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Death Wishing [Kindle Edition]

Laura Ellen Scott
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $2.99

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Book Description

"This is a terrific story, beautifully written, and completely enthralling."—Dorothy Allison

In post-Katrina New Orleans, dying wishes can cure cancer, eliminate cats, bring back Elvis (1968 vintage), and turn the clouds orange. Divorced and disgraced up north, Victor hopes to live a carefree, drunken existence in the French Quarter, making capes and corsets and lusting for the girl who lives across the street—until the hysteria surrounding "death wishing" changes his world in ways he never imagined.

Laura Ellen Scott teaches fiction writing at George Mason University. Her work has been selected for The Wigleaf Top Fifty of 2009 and Barrelhouse magazine's "Futures" issue. She has twice been nominated for Dzanc's Best of the Web 2010 anthology.

Editorial Reviews


"I admire the sentences, the clarity of mind, and characters who catch and keep our attention. Bob Dylan sings about a journey 'all the way from New Orleans to Jerusalem...' as way of apotheizing, scrutinizing, recognizing the world we live in. Laura Scott is on the way."--Alan Cheuse, Song of Slaves in the Desert

"A story as hot, sticky, and dangerous as Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, seen through an imagination as kaleidoscopic as Kelly Link's."--Steve Himmer, The Bee-Loud Glade

"Something hazy is happening in Fat City. Laura Ellen Scott dials up loads of laughs amid the local color and NOLA cuisine in this madcap romp of a novel where last wishes come true, Elvis is back under newly orange clouds, coffee cups are bottomless, and street punks wear capes."--Richard Peabody, editor Gargoyle Magazine

About the Author

Laura Ellen Scott teaches fiction writing at George Mason University, where she is the Department's Academic Coordinator. Her work has been selected for The Wigleaf Top Fifty of 2009 and Barrelhouse magazine's Futures issue. She has twice been nominated for Dzanc's Best of the Web 2010 anthology.

Product Details

  • File Size: 411 KB
  • Print Length: 290 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1935439391
  • Publisher: Ig Publishing (October 11, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005OVJID0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #726,893 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Book is My Cup of Magically Bottomless Coffee October 17, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Death Wishing has a fantastic premise, compellingly wrought characters, a fine sense of humor and a touch of madness. It has gotten some one-star reviews because it has been offered for a time for free and people are reading it who don't normally read literary fiction. I salute them for trying it but I wish they knew the difference between "this is boring" and "this is not the kind of thing I like to read." It is not their cup of tea, but it is mine.

It is an exciting book, combining fantastic notions (elvis returning, third eyes, magical shellfish) with well-wrought realities (divorce, age-inappropriate crushes, alcohol, one-night stands, and the all-encompassing "why the hell am I doing this" of middle-age). The resulting brew seems less a post-Katrina novel than a post-9/11 novel. When the world falls apart, when we live in the contradictory state of knowing surprises are imminent--grand, impersonal, awful suprises--what becomes of us? The answer, it seems, is quite personal.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What an amazing book October 16, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I love "what if" novels--those that imagine the world as we know it, with a slight variation. In this case, the "what if" is the phenomenon of death wishing. For reasons unknown, some people are able to articulate a dying wish and their wish is granted. It doesn't happen every time, but it does happen more often in post-Katrina New Orleans-which makes this account of a city known for its eccentricities even more memorable.

The "what if" aside, Scott has created truly memorable characters that you'll think about days after you finish it. She has also captured perfectly those ephemeral characteristics of the New Orleans sense of place, making this a fantastic read.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gritty, Bizarre, and Strangely Touching October 18, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Death Wishing is a deeply weird novel, from soup to nuts. The premise -- that the final wishes of the dying sometimes come true -- is delivered to the reader offhandedly, like a bit of passing gossip rather than a fundamental shift between our world and the world of the novel. The narrator (Victor) is something of an improbable character (although I confess I have not been to New Orleans, perhaps the place is littered with men like this) and though he is not always very likable, I admired the earnestness of him. His descriptions are vivid and carry a great deal of weight, but are never burdensome. Victor's world is both romantic and seedy. The supporting cast is made up of characters who feel very real and three-dimensional, and even the one-off folks who are just encountered in the street seem carefully constructed (without being overwrought).

I would not call this novel an easy read, nor do I believe it was ever intended as such. I don't think I would recommend it to anyone who prefers not to be challenged by a book, because I think it would be unbearable. That's not to say Death Wishing isn't fun to read -- on the contrary, there are a lot of laughs here, and some prurient little tidbits that seem entirely natural. If you enjoy emotional complexity in your reading, Death Wishing will deliver. It also rubs elbows a bit with genre fiction (horror and scifi/fantasy come to mind) and retains a little waft of each, so I would not consider it a strictly "literary fiction" piece -- some people find that a bit daunting. This one is pretty friendly to readers who don't often pick up literary novels.

