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The Empty Quarter Hardcover – January 1, 2000

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 73 pages
  • Publisher: Hanging Loose Press; 1st edition (January 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1882413679
  • ISBN-13: 978-1882413676
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,033,921 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Fifteen abrasive stories exploring identity and reality constitute Mesmer's slight first collection of short fiction. She uses, with uneven success, the vivid language that characterizes the verse and prose poems of her debut poetry collection, Half Angel, Half Lunch. These tales, many as brief as a single page, usually feature a troubled narrator--often a writer--whose bitter, low self-esteem and lack of a psychological compass often land her in a moral or literal gutter. Both the title story, a heavy-handed recollection of the narrator's development as a writer, and "I Married a Bay City Roller," which details the narrator's downward spiral in Glasgow among drug-addicted rockers, are addressed to specific listeners: "I met you in a gallery on a national holiday." Other stories aim for dreamlike weirdness. In "Harm," a woman witnesses a man kill his wife and is then asked by the police to raise the man's daughter, but there is little resonance to a story that barely hints at the motives of its characters. "My Life in Yonago" riffs off of Gertrude Stein's Tender Buttons; "The Hours of a Transfigured Night" uses the eight three-hour prayer periods of Catholic monastic orders to organize the memories of the speaker, a nun; and "As If" is an amusing pastiche of bad similes written by high school students. These tales illustrate Mesmer's intention to determine the best way to convey meaning through language, but in general her short fiction is indistinguishable from her prose poetry, except that the stories are longer. Readers may be frustrated with the truncated tales, none of which develop their premises to completion. Yet Mesmer's evocative poetic language provides refreshingly clear images and clever turns of phrase.

Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Sharon Mesmer is the author of Annoying Diabetic Bitch (Combo Books, 2008), The Virgin Formica (Hanging Loose, 2008), Vertigo Seeks Affinities (Belladonna Books, 2006), Half Angel, Half Lunch (Hard Press, 1998) and Crossing Second Avenue (ABJ Books, Japan, 1997). Her prose collections are Ma Vie ... Yonago (Hachette Litt‚ratures, France, in French translation, 2005) and In Ordinary Time and The Empty Quarter (Hanging Loose Press, 2005 and 2000). Lonely Tylenol, an art book in collaboration with the painter David Humphrey, was published in 2003 by Flying Horse Editions/University of Central Florida. She is a two-time New York Foundation for the Arts fellow in poetry.

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on April 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
The Empty Quarter is the debut collection of Sharon Mesmer short stories. A gifted poet, Mesmer can also write deeply engaging prose stories populated by memorable characters. Comprising The Empty Quarter are: Silver; I Married a Bay City Roller; Misty; As If; Eleusis; Experiment; Luck; My Life in Yonago; Harm; Storm; The Hours of a Transfigured Night; All Kindsa People; Bon Ami; Tomorrow; and the title piece, The Empty Quarter. This very fine anthology serves as an admirable introduction to a gifted writer and an eagerly awaited anticipation for her future work.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
Sharon Mesmer is primarily a poet and her short stories reflect this; her prose is spare but evocative, every carefully chosen word adding to the hypnotic cadence of her writing. This is not to say Mesmer's short tales are always deadly serious; many of her stories have a delightful tongue-in-cheek quality, and a few of them (such as the hilarious "I Married A Bay City Roller" and "Experiment") feature real-life celebrities in the bizarre (and potentially libellous!) reminiscences of a wacky fictional narrator. To sum up: Sharon Mesmer's The Empty Quarter is not only poetic and evocative, it's also fun.
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