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Nightwork: Stories Hardcover – May 14, 1996


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 129 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1st edition (May 14, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679404511
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679404514
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,483,876 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

In Schutt's first collection of short stories, complex relationships between husband and wife, father and daughter are sensually and sometimes shockingly depicted. For instance, in one story a mother teaches her son how to kiss. These stories take a haunting look at what relationships work and do not work and what men and women are striving to obtain. The landscapes may be familiar, but the unthinkable sometimes happens. Recommended for sophisticated readers.?Vicki J. Cecil, Hartford City P.L., Ind.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

A debut collection made up of 17 stories (or, in some cases, slivers of story) told in voices flattened by despair. The narrators here are mostly nameless, and the uneasy territory of their subject matter cannot readily be labeled. In the opening piece, ``You Drive,'' a grown daughter and her father cross the boundaries of any usual parent-child relationship as they sit in a car, sharing secrets, kissing and memorizing the smell and texture of one another's skin. In ``What Have You Been Doing?,'' it's a mother and son who kiss: ``She was out of practice and he wanted practice. . . . In the middle of rooms she obliged, in her bedroom, his bedroom, a kissing done standing, her hands on his shoulders, his not quite on her waist, heads tilted, mouths open.'' Another mother, in ``Teachers,'' tells her daughter details about her lover while the girl yearns to get away, begging to be allowed just to go off to school. The spareness of Schutt's prose, in combination with her elliptical storylines, can make certain pieces (notably ``Giovanni and Giovanna'' and ``His Chorus'') difficult to decipher at all. But when she works with more accessible themes, the results are powerful, as in ``Daywork,'' where two adult daughters guiltily clean out the attic of their mother's house as she lies dying in the hospital, and ``To Have and To Hold,'' as a spurned wife acts upon her anger and grief in her tiny and terrifyingly tidy kitchen. Schutt is good at small, sharp moments, and she chooses words with the care of a poet. But effective as some of these tales are, others feel fragmentary, incomplete. Taken all together, they're finally overwhelming in the uniform grimness of their point of view. Razor-sharp writing in stories sliced a little too thin--and admittedly close to the bone. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 11, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Most short stories today display no artistry, no understanding of the possible musicality of language. Schutt's stories are remarkable, not only for their subject matter, but for their language. Schutt is a poet of the first order, and her recently published story, "Sickish," in the KGB Bar Reader anthology, confirms her talent. She is a writer to be watched; she is the real thing.
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By Brandon on March 15, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Overall Schutt does what most every modern literature piece does, puts words together in an interesting if not very confusing way. There is never any definite in the novel and more often than not its up to you to discover what the actual context of each chapter is (there were plenty where even after reading I had a very wishy washy idea of what was happening). That's today's literature so I can't really knock the book for it.

However, the novel is about all things dark. At first it felt edgy and exciting but once you read about 5 different characters who are all in their own unique messed up scenario you start to feel a bit less interested in the darkness as a whole. She never departs from just telling stories that all have some messed up motivation behind him. I wouldn't recommend the book to anyone unless they really have a flair for this kind of writing and a stomach for some dark topics.
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By A Customer on October 27, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Although distrubing or startling at moments, it is the freshness and curt wording that illuminates the underlying themes running throughout of childhood innocence and naivety clashing with the malevolance of reality.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 29, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Harmless Oedipal fun . . . plays well in Fairfield County
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