Buy Used
$4.50
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Free Shipping, Prime and Super Saver! Your Order Helps People in Need! Book in Good Condition, Text Clean and Unmarked but there is marking inside front cover , book may show some shelfwear. No Hassle Return Policy!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

My Mistress's Sparrow Is Dead: Great Love Stories, from Chekhov to Munro Hardcover – January 8, 2008


See all 8 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$12.43 $0.01
12%20Days%20of%20Deals%20in%20Books
--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Year
Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; F First Edition edition (January 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061240370
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061240379
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #578,536 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Book Description

"When it comes to love, there are a million theories to explain it. But when it comes to love stories, things are simpler. A love story can never be about full possession. Love stories depend on disappointment, on unequal births and feuding families, on matrimonial boredom and at least one cold heart. Love stories, nearly without exception, give love a bad name . . . .

It is perhaps only in reading a love story (or in writing one) that we can simultaneously partake of the ecstasy and agony of being in love without paying a crippling emotional price. I offer this book, then, as a cure for lovesickness and an antidote to adultery. Read these love stories in the safety of your single bed. Let everybody else suffer."—Jeffrey Eugenides, from the introduction to My Mistress's Sparrow Is Dead

All proceeds from My Mistress's Sparrow is Dead will go directly to fund the free youth writing programs offered by 826 Chicago. 826 Chicago is part of the network of seven writing centers across the United States affiliated with 826 National, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write.



A Q&A with Jeffrey Eugenides

The author of bestsellers The Virgin Suicides and Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides talks about his turn as editor of My Mistress's Sparrow is Dead, with Andrea Hoag, a book critic in Lawrence, Kansas, whose reviews have appeared in the Los Angeles Times Book Review, Film Comment, and Kirkus Reviews.

Q: What was the process of elimination like? Can you discuss which stories you decided to leave out?

A: The story I miss most is "Brokeback Mountain" by Annie Proulx. I picked it, but we weren't able to the secure the rights to reprint it, even though the anthology supports a charitable cause. The UK edition lacks James Joyce's "The Dead" for similar reasons. (Happily, "The Dead" is in public domain in the U.S.) The first thing you confront when you compile an anthology like this, however, is the painful obligation to exclude wonderful work. Lots and lots of it. The only way I could sleep at night was to remind myself it was all for a good cause. How did I choose? The way people choose their mates: for intelligence, beauty, humor, and a sense that they'll be around for the long haul.

Q: You say in your introduction that "sober middle-age had made me less susceptible to [Nabokov’s] lush lyricism." In a way, editing this collection brought you back into the proverbial fold where he was concerned. Why do you feel that he is "much better…than everybody else…"?

A: In all honesty, I was never out of the fold. Nabokov has always been and remains one of my favorite writers. He's able to juggle ten balls where most people can juggle three or four. "Spring in Fialta" works on so many levels: as an affecting tale of thwarted love; a reinactment of the literary process by which we fall victim to, and memorialize, our loves; and a philosophical rumination on time and fate. The sentences are perfect, the emotion deep, the intellectual scintillation nearly blinding. Pure bliss, in other words.

Q: I’ve been building up an imaginary shrine in my home dedicated to the cult of Lorrie Moore and I almost wept when I read the line from "How to Be An Other Woman" that goes… "he laughs, smooth, beautiful, and tenor, making you feel warm inside of your bones. And it hits you; maybe it all boils down to this: people will do anything, anything, for a really nice laugh...." I truly believe that. Don’t you think most people--smart, thinking people--would do just about anything for someone with a nice laugh?

A: I'm glad you like the Lorrie Moore Story. Lorrie herself doesn't. She wrote it when she was twenty-four, and neither my own appreciation of the story, nor my assurances that many people insisted I include it, were enough to dissuade her from detesting her own "immature" work. This is a sign of a great writer, by the way. But "How to be An Other Woman" remains a great story. In addition, since a lot of the stories in the anthology share a traditional narrative structure, the Moore story comes as a nice shift in tone and strategy. I was conscious of that, too, in putting the book together, the DJ aspect of the whole thing, moving from fast numbers to slow dances and back again.

