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Something Is Out There: Stories Hardcover – Deckle Edge, February 9, 2010


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This Book Is Bound with "Deckle Edge" Paper
You may have noticed that some of our books are identified as "deckle edge" in the title. Deckle edge books are bound with pages that are made to resemble handmade paper by applying a frayed texture to the edges. Deckle edge is an ornamental feature designed to set certain titles apart from books with machine-cut pages. See a larger image.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; First Edition edition (February 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307266273
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307266279
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 6.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,403,555 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Fissures of familial and amorous transgressions erupt in the seemingly placid lives of everyday people in Bausch's eighth collection (after novel, Peace), where power outages, raging snow storms and the sweeping Mississippi River form a backdrop seething with looming menace for unhappy marriages and drowning dreams. In subtle but firm prose, Bausch allows his characters to stumble along a harrowing path that they hope will lead them to be, as the protagonist of Blood proclaims, Free at last. But freedom is elusive for many characters, including the two women and two children of the title story who hide out in a house during a storm. Elsewhere, sacred ground—be it the bed of a minister and his wife, a friend's marriage or a confessional booth—forms the stage for the pursuit of pleasure, healing and escape. Throughout, Bausch takes the chaotic fallout from simple acts—delaying a friend's husband so she can plan a surprise party, killing time on an errand, sleeping in and nearly missing an appointment—to show how dangerously close we may be to encountering a predatory world eager to destroy our comforts, relationships and beliefs. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Bausch, an exceptional and prodigious fiction writer whose many accolades include the PEN/Malamud Award for short fiction, follows his unforgettable war novel, Peace (2008), with a subtly powerful collection of new short stories, many about the unfathomable currents and riptides of matrimony. Marriages flounder before they’ve barely begun, as in “Immigration,” a taut tale of intensifying emotional confusion, and in the sweetly stressed “The Harp Department of Love,” a portrait of the tentative marriage between an emeritus music professor and his best former student. A capsizing marriage is the catalyst for friction among three brothers one hot summer in “Blood.” The hair-raising title story takes place during a blizzard in Virginia, as a woman who wants to leave her husband realizes that he has placed their family in danger. In the beautifully structured and complexly affecting “Byron the Lyron,” a gay man mourns the end of a 12-year relationship and worries about his ailing mother. Endlessly imaginative and empathic, Bausch continues the great American tradition of virtuosic short stories planted in the ordinary and catapulting into the inexplicable. --Donna Seaman

More About the Author

An acknowledged master of the short story, Richard Bausch has written 11 novels and eight collections of short fiction. He has won two National Magazine Awards, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Lila-Wallace Reader's Digest Fund Writer's Award, the Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and The 2004 PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story as well as the 2010 Dayton Peac Prize for his novel Peace. Before, During, After - a novel, is forthcoming.

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie Brody TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Richard Bausch has written a stunning collection of eleven short stories, all strong and memorable. The stories tackle the themes of the frailty of love and relationships, fears, losses, betrayals. His characters often want to leave the present for something new and unknown. "I wish it was tomorrow" is a quote from one of the stories but is applicable to most of them. During the course of his stories, the characters become different people than they were initially. Often, they have reached a point of no return when the story begins or they find themselves at this point when the story ends. There are omens of things bad and frightening waiting in the ordinariness of daily life. There are also omens of momentous positive changes to come.

'The Harp Department of Love' is about the marriage of two musicians. Josephine is a young wife thirty years her husband's junior. She has had a loose upbringing and has a gift with music. He has been brought up safely, and creating music is difficult for him. Perhaps through Josephine's lackadaisical attitude or her desire for admiration, she allows a friendship with a young man to go a bit too far. He becomes obsessed with her and confronts her husband, telling him that Josephine loves him. Her husband moves out and in his world of pain he realizes that he is becoming old and can't compete with youth. When her husband comes over to visit her, Josephine thinks, "He seems old. For the first time in her life with him, she sees his age as a separate thing, a fact about him, like something that might be explained to her".

