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Ether: Seven Stories and a Novella Hardcover – April 27, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1 edition (April 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780374298876
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374298876
  • ASIN: 0374298874
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 6.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #618,644 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Screenwriter Citkowitz maps the territory where false starts and disappointment sometimes lead to unexpected opportunities in her debut collection of capricious stories and a disturbing novella. The title novella follows William, a frustrated writer who abandons New York for L.A. and falls in love with gorgeous actress Madeline. Their quick marriage inspires him to begin work on an autobiographical novel, but when Madeline develops a mysterious illness and befriends a strange young man (William calls him the Psycho), his attraction to her sours and his writing takes a dark turn. In The Bachelor's Table, Jonathan Edel, a new father, buys an unwieldy antique table on a nostalgic whim, and its presence through an uncomfortable Christmas with his alcoholic mother-in-law forces him to confront old regrets and feelings of inadequacy. An aging actress adopts a troubled boy in Sunday's Child, and the challenges they both encounter—at school, at home—come to an unexpected head when a young homeless woman is found sleeping in the boy's backyard playhouse. For all the uncomfortable situations and prickly emotion, the pieces are remarkably easy to digest. (May)
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From Booklist

This engaging debut collection looks at diverse characters on the edge, as they struggle with vulnerability and the conflicts in their choices, large and small. With “The Bachelor’s Table,” Jonathan, a lawyer, finds a rare item at an antique store. When he learns that the treasure was sold to him at a grossly mistaken price, he finds himself at a personal crossroad. In “Sunday’s Child,” a middle-aged foster mother is tormented by her reaction when she discovers a young homeless woman living in her garden shed. The nuanced title tale and novella follows William, a best-selling debut author, as he moves from New York to Los Angeles to complete his next book. There he meets and falls in love with an up-and-coming young actress, Madeline, but as their relationship deepens, so does William’s writer’s block. When Madeline begins to suffer from an unusual physical condition and her stability begins to crumble, William makes a detrimental choice to complete his manuscript. Citkowitz deftly balances the rawer emotions of life—resentment, desire, humiliation—with a crafted, clever tone. --Leah Strauss

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Vivek Tejuja on June 25, 2011
Format: Paperback
Ether is one book I would recommend to all and mainly because we all can relate to the search for "identity" - the need to be known, know our roots and identify with where we come from and where we want to go.

The stories and novella in this collection are zesty in the sense that while dealing with a serious topic, the author manages to add in humour to this collection. For me, this collection was beautifully dealt with. It makes the reader sit up and take notice. It also makes the reader analyze the meaning of "identity" and its value in his or her life.

The stories in this collection are riveting. They speak for themselves, without giving too much time and that's what I loved about the writing. For instance, in "Sunday's Child" - a middle-aged actress literally evicts a homeless woman from her garden. This for me was the best story in the entire collection, and that was because of conscience - the feeling it evokes and the questions it raises in this story is brilliantly put.

On the other hand, in "The Bachelor's Table", we meet a lawyer, who very conveniently takes advantage of an accounting mistake only to realize way after as to what he has done. The title story, "Ether" takes us into the mind of a writer who has a block and how he plagiarizes his own life.

The stories in this collection are unlike the others that I have read before. They touch the core of the soul and make you question events and situations you probably wouldn't have earlier. For me the book was perfect, the stories were what they were meant to be - thought-provoking, providing the required eye for detail and most certainly the kind of stories you want to keep going back to once in a while.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Laurie A. Brown VINE VOICE on December 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book is comprised of seven short stories (one very, very short indeed) and the title story, a novella. These stories are little jewels. They cut to the heart; the characters are depicted without mercy but with dark humor. These are people whose lives have taken turns they hadn't planned on, as happens to all of us. Most have come from dysfunctional families, and we see how some have succumbed to that and some have survived and been made stronger. A couple of the stories brush up against surrealism without stepping into it. At first glance, some of the stories seem slight, but on reflection, they are deep.
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Format: Hardcover
This exquisite collection of short stories is both thrilling and astonishing to read. The author captures a wide range of vividly drawn characters. No two stories are alike, except for the compelling way in which their stories unfold. I highly recommend this book. The author is extremely gifted at going below the surface of ordinary lives and creating worlds and nuanced characters who are both flawed but fascinating.
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