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Straw House, Wood House, Brick House, Blow: Four Novellas by Daniel Nayeri Hardcover – October 25, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press; First Edition edition (October 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763655260
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763655266
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.7 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,723,705 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

[The] novellas riff on influences as varied as The Wizard of Oz, Mad Max, and the sardonic Death of Pratchett's Discworld...Strong and assured, these stories seamlessly merge different styles, teasing out and playing with readers' assumptions about how westerns, fantasy and fairy tales work...provocative and deeply satisfying.  --Kirkus Reviews

"With characters deft and real, with language quick and clever, with insight deep and full, these stories lead the reader to wonder, Is this possible? Whatever is going to happen next? And then, incredibly, it is possible, and it happens. Dare to read this."
--National Book Award nominee and two-time Newbery honoree Gary D. Schmidt

"I'm so impressed by the ingenuity of the project as a whole, and Brick House / Wish Police
is sheer genius. I can't remember the last time I've read such a clever and successful plotline."
-- Newbery medalist Linda Sue Park

Nayeri's voice is chameleon-like, easily adapting to the conventions and expectations of each genre without losing a bit of its edge or its wit....Straw House is a delightful amalgam of the high and the low, the silly and the sublime.  --BookPage

Four stylistically brilliant novellas offer readers a range of exquisite reading experiences in this collection... Nayeri's storytelling finesse is on full display here, as he creates characters and spins plots out of breathtakingly vivid wordsmithery; each story features language uniquely suited to its ambience and desired emotional effects, whether it be through clever wordplay in chapter titles, futuristic technojargon, a deliciously turned phrase, or a particularly apt metaphor. Language lovers as well as those who appreciate the artistry of a perfectly compact novella will consider this collection a treasure.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)

Overall, provocative and deeply satisfying.
—Kirkus Reviews

From the Back Cover

"Whenever we invoke this title -- Straw House, Wood House, Brick House, Blow -- let us breathe this word soon after: virtuosity. In a remarkable collection of four novellas, Daniel Nayeri plays a modern Lewis Carroll, pulling us down rabbit holes where the world is cockeyed -- disturbingly cockeyed -- and anything at all can happen. In one, toys planted by an absent creator are left to fend for themselves when evil arrives; in another, the very air we breathe has been infected with a technology that allows us to create our own reality--or others to create it for us; in another, the narrator Death is moved to play the jerk by powerful love.With characters deft and real, with language quick and clever, with insight deep and full, these stories lead the reader to wonder, Is this possible? Whatever is going to happen next? And then, incredibly, it is possible, and it happens. Dare to read this."
--Two-time Newbery honoree and Printz honoree Gary D. Schmidt

More About the Author

Daniel Nayeri was born in Iran and spent a couple of years as a refugee before immigrating to Oklahoma at age eight with his family. He is an editor of picture books, novels, and graphic novels at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Before that he worked as a professional pastry chef and a stuntman.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 20 customer reviews
The book is excellently written.
6393
Reason for Reading: I really enjoyed both books in the author's "Another" series and was intrigued by this collection of novellas.
Nicola Mansfield
Anyway, this book is definitely worth a read if you like something that's a little "cockeyed."
Adam Browne

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Philip on October 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover
the creativity and imagination in this book alone is worth the read. Daniel Nayeri is so gifted with voice and humor, and he's built four unique and fantastic worlds that you'll devour in one sitting. At the same time, the book is excellently written. I'd recommend it to anyone.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By P. Creeden on September 28, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Well-written? Yes.

Interesting? Yes.

Original? Yes.

But is it a Children's Book? I don't think so. First of all it's a bit confusing. It's set in a different world where Toys are the "people" but instead of being like the Velveteen Rabbit - it's not also populated by humans. It's kind of hard to wrap your mind around as an adult, much less as a child. There is also violence and the threat of additional violence. Not to mention that the beginning of each chapter has the picture of a hangman's noose around the neck of a toy.

Demented? Yes.

And the cover looks so innocent. Also, for the more protective parent, there's a bit of "minor" cussing. This book sort of reminded me of Neil Gaiman's books - Scary like "Coraline" and touching on hard subjects like "Graveyard Book."