I may wait a bit before trying to read it again, but I can already tell that this is one of those books that I will want to revisit.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rare Balancing Act October 18, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Death Wishing conjures the weird texture of New Orleans, and especially the specifics of the French Quarter, with a sly sense of humor and eerie observations. It's perhaps southern gothic magical realism--but why turn to labels? The unexpected turns of the plot (too subtle and natural to be deemed "twists") unfold much like life, sweet and sad, as these very human characters persevere in a world that's long-gone past normal. Insights abound, often spun out of witty similes or a killer, deadpan delivery. Scott's comic timing is sharp, and the narrative voice here brought me to laughter often and easily. I kept thinking how cinematic the story is, and how, in the right hands, it would make a wonderful movie. In short, if you "get" the Cohen brothers and David Lynch, if you don't mind our collective reality being ripped open to let some orange clouds and darkness in, if you understand New Orleans is already a magical place like no other, and if you appreciate the craft and polish of real literature, buy this book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderfully Fun, Whimsical Read October 19, 2011
I love books that seem as fun to have written as they are to read. There is much to love here--an alternate reality where (some) people's dying wishes come true, great, vivid, lovable characters, and an engaging plot. I really enjoyed this novel on many levels and was sad when it came to an end. It makes me want to go to New Orleans for sure.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun read--but thought provoking, too October 25, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read this on my Kindle, and enjoyed it more than I had expected (there were few formatting errors to distract, which is not always the case). The premise of "death wishing" is intriguing, and the author takes it in some unexpected directions, some amusing, others thoughtful, some sad. The characters are believable, and I cared about the protagonist, and about his best friend (less so about some of the other characters, but none were a turn off). Life in New Orleans post-Katrina and post-the fantastical death wish onset is convincingly portrayed, part of what I liked about it as I am a huge fan of New Orleans. The ending (no spoilers here) was not what I was expecting, but totally fit what had been developing. Despite its surreal premise, this novel might not draw in readers who are mainly interested in urban fantasy--it is much more real than it is fantasy, and about human nature responding in deeply if unhappily real ways to unexpected changes in their world. Recommended for those of us who enjoy literary fiction with more than a touch of whimsy.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Inventive premise, well executed!
I bought Death Wishing after hearing the author read a portion of it at the Writer's Center in DC. Years after reading this book, I keep finding myself recommending it to other... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Tara Campbell
5.0 out of 5 stars Tangerine clouds and Elvis lives! in the big easy.
No one knows how it happened, but suddenly if you wish for something in New Orleans, you get your wish. Read more
Published 13 months ago by J.Taylor
Sly humor bound softly within softcover ... not to be missed! This is a conceptually enterprising book: It's driven by a demon of an idea that may not be communicated by the... Read more
Published on October 20, 2012 by Carl Thompson
5.0 out of 5 stars A thoroughly enjoyable read
Before I purchase books, I read all the reviews. I confess I tend to be swayed by a preponderance of negative reviews. Read more
Published on May 24, 2012 by citygirl
4.0 out of 5 stars Wishing is Good for You
In Laura Ellen Scott's smart and quirky debut novel Death Wishing, the last muttered desires of some, though not all, are coming to pass. Read more
Published on February 13, 2012 by Mel Bosworth
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite books from 2011
DEATH WISHING by Laura Ellen Scott is one of my favorite books from 2011. It's not just the idea behind the phenomenon of "death wishing" in the book that's ingenious (not to... Read more
Published on January 10, 2012 by Robert Swartwood
5.0 out of 5 stars category: must read
This is a good book in lots of ways--but one really basic one: when you set it down, after finishing a section, it's going to call you back to it; and when it's over, you'll miss... Read more
Published on January 9, 2012 by Roy Harm
3.0 out of 5 stars Almost 4 stars
My favorite kind of sci-fi literature is that which makes a small technological change in the world and then examines the societal changes which result; that is thoughtful... Read more
Published on January 2, 2012 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Magic and Mayhem
There's not a lot I can say that hasn't been said, but it's worth repeating...

I downloaded Death Wishing when it was offered for a free weekend (I bought a paperback... Read more
Published on December 4, 2011 by Dr. John A. Minichillo
5.0 out of 5 stars Death Wishing
First time I`ve taken time to review a Kindle novel. The microkeyboard IS a PITA. First time I`ve used the highlighter feature. Read more
Published on November 11, 2011 by Margaret H. Diffenbach
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