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Emerald City Kindle Edition

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Length: 192 pages

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Lustrous. . . .These stories sparkle with Egan's fresh imagery and precise renderings of mood and place. . . . A writer of tremendous intelligence and grace.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer“Boldly modulated tales of displacement and blazing moments of truth. . . . Riveting, vaguely Hitchcockian. . . . Piercingly tender. . . . Outstanding.” —The New York Times Book Review“Immensely appealing. . . . Told with dazzling insight and emotional daring.” —Elle“[Egan] deftly depicts the ways in which women can create glamorously detailed personas for another based on passing observations.” —Time


From the Trade Paperback edition.

About the Author

Jennifer Egan is the author of many bestselling, critically acclaimed books, including The Invisible Circus, The Keep, and Emerald City and Other Stories. In 2011 she was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for her novel A Visit From the Goon Squad. Also a journalist, she writes frequently in the New York Times Magazine.

Product Details

  • File Size: 915 KB
  • Print Length: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (September 29, 2010)
  • Publication Date: September 29, 2010
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0043M4YZ8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #362,222 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Jennifer Egan was born in Chicago, where her paternal grandfather was a police commander and bodyguard for President Truman during his visits to that city. She was raised in San Francisco and studied at the University of Pennsylvania and St. John's College, Cambridge, in England. In those student years she did a lot of traveling, often with a backpack: China, the former USSR, Japan, much of Europe, and those travels became the basis for her first novel, The Invisible Circus, and her story collection, Emerald City. She came to New York in 1987 and worked an array of wacky jobs while learning to write: catering at the World Trade Center; joining the word processing pool at a midtown law firm; serving as the private secretary for the Countess of Romanones, an OSS spy-turned-Spanish countess (by marriage), who wrote a series of bestsellers about her spying experiences and famous friends.
Egan has published short stories in many magazines, including The New Yorker, Harpers, Granta and McSweeney's. Her first novel, The Invisible Circus, came out in 1995 and was released as a movie starring Cameron Diaz in 2001. Her second novel, Look at Me, was a National Book Award Finalist in 2001, and her third, The Keep, was a national bestseller. Also a journalist, Egan has written many cover stories for the New York Times Magazine on topics ranging from young fashion models to the secret online lives of closeted gay teens. Her 2002 cover story on homeless children received the Carroll Kowal Journalism Award, and her 2008 story on bipolar children won an Outstanding Media Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two sons.

Photo credit Pieter M. Van Hattem

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By MZ on March 3, 2010
Format: Paperback
I love this writer, with her dry, terse voice that somehow tells all. As you read the stories, you can trust that something very real is going to happen; not something "fictional" or contrived, but an event such as could happen in real life. Not that the lives of her characters are like yours and mine; they all suffer from modern malaise of one kind or another; they all need love or else are so numb they don't know they don't have it.

One masterful story, "One Piece," chronicles an intense love needing to break out as a brother and sister strive for normalcy in an unimaginably beleaguered family. The pain of their circumstances would be unthinkable, but here we see decency, people trying to do the right thing, and then the extraordinary conclusion. This piece is uncharacteristically dramatic for Jennifer Egan, but it works beautifully and the story leaves you breathless.

Egan's language and her dialogue are reliably right. One the devices I like most about her is that she will tell the story in the present but will then fast-forward to the outcome years later. In her hands, this works perfectly: it's just what we want her to do.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Hawlywood on July 27, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's tough to articulate why Jennifer Egan is my new favorite author -- I suppose she has edged out Ian McEwan, finally. This collection of short stories is a terrific way to get to know her as a writer. I've also really enjoyed "Look at Me" and "The Keep" from Egan, and look forward to "A Visit from the Goon Squad."

She is able to avoid clichés like hardly anyone else can, invoke emotional responses about the most unconventional concerns, make me smile and laugh at the strangest moments, and keep me turning pages.

Some would call her a postmodern writer, I'm sure, because of her constant pushing at the edges of convention. To me, she makes reading exciting again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Ang on June 24, 2011
Format: Paperback
This collection spans the early output of Jennifer Egan originally published from the late 80s to mid-90s, when the writer was just starting out. Given that the writer was still so young then, these stories are even more impressive because they possess an assured tone of voice and attention to detail, that at times (dare I say it?) reminds one of the terse style of the late cult short story maestro Raymond Carver.

While Egan is most successful when getting under the skin of a cosmopolitan woman in stories like "The Stylist", "Passing the Hat" and the titular story about a fashion photographer and the doomed-to-fail model, she is equally adept at bringing to life the concerns of a middle-aged man confronting an old nemesis in a foreign and hostile locale in "Why China?". That story is striking because she creates such a strong picture of time and place that it seems to inform the protagonist's actions and lead him to risk his own life and his family's.

Elsewhere in the collection, there are pubescent angsty girls walking the thin line ("Sacred Heart" and "Sisters of the Moon"), women confronting their marriages, failed, tired or both ("Letter to Josephine" and "Spanish Winter"), and children who cope with loss and betrayal ("One Piece" and "Puerto Vallarta").

A sparkling and promising collection.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. P. Birkett on April 23, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Thefts and adultery are frequent themes in these stories about the rich and the beautiful, set in China, Chicago, Kenya, Mexico, Spain, Bora Bora, New York and San Francisco. The protagonists vary in age and sex but somehow always have the same quality of being bored and disappointed in their relationships. They do not seem to enjoy traveling; trust is always misplaced; wealth brings no satisfaction.
That makes the book sound depressing, but it's not. Humor comes from sharp observations of human foibles, the plots are strong and the stories are entertaining.
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By ConcupusAl on September 14, 2014
Format: Paperback
I'm a fan of Jennifer Egan. She's really good at character development and in a few short words you get an idea of what kind of person she's alluding to. Emerald City is composed of 11 short stories and while I enjoyed all of them, the first and last most resonated with me. The first is about a successful businessman who takes his family to China, supposedly on a vacation, but really to avoid the heat of an investigation into fraud. He runs across a man that grifted 25k from him years ago. The man doesn't recognize him and he starts following him around. They go around China, without him or the other man knowing why he's doing this and while he embroils his family in this mess he finds resolution with his own sins. The last story deals with a shy, 15 year old girl who does acid for the first time. Occurs in the 70s, in Manhattan, theirs some peer pressure from her friends, and she views the world differently at the end of the experience. My descriptions seem trite but Jennifer Egan is great in bringing a simple story to real life by enmeshing her sensibilities into her work
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Format: Paperback
Usually I don't like short stories as they end before anything really interesting can happen. These were great views of failed or failing life choices especially marriages. The title was so appropriate as if the characters were all searching for the Oz they couldn't achieve. So surprised that Egan could use these interesting themes on stories rather than developing them into novels. She has a fertile mind and let's hope she can keep presenting us with more.
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