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One Hundred and Forty Five Stories in a Small Box: Hard to Admit and Harder to Escape, How the Water Feels to the Fishes, and Minor Robberies Hardcover – September 20, 2007


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One Hundred and Forty Five Stories in a Small Box: Hard to Admit and Harder to Escape, How the Water Feels to the Fishes, and Minor Robberies + A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 300 pages
  • Publisher: McSweeney's; First Edition edition (September 20, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193241682X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932416824
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 5.3 x 1.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #710,638 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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I award the box five stars for Unferth's book alone.
ATeacherFromFlorida
Brings up All types of feelings, and if you continue reading, sometimes, quickly switches them to another.
Anna
Deb Unferth, Dave Eggers and Sarah Manguso are just extremely entertaining.
Kendra Deganhardt

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Ellen L. on October 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This box of stories is such a treat! The stories in each of the three books might come from the same tradition and share some sensibilities (the precision of language, lovingly crafted sentences), but each has its own voice, style, and character. And that's part of the pleasure: each book is a discovery! Dave Eggers's collection, for example, is full of miniature portraits, the characters (some named, others nameless) caught in strange predicaments (a boy named Charles, who never has his picture taken; a woman named Puma, who has so many friends she must find a way to escape them). In Sarah Manguso's book, a narrator alternates between peculiar experiences of the adult life and the memories of childhood, each childhood vignette a perfect life lesson (an incident with a cruel science teacher, an encounter with a class bully), though the outcome of each is wonderfully unexpected. Deb Olin Unferth's stories are mysterious and surreal (objects disappear in foreign countries, a woman is transformed into a machine and has an affair), often hilarious ("Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: A bit of a brat, so they say. But his wife loved him."), but also recognizable and heartbreaking.

And of course, like all McSweeney's books, this set is exquisitely made. A real treasure!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By C. Wycoff on February 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Unferth's Minor Robberies is a rare treat: at times metafictional, at times formally experimental, at times just plain wacky, these short-short stories delight without becoming glib. Standout stories include "Sickos" which features a "very vaguely, very religious" sex worker, "Give Them the Bag" a funny and strangely heart-breaking tale of sisters traveling together, and "Single Percent" a mathematical analysis of romantic commitment. Bring this lovely book with you everywhere so you can catch a story whenever you have a few minutes.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Reader on November 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The three books in this set complement each other well. Although I enjoyed all three, Deb Olin Unferth's Minor Robberies stands out in this group. It is delightfully humorous, adventurous, and with a touch of mystery at times. Unferth's stories cover various topics from relationships, to families, to South American travel, to the lives of great composers and architects. Each story has its own life and ends up in a different place, sometimes an unexpected one. Her stories are accessible, I felt compelled several times to call my friends and read to them out loud. Unferth has a talent for changing an entire story around in one line, and sometimes changing it back with the next. All of the books in this set are carefully written, stylistically interesting and worth reading. I highly recommend it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Walters on November 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
These stories are small, sharp, lovely, and giving. Read Deb Olin Unferth's "To Be Honest". Then read it again. And again. Each time it expands, contracts, twists into a tiny ball, then grows giant. This is an amazing trio of books in the prettiest of mcsweeney's packages. the perfect present (who isn't psyched for dave eggers in their stocking) if there are still any left. i bought 3.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kenna on January 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful book set. This is just lovely. I hope to give it to a close friend or a daughter someday.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By ATeacherFromFlorida on July 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I enjoy the increasingly popular and demanding form of the short-short and flash and wish there were more collections like these. Deb Olin Unferth's "Minor Robberies" is, far and away, the strongest book of the bunch, and it's this collection I'm focusing on and awarding 5 stars. The other two have their merits, but having read Manguso and Egger's other work, I don't think the flash is their forte.

Deb Olin Unferth's pieces are strange, cubist, experimental, funny, frightening. Some of them aren't stories at all, but assemblages of mercurial thought. Others evince the clear influence of Diane Williams and Lydia Davis, among others, but that's not a bad thing. The best of the bunch, in my opinion, are the more narrative-oriented stories, such as The Container, Soap, Managing, and---my favorite---Juan the Cell Phone Salesman.

I award the box five stars for Unferth's book alone. It'll be a collection I return to every now and then in the future.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Kendra Deganhardt on October 21, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Deb Unferth, Dave Eggers and Sarah Manguso are just extremely entertaining. This box is a treasure. I have it by my bed on my nighttable (along with a Harper's, a New Yorker and a Bernhardt book) and each night before bed I read a few stories. They give me interesting dreams. And they entertain me and take my mind off the day, into a better, weirder, funnier place. If not "magic"--because these are realistic stories about the drama between lovers, husbands and wives, mothers and daughters, neighbors and ex-lovers, postmen and customers, salesmen, fashion models and etc--they have a humor and intensity that brings through the layer of magic that does exist in our world--to the extent that we all feel its hovering possibility, it's here. I'll be reading these for a while. I had the chance to ask David Sedaris what he was reading, and he said this book, and so I picked it up.
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