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Big Cats: Stories Paperback – Deckle Edge, July 6, 2005
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Top Customer Reviews
This collection of short stories deals with outbursts of emotions. Feelings that have been bottled up under the surface and find a moment to explode, in many different ways. Reinhorn describes a host of characters, each one is a whole entity, a round character full of different angels and many inner wounds. The stories are all disturbing in this way or another and each one can be dealt with and analyzed in detail. This, by the way, is some of my frustration with such a rich book of short stories. Each story is a world of its own. I felt it is hard to read more then one story in a sitting as they are so strong, vivid and full.
In "F--- you", a woman in some kind of personal distress that is only hinted upon picks a young boy of the road, acting, as "she should" in normal motherly situations. But somehow, although her behavior starts as seemingly appropriate, the situation turns to be awkward when she finds herself outbursting in front of this boy in her back yard pool. She now has an audience to turn her frustrations against. Although the woman does not do anything really harmful, we feel her behavior deteriorating and her way of speech seems totally out of place. This story is quite uncomfortable to the reader as many of the "not do" rules of conduct are broken and you get a picture of a woman on the edge.
"Big Cats" gives us a minute-by-minute detail of an escalation of the relationship between two teenaged girls. As the story develops we learn that each one has her reasons to team up with the other.Read more ›
Reinhorn's work has garnered praise from some of America's finest contemporary writers, including Pulitzer-winner Marilynne Robinson - and it's well deserved. Her stories dwell thoughtfully, relentlessly, with great care and quiet mercy, on outcasts and misfits, men and women on the verge and in the midst, at crucible moments of decision and transformation - minute dramas handled with subtlety and generosity, rendered in elegant, engergetic prose.
Readers of contemporary literary fiction are sure to admire Reinhorn's debut, and look forward to her next books.
Reinhorn writes simply delicious dramas of "real life" and "real people" who are full-bodied, rich, multi-dimensional complex beings with complex stories. It is her talent that makes the complex, simple. She alternates between humor, sadness, poignancy and tenderness in a way that shouts out that she has developed her voice and speaks it with strength and commitment. I love the way her writing seeps into my consciousness and makes me live what she writes. Each story has its own drama to breathe life into the story, capturing its soul.
The title story, "Big Cats," of this collection is about two young girls who work at a zoo. They fight, attempting to be the "big cats" they aren't as yet. The author fixes her sights on the girls' minds and captures their spirit.
I love "My Name"! It is the story of a Vietnam vet who's lived in his own prison, so he understands and emphasizes with the catatonic woman he cares for and who calls him by her son's name. Though brief it is the connection the lonely man yearns for and is expressed with absolute tenderness.
Some years ago Reinhorn wrote the screenplay for the film Last Seen. Being familiar with the film it was wonderful to read the story that birthed it. It is about the mysterious disappearance of high school senior Jennifer Langsam.
Read the rest of Reinhorn's collection yourself. I don't want to give anything away. Read it and savor the flavors of life.
Reinhart has a knack for voice and characterization in that all her characters, from young girls (for example, the titular and final tales) to Vietnam Vets ("My Name") to lonely, estranged women ("The White Dog" or "F--- You") resonate with the easer. Reinhorn manages to craft fascinatingly believable characters. In fact, I often found myself wanting to hear more about certain people. Perhaps some of these stories could become seeds for future novels, Ms. Reinhorn?
Perhaps the most striking thing about all these stories is the often startling realism both in terms of dialogue and descriptions. There is a degree clarity that renders reading these tales is a bit like watching short films in an art house theatre. You can almost cast and direct them in your head! That being said, each of these stories easily stands on its own as an engrossing tale of likable characters. It's more than a "summer read", but it really is a book to enjoy.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Ok - I probably shouldn't even be writing a review, but I had to do this! I only read what I was able to read online with the "Look Inside This Book" sample which was part... Read morePublished 24 months ago by loves2read
This was a problem of high expectations. I thought it would be great and it wasn't even good.
If you want some time killer short stories, it isn't bad.
This is the worst book I ever started to read. I read a few - very few - chapters and then threw it in the trash. I am sorry I purchased it. Read morePublished on February 24, 2007 by Rosalie Tidwell Oliver
My life has suddenly become crowded with all these wonderful and interesting people. I am so grateful to Ms. Read morePublished on January 25, 2007 by T. Malloy
The stories in Big Cats are few of the most fun, entertaining ones I have read in quite a while. They have an irresistible mixture of dry humor and earnest storytelling. Read morePublished on October 10, 2005 by CoffeeGurl
I couldn't wait to finish this book and I don't mean that in a good way. This was my book club's selection for the month and it was one of the worst books I have read in a long... Read morePublished on September 25, 2005 by Jules
I ussually do not read short story books but this one has kept me interested in each and every story. The stories are very unique and definately different from each other. Read morePublished on August 11, 2005 by Tiffany
I found Ms. Reinhorn's book to be voraciously satisfying! Her characters are original, refreshing, and often times laugh out loud bawdy. Read morePublished on August 5, 2005 by Barbara J. Poelle