surely drawn. Readers meet the "bland" girlfriend who surrounds herself with used yogurt cups, and an unemployed girl who could think of no hobbies other than smoking to put on her job application. Some situations are funny, some sad, and some even a little perverse, but taken as a whole, they give a sense of the endless variety possible in the basically universal story of boy meets girl, boy loves girl, and either wins or, more often, loses her. This collection is a literary curiosity developed with wit and skill, and is a wonderful basis for an assignment as well as a literate study of the human condition.-Susan H. Woodcock, Chantilly Regional Library, VA

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Villard; 1st edition (September 5, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375504214
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375504211
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,924,982 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By "scottish_lawyer" on December 15, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Anthropology is the first book by Dan Rhodes. It was published in the UK in early 2000 to little publicity. Seeing a copy in a bookshop I picked it up, read a few of the 101 word stories, purchased; and during the year have been thrusting the book onto friends, and relatives telling them they must read it.
This collection of stories cannot be simply categorised. Their common threads are that each is 101 words long, each deals with an aspect of a relationship (with an increasingly bizarrely named collection of female partners). The stories are very short, dark, cynical, bitter, moving. But, most importantly they are peppered with humour, sometimes gentle, sometimes surreal, sometimes absurd, sometimes harsh. In brief vignettes Rhodes says more about love and masculinity, than is said in far longer works.
It took me one train journey to first read the book through, but this is too indulgent. The stories are as distilled as poetry, should be savoured. Since the first reading I have returned to the book regularly, and will often recall scenarios, brief expressions.
Part Borges, part Calvino, part Brautigan, this short story collection was for me book of the year in 2000.
If you enjoy Calvino's Invisible Cities, Brautigan's Revenge of the Lawn, anything by Borges, or James Meek's Last Orders you will enjoy this book.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Thoughtcat on January 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
I tried for years to write novels. I had plenty of good ideas, but my writing collapsed after just a few chapters. Thinking I was finished, I stumbled on Anthropology by Dan Rhodes, a brilliant collection of 101 stories, each of 101 words. These transcendental mini-dramas inspired me: why spend months on a novel when I could write several stories in a day? I worked joyously on my Rhodesian gems, and before I knew it I had a book. However, although literary agents loved it, they said it was unpublishable, because it had already been done by Dan Rhodes....
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on February 12, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Anthropology is a collection of humorous, surreal, cleverly crafted short stories with a special twist. Each of the 101 stories by Dan Rhodes is precisely 101 words in length. Each funny, heartbreaking, sweet, and true tale is told economically while capturing the many complex emotions that encompass the notion of love. Here is love in all its aspects, fancies, facets, and guises. Anthropology is one of those anthologies that will be read again and again, clearly establishing Dan Rhodes as a skilled, innovative, and talented writer to be reckoned with and sought out in the future.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Fafner on October 9, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This little book took me about 2 hours to read. Though its small sections do not allow for any sort of plot or character development, the formula works very well. Instead of a story, the reader is treated to little burst from the main character's life. Always focused on his love live(s), they can be funny or tragic, profound or slightly irritating. Their strength is in their simplicity.
Pick this one up you won't be disappointed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Chiang Hai Tat on September 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
this book contains 101 stories written in 101 words each about weird girlfriends, relationships, romance and love. if you like the classic 'exercises in style' by the french writer raymond queneau who wrote a simple short story in over a hundred different ways, you'll like this book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A. Whitney VINE VOICE on May 14, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Dan Rhodes book is peopled by amusing losers, remorseless heartbreakers and the truly clueless. His ability to convey in 101 words what would take many writers several paragraphs is impressive. I laughed out loud to many of the stories and even read a few aloud to a friend. The only drawback is that the stories all focus on dysfunctional relationships often with a cruel and unloving girlfriend as the subject, so the stories began to grate when read together. I figured that out early and decided to only read a few stories before bed. Much better approach and much funnier when taken in small bits.
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