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Break It Down (High Risk Books) Paperback – April 1, 1996


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New Adult Fiction by Rainbow Rowell
Acclaimed author Rainbow Rowell's latest book, Landline, offers a poignant, humorous look at relationships and marriage. Learn more

Product Details

  • Series: High Risk Books
  • Paperback: 196 pages
  • Publisher: Serpent's Tail (April 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1852424214
  • ISBN-13: 978-1852424213
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,732,099 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
I have never written an online review, but I just could not help myself this time. "Break It Down" is absolutely exquisite. Not only can Ms. Davis write, she can make you FEEL what she's writing about. There is a pulse to her stories that grabs you and will not let you go. Her exploration of the individual's need for rationalization and order in the world is powerfully conveyed and leaves you aching for her characters. I've read many good short stories by many good authors, but seldom do I come across anything that rocked my world--This rocked my world.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By C. Ebeling on May 14, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In a rare miscue, Amazon has plugged in the Publisher's Weekly review of a murder mystery which this collection of cutting edge fiction is anything but. This is short fiction by a rare voice. Lots of writers have done very short fiction, lots have experimented with style, few get it right like Lydia Davis. She strips the conventions of fiction down to the barest essentials, often speaking from a removed perspective. She adds just enough strokes of imagery, however, to warm it up and allow the reader to enjoy a rich experience. Davis is in total control. I highly recommend this volume to anyone who wants to know what is going on at the forefront of literary fiction. Another note: this edition, a trade paperback, is of uncommon high quality, with a cover that sports flaps like the dust jacket on a hardcover.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Susan Goodrich on December 24, 1999
Format: Paperback
Lydia Davis is among the best writers writing today, but I'm not sure that's the point. There are zero other writers I would do with as with her - press it on out of town visitors, make them read The Mouse before I will take them out to whatever they came here for. I am not sure why it doesn't appear in collections of the best stories of the latter half of the century, but it should.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. T. Towers on August 26, 2005
Format: Paperback
A master of the short-short story. The friend who introduced me to this book -- reprinted nicely by High Risk, although I read it in the original, sadly out of print hardback -- pointed out that one probably wouldn't want to hang out with Lydia Davis. She's obsessive and a bit morbid, but she nails certain male-female relations cleanly on the head. Smart women do make bad bedmates sometimes, but their books do not.

(I am signing this as a smart woman in hopes of averting charges of sexism -- women aren't the problem I have, nor are men -- it's the obsessing over the minute details of relationships that many women and some men fall prone to.)
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Edelman TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 16, 2001
Format: Paperback
"Break it Down" is a varied collection of pieces- some as short as a paragraph, some of short stroy length, but none of them are at all like anything else you've ever read.
Some pieces seem to be simple narrative of the author's life- a small detail, dwelled on in depth and worked over until every bit of meaning is wrung out of them. Some merely evoke a mood, or a feeling.
The title story- "Break it Down"- is a man's internal monologue, reflecting on (at first) the cost of a relationship, as he tries to make sense of it, and eventually its meaning to him, and how it affected him. It is a startling honest and accurate- to this reader, at least- portrayal of the thoughts and feelings that accompany a relationship, and that mark its end. It is also a stralingly accurate portrayal of (and, one would have to assume, understanding of) a man's internal monologue given that it's being told by a woman. Or perhaps men and women are more alike in this regard than most of us suspect.
Regardless, it's a brilliant story, and by itself justifies purchase of this book. The rest is just icing on the cake.
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