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Blue Has No South Paperback – April 1, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 132 pages
  • Publisher: Clockroot Books; 1st edition (April 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1566568064
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566568067
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.4 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,862,506 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The title gives a strong indication of what to expect from this flash fiction collection from Israeli author Epstein. With more than 100 short-short stories (many no longer than a few lines), there's a frenetic buzz of activity, with recurring themes including chess, mythology, rain, angels, suicide, animals, muses, time machines, tragic love, aging, and painting, all sewn together in a Borges-meets-Kafka style. Some pieces slip into metanarrative, as with "Gibraltar, a Love Story," a brief bit in which the author comments on the flaws in his tale about an elephant escaped from a zoo. Other pieces don't tell stories at all, such as "The Flawed Symmetry of Romeo and Juliet," which offers a critique of "the only lovers who see each other dead." Often it isn't the scraps of story that make the pieces work as much as the poetic language, as in a story involving the murder of a chess-playing writer. These deceptively simple snapshots certainly can deliver on a fast reading, but slow, close attention reveals layers of thought and complexity.
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About the Author

Alex Epstein is the author of three short-story collections and three novels; in 2003 he received Israel's Prime Minister's Prize for Literature. He teaches in Tel Aviv.
Becka Mara McKay is a poet and translator, most recently of Suzane Adam's Laundry.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amy Henry TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 20, 2010
Format: Paperback
Translated from Hebrew by Becka Mara McKay

I can't decide if these are short stories, lyric essays, or poems. In any case, Epstein has compiled little moments of mystery and romance, history and humor, into this slim volume from Clockroot Books. There are no dramatic flares, and no heartbreaking losses. Instead, the situations and events he describes in these short pieces are simple, personal, and honest. There is emotion, but the quiet kind endured by quiet people, an emotion that reads far more realistic than some authors can describe effectively.

In "Memory Card":

"In the winter they buy a digital camera as a surprise for the grandchildren, but they don't know how to connect it to the computer they bought the year before....the old couple takes pictures of each other. In March the woman dies in her sleep. Her husband finds the instruction manual that came with the camera and reads about pixels, about digital zoom, and jpeg and avi files, and other strange, miraculous concepts. In May he finishes the instruction manual, and removes from the camera the 1-gigabyte memory card. He places it in his deceased wife's jewelry box and closes the lid." The picture he has created in so few words reveals the enthusiasm of this couple to share with their grandchildren, the shock of death, and the quiet picture of a man diligently trying to figure out how to save her face. That he doesn't wish to share this "memory card" illuminates how deep his feelings are. I could easily picture him in a chair, trying to decipher the jargon and afraid of messing something up and losing the photos forever. Epstein puts all that into a deceptively simple little paragraph.

In "Another Way Out", he tells another picturesque story.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Liath on October 20, 2010
Format: Paperback
The shortness of the stories belies their depth. With titles like "Another Conversation with Death," "The Last Dreams in the Garden of Eden," "The Crippled Angel," and "A Short and Sad Imaginary Guidebook for the Traveler to Prague," Epstein's stories are minimalist yet nuanced. When the end result is so short, every word matters, and Epstein plays with his words, coaxing multiple images out of a single phrase.

More of my review: [...]
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By JPP on January 8, 2013
Format: Paperback
Whenever I forget this book for too long, I'll remember "Continuity" in which "The time traveler returns home to discover that his wife has changed the locks again." And that that sentence can only be as much as it is, contain as many possible stories, all of them ultimately the same story, because it's the only sentence of the story. And that reminds me of his three-sentence story about writing love stories, in which if the first line can make the second obsolete, then it becomes the only line necessary, and that the sentence following that sentence points out that the future (which is the if) separates them (once again) more than distance. And then the title story, and "Positions of Sleep" and all of them. I love this book.
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