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This Other Eden [Kindle Edition]

Michael Hemmingson , Saul Haberfield
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Terrorism, crack cocaine and rape. Failure, miscarriage and suicide. Divorce, incest and misery. This Other Eden is Michael Hemmingson at his most brutal. A man wins the lottery and loses his family. A book agent must deal with a wild girl writer, a white trash genius and a limousine full of angry teenagers. Hemmingson's protagonists scratch at the bottom of society desperate to maintain delusions of adequacy. They fall into each other with hatred and bile; emerging with their own unique forms of heroism.


Product Details

  • File Size: 379 KB
  • Print Length: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Dybbuk Press (April 24, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003J35KG4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #825,256 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All the things that happen ... and we still go on March 26, 2010
Format:Paperback
When I first read the back cover blurb for This Other Eden by Michael Hemmingson, I was hesitant about plunging into the story and novella collection. "Terrorism, crack cocaine, and rape. Failure, miscarriages, and suicide." Though I've read plenty on these subjects, I didn't feel up for disillusionment about life. Maybe I'd been having a bad day.

I'm so glad I opened the first pages. These tales are not about disillusionment, though they almost seem that they should be. They're about surviving all the things that happen in our lives, even as we plug along in the repetition of bad luck and bad choices.

The titles of the three stories and three novellas in the collection all feature the word "happen" in some way: "Nothing Like That Ever Happened," "What Happens When Things Happen to People," and "Where He Was the Day It Happened," to name three. "Happen" suggests that our lives are not in our control, that we're part of events that we react to and adjust to and quarrel with, and the characters in these stories all follow the same patterns of letting life pull them along, coping or not coping as life "happens" to them. Yet, in each tale, I was surprised by genuine love that unfolded, by quiet emotions that surfaced, and the feeling that something good could still happen.

In "Nothing Like That Ever Happened," the narrator tells the story of his prodigy child who writes successful novels at age nine. The tone is a rather contented resignation. He says, "I'd given up on my dreams ..." and "I'd convinced myself I was better for it." He sits alone in his chair "and watches everything," while the reader get glimpses of what the daughter writes about, the story she needs to tell.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow May 9, 2010
Format:Paperback
Few writers can pull me in like Michael Hemmingson. Once I start I cannot stop. The language in his books are shaved down to the bone. No fluff, no verbose digressions, just raw, tight sentences that burn into your brain. I read THIS OTHER EDEN over the course of two days. And then I read it again. I plan to share my copy with friends. The back cover copy says THIS OTHER EDEN is Hemmingson "at his most brutal." I disagree; this is Michael Hemmingson at his best.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a beautifully balanced book March 16, 2010
Format:Paperback
The back cover copy of Eden promises that "here is Hemmingson at his most brutal." While technically this could be true it is only because Hemmingson's deft use of language is so streamlined and precise, the resulting impact is often not easy to take. There is no buffer between you, the reader, and the story being told. And more often than not, bad things are happening to unsuspecting people. But Hemmingson navigates the mire of helplessness and ignorance with skill; creating characters that we want to see rewarded with some sort of peace. And when the peace is at last bestowed upon them, we experience that peculiar chill shooting straight down our spines; that tiny shout of rejoicing.

For that very reason, my favorite story in this collection was the novella, "Now That I Know What Happened, Could You Hold Me, Please, and Say This Is Love?" where the protagonist, Paul Augustine, searches for something -- anything -- that might make sense in his world. He misplaces his affections in the lovelessness of empty women; he even loses an eye. But in the end, his determination to survive his struggles lead him to the simplicity of a loving family, finally, and the birth of his first son. It was a beautifully balanced story whose hopeful ending was crafted with a confident touch. For me, that's what stands out about this entire collection: Hemmingson is a damn good storyteller who will carve his way into you with considerable skill.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Three short stories and three novellas April 13, 2010
Format:Paperback
Author Michael Hemmingson, whose works range from noir (Wild Turkey) to erotica (The Amateurs) to pop-culture scholarship (William T. Vollmann: A Critical Study and Seven Interviews), puts his wide-ranging pen to the medium of short fiction in the Dybbuk Press collection This Other Eden. All of the stories in this collection of short stories and novellas contain the word "Happen" in the title, and they all feel linked by tone if not always subject matter (though some themes do recur throughout).

Five of the tales in This Other Eden have been printed (and reprinted) in various media. (Only "What Happens When Things Happen to People" appears to be original to the collection.) Sometimes it feels like Hemmingson is trying to shock with his extreme characters; other times it merely seems like normal people aren't worth writing about (though it's often the "regular guy" who is swept up in the events).

Hemmingson has written over fifty books, and his experience shows. Not only does he inform the stories in This Other Eden with tangible details of the publishing industry, but he also imbues his characters with personalities that are displayed through his skillful use of highly individualized dialogue for each person.

"And Then It Happened" shows the dark side of winning the lottery -- or at least the dark side of people finding out you won the lottery. This story felt so real in the reading that I got stressed out whenever the phone rang for the rest of the night.

Two of the shorter pieces, "Nothing Like That Ever Happened" and "What Happens Between Literary Agents and Clients While in New York," feature barely pubescent bestselling female authors putting their sexual fantasies on paper.
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More About the Author

Michael Hemmingson lives in southern California and Baja California. Michael Hemmingson writes and publishes books, stories, essays, and ethnographic research projects. Michael Hemmingson writes and sells screenplays and film treatments. Michael Hemmingson has been pegged as a novelist, playwright, cultural anthropologist, sociologist in the symbolic interactionism school, auto-ethnographer and criminal scalawag. Michael Hemmingson has been associated with the minimalist Gordon Lish School of Writing. Michael Hemmingson has been accused of being a writer of crime noir literature. Michael Hemmingson has been labeled an author of literary erotica. Michael Hemmingson has been cast into the waters of the AvantPop School of Prose Writing. Michael Hemmingson has edited anthologies, zines, and newspapers. Michael Hemmingson has composed literary criticism and collected ethnographic data in the qualitative inquiry school of social science research. Michael Hemmingson has written speculative fiction and weird westerns. Michael Hemmingson sometimes dashes off a poem. Michael Hemmingson is not Michael Hemmingson. Michael Hemmingson is Michael Hawthorne.

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