Q: Can you talk a little bit about the charity the proceeds for this book will go to?

A: 826CHI is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write. Their services are structured around the understanding that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention, and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success. 826CHI provides after-school tutoring, class field trips to our location, writing workshops, and in-schools programs--all free of charge--for students, classes, and schools in Chicago. All of the programs are challenging and enjoyable, and ultimately strengthen each student’s power to express ideas effectively, creatively, confidently, and in his or her individual voice. Driving the mission home are more than 500 volunteers--the professional writers, teachers and artists, to name a few, who staff each and every program enables 826 CHI to serve 5,000 students annually with a small, efficient staff of four and an operating budget of about $282,550.

Review

'[A] brilliant collection of love stories!An absolute must--read.' Harper's Bazaar, Editor's picks of the month 'Better than a bunch of flowers, if not so sweet.' Metro 'Eugenides has written a marvellous little essay on the love story to introduce his choices! an outstanding collection' Joanna Trollope, The Times '[Eugenides's] artful arrangement of the stories adds to their pleasure. The collection is full of intriguing echoes that complement...one's responses' Sunday Telegraph 'There are plenty of stories here which any lover of good writing -- if not perhaps every lover -- will enjoy.' The Scotsman 'Probably the most scintillating company anyone could hope to take to bed with them on February 14' Image 'Better than a bunch of flowers, if not so sweet.' The Metro 'Fiction of the Week' 'A wonderful anthology of short stories.' Red '"Classy" and "love-themed" are not phrases often found together, but this collection of stories, edited by a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, is just that.' LondonPaper 'The mix chosen by Eugenides is wonderful!The plots are wildly different; the range in tone, form and style is immense. This brings unexpected delights! And it is a bigger thrill to realize that however painful the heartbreak, love offers real rewards -- and these stories are among them.' LA Times 'A must-read for lovers of great writing -- and of love.' Yorkshire Post 'Love, they say, makes the world go round. So it makes sense that each of the marvellous love stories in "My Mistress's Sparrow is Dead" succeeds in creating a world of its own - and then sets it spinning on its axis! this collection makes us remember how powerful and essential the best short stories are, and how -- very much like love -- they can make us feel as if some mischievous god has shot an arrow that has ever so sweetly and painfully pierced its target: the human heart.' Francine Prose, O Magazine 'Eugenides offers a perfect Valentine's Day gift for lovers of literary fiction. His witty introduction, which channels Roman love poet Catullus and woolgathers engagingly about the "perishable nature of love", is only the first among numerous pleasures that await the reader of this generously proportioned -- only a cad would call it "fat" -- gathering of 26 stories, written within the past 120 years.! One of the best anthologies of recent years, as well as commanding proof that its editor is as expert a reader and critic as he is a novelist.' Kirkus Praise for 'Middlesex': 'Expansive and radiantly generous!a colossal act of curiosity, of imagination and of love.' New York Times 'This year's most sumptuously enjoyable book!superb.' Sunday Times, Books of the Year 'The best American novel since "The Corrections"!exuberant, ambitious, deeply compassionate and wildly funny.' GQ 'This is a truly original and compelling novel, by turns sad, funny and moving.' Daily Mail Praise for 'The Virgin Suicides': 'Beautiful funny and touching!Eugenides is a skilful craftsman and a hypnotic storyteller.' Jay McInerney 'One of the finest novels in many years -- a "Catcher in the Rye" for our time.' Observer '"The Virgin Suicides" is wonderfully original. It could prove to be the start of an important writing career.' Independent --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

The "love stories" selected were all very different.
Director
It's a foreshadowing of the themes of the collected stories within, themes involving the bittersweet, well that's an understatement, aspects of love.
love books and music
Unlike many story compilations, there are no `dogs' mixed up in this one.
G. Dawson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Jeffrey Eugenides titled this book from a Latin poet, Catullus (84 BC), who wrote a poem which includes the title line in translation. It's a foreshadowing of the themes of the collected stories within, themes involving the bittersweet, well that's an understatement, aspects of love. Love affairs are often just that -- affairs. Eugenides remarks that Catullus' poems "speak to the stories in this collection that burn, dazzle, delight or sadden, depending."