In 'Reverend Thornbill's Wife'. a reverend's wife has a one-time sexual liaison with a man she met on an internet site for "people mutually looking for extramarital excitement without commitment".
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Cary B. Barad on March 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This past year or so has seen a prolific number of really worthwhile short story collections, and this one ranks among the best. Very interesting characterizations and creative twists that generate an enjoyable blend of good literature and old fashioned excitement. You won't be dissapointed in this fine work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Violet Quill on November 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
These are remarkable, haunting short stories about how we fall short, in both minor and tragic ways. Bausch is second to none as a story writer. This was the first book I'd read of his. After finishing the book I thought, "How have I missed this great writer during my reading life?" but then I realized that there was so much more of him to read. His dialog is filled with nuance and silences that feel like they could erupt at any minute. Brilliant.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. Russell Bittner on April 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I couldn't help it. As I read the short stories in Richard Bausch's collection SOMETHING IS OUT THERE., I kept seeing the paintings of various artists -- Edward Hopper; Edvard Munch; Francisco José de Goya; even, at times, Hieronymus Bosch. If I may be permitted to suggest a kind of "reverse ekphrasis" -- a term, so far as I know, normally reserved for poetry -- this is what I felt while reading Baush's work. The faces (and the characters these physiognomies represented) of despair, loneliness and isolation -- and all of them struggling to break out of their personal solitary confinement. Or worse still, out of their private oubliettes.

The following sentence at the conclusion of "Overcast" would seem to sum it all up: "She thought of those nights she lay wide awake in the dark trying to dream up her life out in the world, wondering and worrying about where she might go, who she might come to be with, what she might find to do or be, and whether or not she might be happy there, so far away, in the magical distance, the future that was taking so long to arrive."

These are not action stories. In many instances, the plot is no thicker than a pie crust. Instead, most of the "action" takes place inside the characters' heads.

But that's fine. If the fictional landscapes these characters traverse are no wider than the space between their ears, they live, die and fight in that space -- and both the horror and the sadness of their acts and thoughts are ours to consider. It is as if, in the depiction of his characters and their personal travails, Bausch is holding up a mirror and allowing us to look at ourselves.

And no, they -- and we -- are not pretty to behold.

RRB
4/28/13
Brooklyn, NY
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Smallridge on March 2, 2012
Format: Paperback
Weeks after finishing these stories, I cannot stop thinking of them. Bausch's writing is haunting and his stories slowly transport a reader to startling conclusions. My personal favorites are "Overcast," "Sixty-five Million Years," and "Something Is Out There." Each are as well-written as anything I've read in recent years.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on June 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This expressive collection of short stories by renowned writer Richard Bausch confronts the meaning behind disparate lives. Bausch's understated, masterful writing invites us to contemplate the ultimate mystery we are to each other and --- perhaps most of all --- to ourselves.

SOMETHING IS OUT THERE is composed of 11 short stories formed of characters who never meet each other and remain completely separate. A large number of them are couples --- some married and monogamous, others not so --- and some who are simply looking for something else. There are musicians struggling with a faltering marriage, a son attempting to support his dying mother through her last days, a chaste reverend and his adulterous wife, a spoiled son who witnesses a crime, a group of golfing buddies who conceal a secret from each other, a mother whose children have become endangered by her husband's crime, a man who falls in love with his brother's wife, a waitress who becomes obsessed by an older man who drops a note in a cafe, a group of couples at a restaurant who are becoming closer to each other and some growing further apart, an immigrant couple who is attempting to start a life in America, and last --- and most astounding of all --- a priest who becomes baffled by the curious confessions of a precocious and intelligent child.

In these articulate and subtly penetrating short stories, Bausch uses his considerable gifts to ask readers to question --- without ever really asking --- the significance behind all of these unrelated lives. His characters are people preoccupied by their struggles, with all of their passions, suffering and weaknesses laid pathetically bare for others to see.
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