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What's Important Is Feeling: Stories Paperback – February 25, 2014


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (February 25, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062284789
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062284785
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #348,864 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

This collection of 12 short stories follows Wilson’s critically acclaimed first novel, Flatscreen (2012). First-person narrators tell of ambition, personal failure, and loss. People die, jobs are lost, and dreams dissolve under the grind of daily life. Many of the stories are set in New York City and the Boston area, but one, the hilarious “What’s Important Is Feeling,” comments on the culture clash between L.A. types on a film shoot and the contemptuous Texas oil-field workers who surround them. Wilson’s use of language can be ironic and satiric, sometimes sparkling with humor even as it stabs at the peculiarities of American culture (in “The Long In-Between,” a young woman comes to Manhattan, which she describes as having “New York’s immutable infrastructure. No matter how high you climbed, there would always be someone above you”). And since Wilson often describes the lives of teens, college students (and dropouts), and new professionals, drugs, sex, and profane language lend verisimilitude to the narration. Irony and strong writing make this an excellent addition to short story collections. --Ellen Loughran

Review

“The stories in Adam Wilson’s What’s Important Is Feeling blend humor with emotion.” (Vanity Fair)

“Adam Wilson is one of our best young writers.” (Flavorwire)

“This book will bring you back to the wandering, blurred-together days of your early twenties, or, if you’re a younger person with creative aspirations, remind you of your very real present.” (GQ.com)

“With its tales of young men and women who can’t quite grow-up, is about addiction, fear, sickness, self-doubt, family and love. But it asks us to respect its dark and damaged characters and to come feel what they feel, even if it’s for just a moment in time.” (ZYZZYVA)

“Getting laughs and pathos from the same work of fiction is a hard thing to do. Adam Wilson’s previous book, Flatscreen, did so regularly. . . . As good as that book was, his new collection What’s Important is Feeling, is even better.” (VOL. 1. BROOKLYN)

“Adam Wilson is a writer on the rise.” (Buzzfeed)

“[A] testosterone- and coke-fueled collection. . . . Darkly funny.” (Entertainment Weekly)

“Adam Wilson can write. . . and he does so with a certain authenticity and humor that I rarely see. . . . If you enjoy the cohesive element in collections, then I can’t recommend this book enough.” (LITREACTOR.COM)

“Those who like to sympathize or psychoanalyze should find what they’re looking for in What’s Important is Feeling: Stories. Wilson’s characters might be one, probably two, cards short of a full deck, but they are inarguably funny.” (VOX Magazine)

“Adam Wilson’s fierce tales of botched dreams, conflicted ambitions and naïve missteps make for a millennial Winesburg, Ohio, capturing all the idealism and cynicism of young cohorts facing tough realities.” (B&N Review)

“This book is a joy ride . . . The buoyant comedy and insight of Wilson’s prose carries these stories farther and farther past taboo, into sensitive and complicated territory.” (New York Times Book Review)

More About the Author

Adam Wilson is the author of the novel Flatscreen, a National Jewish Book Award finalist. His stories have appeared in The Paris Review, Tin House, and The Best American Short Stories, among many other publications. In 2012 he received the Terry Southern Prize, which recognizes "wit, panache, and sprezzatura" in work published by The Paris Review. He teaches creative writing at New York University and lives in Brooklyn.

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Brandon on March 1, 2014
Format: Paperback
"What's Important Is Feeling" falls into the same trap that many collections do, in that it's too consistent in regards to its theme, its characters, its setting. Many of the leads are young Jewish men struggling with love, relationships, and their transition to adulthood. They do drugs. They live on the east coast for the most part. What this amounts to is a collection in which each story is an echo of the previous one. They aren't carbon copies, but they aren't wholly different either. Some people prefer this type of cohesiveness; I don't happen to be one of them. And I can't ignore the fact that Adam Wilson just so happens to be a young Jewish male living on the east coast, which only further adds to the "is this story about you" topic that readers so often pose to authors.

Don't get me wrong, Adam Wilson can write...and he does so with a certain authenticity and humor that I rarely see. The credentials are there, having been published in The Paris Review, VICE, and Tin House, but I suspect these stories worked better in the context of a literary magazine than a collection. Once combined, they lose all contrast and assume a sort of generic quality. I never found myself hating or loving any of them, but feeling lukewarm about something can be just as dangerous as loathing. Wilson's prose is solid, he definitely knows how to capture the character of a young twenty-something, but I wanted a little more variety out of him. "The Long In-Between", for example, is different in that it's more female-centric, but even then we're still presented the same unlucky-in-life-and-love-on-the-east-coast story that gets dished up for the majority of the collection.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Emma Lauren on June 10, 2014
Format: Paperback
Beautifully written and expertly crafted, Adam Wilson's first collection of stories is as good as his novel, Flatscreen. The fluid prose and vivid details bring his stories to life, and the best thing about his characters is how real they are. I laughed, cringed, and empathized with the characters. I highly recommend this book (and Flatscreen as well).
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Laura Cicchella on October 8, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Wilson nailed it! Life is never comfortable and his attention to detail is profound.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Roxanne Schwartz on March 18, 2014
Format: Paperback
Adam Wilson has done it again! A funny, heartfelt, raw and relatable collection of stories with an unforgettable writing style.
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1 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Chris Roberts on July 27, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I am absolute, I lay waste to poseurs and am able to core a man, his existence, in a single sentence. The author has killed angst in our times. His is low art made to hang even lower and to profane yourself before...Read off you, this middling mess of collected stories.

Chris Roberts, God On and On
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