This anthology of 26 short stories by authors such as William Faulkner, James Joyce, Guy de Maupassant, Mary Robison, Eileen Chang, and Alice Munro among others is carefully edited by Eugenides. He has undertaken this project for charitable proceeds; indeed, all proceeds from My Mistress's Sparrow is Dead will go directly to fund the free youth-writing programs offered by 826 Chicago, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6 - 18 with their creative and expository writing skills and to help teachers inspire their students to write.

A passage in the introduction hints at a possible reason Eugenides felt compelled to put this collection together:

"...I can still hear our Latin teacher, Miss Ferguson, piping out in her most piercing sparrow's voice, "passer pipiabat," getting us to notice how much the plosive rhythm resembled a bird singing.
Read more ›
3 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Mary Lins TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover
If you purchase "My Mistress's Sparrow is Dead" you not only obtain a wonderfully entertaining yet complex anthology of "love" stories, you also contribute to a worthy charity that supports budding writers. Win-Win!

I picked up this anthology expecting to just dip in and out of it, but the selections are so engrossing and lively that I was instantly mesmerized.

Another reviewer has wisely pointed out that these aren't all "happily ever after" love stories - far from it. They are BETTER than anything trite and saccharine.

Best yet, these classics can be read over and over. Bravo Jeffrey!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jessica Lux on June 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jeffrey Eugenides (MIDDLESEX) edited a Valentine's Day 2008 collection of love stories entitled MY MISTRESS'S SPARROW IS DEAD (the title is derived from the work of Roman poet Gaius Valerius Catullus). The book's cover features an anatomical heart, indicating that this is not your standard Valentine's Day mush. The editor describes the collection as such: "A love story can never be about full possession. The happy marriage, the requited love, the desire that never dims -- these are lucky eventualities but they aren't love stories. Love stories depend on disappointment, on unequal births and feuding families, on matrimonial boredom and at least one cold heart. Love stories, nearly without exception, give love a bad name."

Stories by classic authors such as Anton Chekhov, Vladimir Nabokov, and William Trevor are included, but the collection also includes works by literary talents of the moment like Miranda July and and Lorrie Moore. Love topics include adultery ("How to Be an Other Woman" and "Lovers of Their Time"), forbidden love ("The Moon in Its Flight" and "Spring in Fialta"), and celebrated, ambiguous stories of love such as Chekhov's "The Lady with the Little Dog." There are a total of 27 stories in all - plenty of material to cure any reader's broken heart or fend off thoughts of an affair.

All proceeds from of the sale of this book fund the free youth writing programs offered by 826 Chicago.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Judge J Drhedd on September 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
"Two unexceptional people, for no demonstrable reasons, being exceptionally in love..." the intro essay of Jeffrey Eugenides is very good and memorable in itself in dissecting the great short stories about love.

The other exceptional thing in this collection is its decision to include real classic classics (centuries old), and some recent (Miranda July, et al). And I think all the contemportary authors agreed to have their stories included--albeit they are key stories in their own collections that are still 'active' in the storeshelves--because proceeds from this book all go to charity--the Valencia project by Dave Eggers. In the end, the resulting variety, makes this a truly unique collection.

But in every collection of course, not everything will be sparklingly brilliant. For example. Harold Brodkey is the only one with two stories in the collection, showing that the editor likes him, but both are not compelling. You forget about them after finishing.

Yours, What we talk about, Dirty Wedding, are fantastic.

I only gave four also because of the general gloominess of the collection--in most of the endings and the general feeling and flow of prose.

If you loved this, consider also NOTHING BUT YOU (Love Stories from the New Yorker) edited by Roger Angell. That book is five stars to me, just for the variety of the collection (there's humor, tragedy, even commentary).
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews