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Other People's Showers Paperback – November 1, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-1550965674 ISBN-10: 1550965670 Edition: Not Indicated

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: Exile Editions; Not Indicated edition (November 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1550965670
  • ISBN-13: 978-1550965674
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,552,224 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Mark Paterson's Other People's Showers is an outstanding read and a welcome antidote to the contemporary `Oprah-fication' of literature: although character driven there is strictly no therapy - at least no successful therapy - in here and no triumphant realizations of `spirit'. The nine stories are populated with the awkward but utterly familiar people, locations, and circumstances of everyday urban life and characters who negotiate and cope with such things as best they can. In this respect Paterson's work echoes Annie Proulx but trades the big sky and treacherous landscapes for such settings as a Pizza Hut, an apartment block laundry room, and the indistinct architecture of the corporate cubicle. The stories in Other People's Showers eschew the narrative cliché of dawning realisations, as the characters know their problems and their limitations. But such an awareness does not automatically signal productive resolutions; instead these people go only with what works in the short term - as safe or as dangerous as it may be - as if absolutely nothing could be guaranteed. If, for example, funereal kleptomania can save your marriage then why say "no"? This is Paterson's distinctive talent; through economic - even deceptively light - prose he consistently blurs the lines between normal and insane behaviour, sensible and absurd perspectives and more generally the joyful and the tragic. A lesser writer would only offer these characters for laughs but Paterson insists on the humanity and - albeit compromised - agency of those who are traumatised by their own self doubt as well as those who are relegated for little more than their lack of glamour. An excellent first book by a writer to watch!
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Format: Paperback
This is an entertaining collection of 9 short stories generously filled with unusual, quirky, and sometimes insane characters. Worryingly I found myself identifying with their odd traits, but this is the strength of Mark Paterson's characters as they are often touchingly human.
Among some of the highlights is the oddly erotic tale which takes place in a basement laundry room where Dimitri and Beth Ann toy with each other's emotions by hiding behind the washing machines and in the dryers, and a young married couple who decide to put some excitement back into their relationship by attending other people's funerals, ultimately with disastrous consequences. Eating disgustingly vast quantities of food is a disturbing though humorous theme. A lonely man with a gigantic junk food diet fantasizes eating toppings from between the toes of his heart's desire, who lies provocatively on a floor of pizza. When his brother has to add twenty pounds for a part in a commercial, Carl takes on the job of eating coach enforcing a diet of strictly fattening foods in horribly large quantities.
A writer to look out for!
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