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Babe in Paradise Hardcover – July, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Silver sets her oblique, atmospheric tales against the backdrop of a sprawling Los Angeles in this uneven but promising first short story collection. Many of the nine stories are equipped with painfully real characters and strikingly inventive writing, but too often an exciting premise leads to a dead end, and characters metamorphose in ways that go unexplored. In "Statues," for example, a recently married couple, struggling to feel at home in L.A., winds up at the home of two adult-film impresarios, where without much preamble (or motivation) the young wife asks them to "make a movie of her." After an anticlimactic filming scene, the story ends abruptly in the middle of the couple's tense ride home. Silver may be at her best when channeling the intensely tribal world of girls: through a character named Babe, featured in three of the stories, we see the fate that awaits a young woman in L.A. who is neither beautiful, happy nor rich and more gratifyingly, we see how she manages to redeem herself. Several stories offer an alternately affectionate and frightening view of L.A.'s car culture. In "What I Saw from Where I Stood," one of the more powerful and taut entries, a carjacking spurs a tragic emotional response in a young woman who has recently miscarried a baby, while her husband looks on, helpless to save her. As a whole, the collection is a nod to the "other" great American metropolis: L.A.'s unique ability to be "everywhere and nowhere at the same time" is carefully, almost reverently documented. Sporadically illuminating if ultimately disappointing, Silver's tales aim to show how, with a little bravery, anyone can learn to love the City of Angels. 5-city author tour.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Silver's stories gained her critical acclaim in the New Yorker last year. The stories collected in her first book are set in a harsh Los Angeles, in which people just barely get by. A woman called Babe is often either central or incidental in them. She battles the raging fires that threaten her house and the sanity of her unstable mother in the title story. She is apprehended as a burglar in "Thief," provoking a redemption. Later, as a chauffeur in "The Passenger," she traumatically discovers the cargo abandoned by some passengers who suddenly disappeared. In other stories, a couple comes to terms with losing their child after a carjacking and an elderly mother finally comes to terms with the Holocaust, a topic she has avoided almost all her life. Silver's stories present Los Angeles as it exists apart from the glamour of Hollywood, and they show that there is drama enough in common, everyday life. Michael Spinella
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (July 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393020037
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393020038
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,463,630 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 25, 2002
Format: Hardcover
The joy of reading Marisa Silver's short stories comes from never knowing what the next one will bring. She reminds me of a brilliant wizard, always conjuring up little surprises and NEVER resorting to the cliche. My suggestion is to read one story a day. You will feel like you have treated yourself to a nice surprise at the end of the day - but be forewarned. When you turn the last page, you will be sad that the journey is over.
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