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I Thought My Father Was God: And Other True Tales from NPR's National Story Project Hardcover – Bargain Price, September 13, 2001
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To give the book shape, Auster has done his best to categorize the material by subject, such as Animals, Families, War, Love, Dreams, and the like. These categories hold true to the submission criteria: "[I was most interested in] stories that defied our expectations about the world, anecdotes that revealed the mysterious and unknowable forces at work in our lives, in our family histories, in our minds and bodies, in our souls.... I was hoping to put together ... a museum of American reality." I Thought My Father Was God is a testament that, despite what on a bad day we may think is a drab existence, we all have a few good stories in us. --Michael Ferch --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
I don't know why I did not shelf the book and pick up something else, but I am glad that I persevered (uncharacteristic for me: I am quite superficial and fickle, overdependent on first impressions) because as I kept reading, I found something within me responding to these stories. Reviewers here have heckled the abundance of sentimentality and reductive life lessons that pulse through these pieces, but they're seeking a literary sophistication from texts that never aspire to anything more than the urge to tell a story. (In the words of one writer included in the collection, "What do you do with a story like [this]? There is no lesson, no moral, barely even an ending. You want to tell it, hear it told, but you don't know why.")
With that provisio, the patient reader will find pieces here of quiet movement, emotional honesty, jaw-dropping coincidence (a lot of these), eerie dreaminess, and everyday wonder. I especially like Joe Miceli's "Taking Leave," with its glimpse of a world I hope I never know; Mary Grace Dembeck's "Act of Memory," which made me cry; "Your Father Has The Hay Fever" by Tony Powell, which is as lunatic as anything by S.J. Perelman; "Table For Two" by Lori Peikoff, and Nicolas Wieder's "Ballerina," stories of love, coincidence, and hope.
The fact that these are all real stories makes the reader relates strongly to the people involved. These are rich with familiar characters (the grumpy neighbor who hates kids in the title story, the soft spoken grandfather who does not dare confront his wife in "Revenge", etc.) I could not put the book down.
In this day and age where so much attention is given to shallow story lines and pre-packaged entertainment, how refreshing it is to come across these incredible, yet so believable, stories that have happened to ordinary people.
The French version of the book has been published before the American version. This is how I got advanced reading of this wonderful collection of stories. Tip: Most of them make great bedtime stories as well. My 7 year old daughter really enjoys it.
I got the book from my public library but I want to buy it so I can go back to it again and again.
The experiences told in this eclectic and endlessly absorbing collection are varied and run the gamut of experiences life has to offer. There are stories of love, loss, regret, joy, sorrow, and growing up. The subjects that bring on these emotions are as varied as a pet bird, a sharp slap from a parent, a new piece of clothing, a weekend alone at the beach, a party in which the increasingly annoying guest of honor gets his face pushed into the cake, a reconnection with a former lover, a loose car tire, and a harrowing audition for a sleazy adult film.
Some of the stories are flatly told, facts laid out on the page. Others take loving care with the details. Either way, the accretion of all the stories gives the reader a most satisfying sense of membership by the end of the book--membership in the human race.
Surely, there are some real gems in this catalog of American life, but other efforts range from the plain to the rediculous. I'm sure that Paul Auster had a difficult task in selecting among the many entries submitted, but eliminating a few of the "miracle" tales would surely have made it a better read.
The organization of the book unfortunately emphasizes the sameness of many of the stories by grouping essays about objects, or war, or whatever, one after another. I suggest that an interested reader pick stories at random, to keep the topics fresh...
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Can't say enough about this book! Love the short reads and honest stories! This will be on my coffee table for a great conversation book! Love it!Published 1 month ago by Linda
There are some interesting essays here, but some need revision and serious editing. There are a few essays in this collection worth spending time and reflecting upon, but most are... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Native Teacher
What I like about this collection is that many vignettes are from between 1930's to 1970's. I personally believe that many recollections from WWII generations died with them. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Anony Mouse
One of my favorite books. The stories are wonderful and don't get old, even though I've read the book a couple of times over the course of the last few years. Read morePublished 13 months ago by T. Bishop
Purchased this fabulous collections of stories - all from 1 to 1.5, others 2 or 3 page stories ... some longer, some less. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Catherine E. Hamel
I have never actually deleted a book from my Kindle and computer before, but this one deserved it. The very first section of the book contains such immense animal cruelty, such... Read morePublished 13 months ago by The Noble Rot
Open this book and find the deeper meaning of the lives within. Well written short stories of moments of wonderful wonder!Published 15 months ago by maria I. cacela