My best suggestion is that as a parent you read this book first before handing it to your child. Older children and teens may get a kick out of it, though.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Adam Browne on October 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First of all, it's a shame that people have to keep saying that it's "not a children's book". Who said it was supposed to be? There are plenty of great books out there for teens and adults that are "not children's books". I think the words of Gary D. Schmidt on the back cover of the book sum it up well, "Daniel Nayeri plays a modern Lewis Carroll, pulling us down rabbit holes where the world is cockeyed." The worlds that Nayeri creates are much like the world Alice fell into, like an old fairy tale, or a Tim Burton movie-- they may be whimsical, but they can be kinda dark at times. I think my favorite of the novellas was Our Lady of Villians (Wood House), which is set in a future where the relationship between humans and technology is tighter (and more frightening) than ever. I think it raises interesting questions of how far we might let ourselves go as a society, and although it's certainly sci-fi, it's scary how possible it seems. Anyway, this book is definitely worth a read if you like something that's a little "cockeyed."
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By xLibraryGuy on November 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's always nice to see someone working outside of, what seem to me, so many tired trends. I would even consider myself "mainstream" in general but I need to reach out for something unique from time to time and this is definitely one those (four times over!) The stories are just literary enough that I'm left contemplating the character's developement or themes without being too heavy a read that I set it down before I'm done with it. I'm giving it high marks because it's quality unique content. If that sounds appealing I suggest picking it up.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Veronica on November 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The writer takes you to different worlds with new colors, structures, and creatures. The unexpected keeps you engaged throughout. An excellent read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ali Ghaemi on October 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is a good and unique book for teenagers and I am sure it will succeed when people find out about it.I like the poet that love conqures death and I believe that is true.I would love to read more books from Daniel:-)
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Susan Smith on October 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I think the other reviewers are definitely confused. This book is being published for young adults, not children.

Plot Summary: Four novellas representing four different genres. Toy Farm is a western unlike any other-a farm that grows living toys and a ranch the grows empty people. Our Lady of Villains is science fiction, looking at how the near future morphs into the faraway future with the help of technology. Wish Police is a police procedural about a team that locks up wishes that can't or shouldn't or won't come true. Doom with a View is a romance, if Death were in charge of the world. So everyone dies in the end but love conquers all.
Critical Analysis: Nayeri has written two previous books with his sister Dina, Another Faust and Another Pan. Both were sort of retellings, or more re imaginings of classic tales and full of action, suspense and dread. With these novellas. Nayeri wanted to do something a little different. He decided to write stories that would appeal to boys and girls. That would introduce readers to different kinds of stories that they didn't realize they would enjoy. According to his author's note, he wrote all of them on his iPhone.
The sampler I have included the story Doom with a View. I have to admit, it did take me a minute to get into the right frame of mind. The mention of The Princess Bride in the note should have been a clue. Nayeri has taken several age old tropes and turned them sideways. Two families feuding but over the interior decorating world? Two children destined to be together but they don't even speak the same language? One beautiful girl who Death takes by mistake is stuck in limbo, not waiting for the kiss of a prince, but for the paperwork and bureaucracy to clear up and return her to her life. So so so funny!
Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lynn on November 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Daniel Nayeri has got the funny. Shall I sound a little bit inflated when I tell you, gentle reader, that I have an advanced copy of what I am not fearful of presumptively calling Nayeri's priceless collection of novellas. I have one of the four stories to be precise,"Doom With A View", which is a concocted tale of genius, ignited, but only just, by the timelessness of Sleeping Beauty, and it would seem, Romeo and Juliet. Beyond that shadow of a parallel, the book is a broken mold. Wholly fresh, a literary feast, deep belly chuckle escapism, for certain. If the whole world could do with language what Daniel does, we would never go to war, part ways with a life-long friend or buy books based on movies, ever, ever again. Due out in October, this book may almost dissipate off shelves. You may forget you wanted a copy (we do that because we are busy) so you're gonna wanna pre-order now. Tell them Barb sent ya.

This review is from the blog "utterly-barb" - a children's lit review site with the occasional piece of grown-up fiction (such as Straw House Wood House Brick House Blow)
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