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Shakespeare's Kitchen: Stories Paperback – April 1, 2008
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Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
What began as an ongoing series of short stories in The New Yorker about an east coast academic chronicling her years spent at a Connecticut think tank and mingling in that rarefied atmosphere finally evolved into a novel, broken into thick chunks of time spanning several decades. The stories center around Ilka, the protagonist, and the many days and evenings she spends with the institute's director, Leslie Shakespeare, and his wife Eliza. Philosophy, literature, minor academic intrigues and rivalries are drilled down to the banal, proving that no matter how smart you and the people you surround yourself with are, life plays out pretty much the same way for us all: you talk, drink, eat, gossip, love, betray and die.
It's an interesting exercise in minutiae, I think, and the dialogue is compelling. It took a little while to get going in a particular direction, but when it did I was intrigued, particularly by the way things develop between Ilka and the Shakespeares. It's very much a minimalist, snapshot take on things so if the reader looks for a fully-fleshed out cast of characters they will likely be disappointed. I didn't develop any particular affection for any of the characters, but I don't think that was the author's intent anyway. I did enjoy it. The skill is definitely in the detail and observation of day-to-day existence in this little society of intellectuals who end up being just people, after all.
An enjoyable book. Highly recommended.
Although claimed to be a string of short stories, this is a chronological interconnected group of stories focusing mainly on the life of Ilka whose work as a teacher for foreign students at Concordance University leads to many uncommon events.
Small town U.S.A. hosts the campus for Concordance. The faculty, like most people, seem plainly regular. But, like anyone, they become eccentrically weird as the reader begins to learn more about their nuances and idiosyncracies. But, this faculty is no less professorially bizarre than any other faculty.
Having studied in an atmosphere (and time) like that of this book, I endeavored to see if her professor Cohn was like my English humbugging Professor Knight. Yeah, kind of. Same for the other professors and administrators of this novel.
Viennese-born Ilka manages to find lovers and husbands among the town's fray. She raises a daughter whose impressionable youth is molded in the naive town, and ultimately leads a discrete and less-than-honorable lifestyle during the last 70 or more pages of the book. Small town U.S.A. has good people do bad things - this is not something monopolized by the urban dwellers.
Written in 2007, this book has chapters which read like cuttings of e-mails. Plots move at accelerated paces with ADHD-like descriptions. The last 20 pages literally encompass 10-15 years of Ilka's life, if not more.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I suspect the author was trying for humor, but I seem to have disliked the characters too much to find them funny.Published 8 months ago by Colleen P.
I enjoyed sharing the kitchen with the several characters. This book reminded me of one of Stegner's about academics living together in a community around a college town.Published on October 30, 2013 by Brenda Gaspar
Written in an odd style, and not very interesting to me. I read it for book club, and that's the point - you don't always like the book, but it's interesting to discuss.Published on July 31, 2013 by Chayse Hood
Not a "great" book, but definitely entertaining and worth a look. Writing is good. Although they call it short stories, it's more of a novel.Published on March 14, 2013 by jmk
Loved the characters and how the author created the culture of friends and acquaintenaces. Serious and fun read. Read it on my KindlePublished on August 18, 2012 by TMack
Through the first half of the novel I was delighted by Lore Segal's stories and the way the narratives built on one another. Read morePublished on February 16, 2012 by C. Burke
I put this book down 3 different times but then it started to work. The characters grow on you and it is interesting to "watch" them getting through life. Read morePublished on August 15, 2011 by eliz and the dogs
My friends and I chose this book as our first book club book because, from the descriptions and reviews of the book, it sounded very promising and pertinent. Read morePublished on February 15, 2011 by D Kotscha
I thought this book was weird and didn't flow. The sentence structure make it difficult to read, but not in an artistic way. It was annoying. Read morePublished on January 22, 2011 by Cheryl