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Esther Stories Paperback – April 23, 2013


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books (April 23, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316224685
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316224680
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,062,326 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for ESTHER STORIES (2001)

"There's startling intimacy in every story of Peter Orner's debut collection."—Judy Doenges, Washington Post

"I was stunned by a sentence or two in every one of the works in Esther Stories." Rick Moody, The Hartford Courant

"A luminous debut collection. . . .Like Amy Bloom and Charles Baxter, Orner has a gift for revealing how the tragic and the mundane occupy equal berths in our limited mental space."—John Freeman, Chicago Tribune

"Some of Orner's very short stories are the best of that form that I have read since Isaac Babel's."—Andre Dubus

"If the short story were in need of a future, it has been found in Peter Orner."—Dennis Lehane

"These are stories of unusual delicacy and beauty, and this is a remarkable collection."—Charles Baxter

"Orner doesn't simply bring his characters to life, he gives them souls."—Margot Livesey, New York Times Book Review

About the Author

Peter Orner is the author of two other books, The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo, and Love and Shame and Love. Some of the stories in Esther Stories first appeared in Atlantic Monthly, Epoch, North American Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, and Southern Review, among other periodicals. One was reprinted in The Best American Short Stories 2001, and another in The Pushcart Prize XXVI. Orner was born in Chicago and now lives in San Francisco.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
5 star
75%
4 star
0%
3 star
13%
2 star
13%
1 star
0%
See all 8 customer reviews
I've been able to finish each one at one sitting.
David
The chief thing I noticed in this book was the ability of its author to create an atmosphere which gives substance to the lives that take shape within it.
KVA
She is a real character who is seen in different lights as her story is told.
ChristophFischerBooks

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By ChristophFischerBooks TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 5, 2013
Format: Paperback
Esther Stories" by Peter Orner is a marvellous compilation of short stories.
The first parts are a short and seemingly unconnected selection of stories. They were mostly amazing pieces of literature with characters that got me caring and feeling with them more than some entire novels achieve to do. Small snippets of every day life, beautifully told and with a distinct and captivating voice.

As I gave up to look for the connecting thread between the pieces I began to enjoy the stories even more. While I found the first part more melancholic and sentimental overall, the second part brought in more subtle humour. With an emotional and intense collection of stories as this however I was beginning to long for characters and stories that would engage me for longer, which fortunately is exactly what the third part and fourth part did.

Focusing more on reprising characters and showing the life of entire families Orner's unique and characteristic writing style unfolds and is given a chance to exploit more than just glimpses of life, love and loss.

The title of this book is taken from one story, the story of one woman and her unfortunate love life and marriage, as told in snippets at her funeral by the surviving relatives. She is a real character who is seen in different lights as her story is told. This collection of memories here is a good reflection of the richness of stories in the book. She may not be symbolic for the entire novel but she is a great example of the kind of stories Orner longs to tell.
Countless stories that made me think, feel and wonder, too many to mention; this book has a richness that makes it feel as if I had just read a selection of really good novels.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David Marquette on June 11, 2013
Format: Paperback
Re-reading ESTHER STORIES (2001) more than a decade after its original publication, I continue to be astonished by the tender worldliness, quiet passion, understated wisdom, and luminous poetry of Orner's first collection. So does Marilynne Robinson, who provides an insightful "Foreword" to the new paperback edition. These 34 precise and economical stories are dense with details (names, places, dates, smells, tastes), scattered with things--especially with books and photographs, with love's debris. The narrator of the title story looks at a photograph of his Aunt Esther, and sees someone who wants to be seen and not just looked at, "someone [he] would have loved had [he] been there." Orner does not just look at his characters, he sees them, sees their souls, lovingly re-imagines their stories and shares his revelations, his characters' simple, aching stories, with us in language we can understand and remember. These are stories about love and remembrance in America, stories about remembering to love and remembering to remember. These are stories that deserve to be taught in schools, next to stories by Poe and Hawthorne and Malamud and Roth to illustrate the art of short American stories. These are stories that should be shared by families who care about loving and remembering and about knowing each other's stories. And of course they should send you back to Orner's last haunting book, LOVE AND SHAME AND LOVE (2012), and forward to his next and most mature collection so far, LAST CAR OVER THE SAGAMORE BRIDGE (August 2013). One or more of these stories is sure to convince you that Orner has been eavesdropping on your family.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By KVA on October 2, 2013
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The chief thing I noticed in this book was the ability of its author to create an atmosphere which gives substance to the lives that take shape within it. He is simply marvellous at that. The lives themselves are often ones of "quiet desparation" but well worth our notice. The result is a kind of comment on the condition of living today.
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By David on September 21, 2013
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Just as my attention span is getting shorter and shorter.
Peter Orner is saving me. Perfect short stories at, sometimes,
less than a page. I've been able to finish each one at one sitting.
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