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When the Nines Roll Over: And Other Stories Hardcover – August 19, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Benioff is on a roll. His first novel, the crime drama The 25th Hour, was made into a critically acclaimed film directed by Spike Lee. He also wrote the screenplay for the summer blockbuster Troy. In his latest project, an octet of thoughtful short stories, he takes it down a notch from those high-profile projects, but he definitely doesn't rest on his laurels. The book begins with the title story, about a jaded hipster record executive who is trying to steal a talented and sexy young singer away from a small label. It's a tautly told tale with a wonderfully evil edge. Hip is hard to do, but Benioff can pull it off, as when the reader follows the protagonist into a series of increasingly restricted VIP rooms: "Tabachnik had been places with four progressively-more-exclusive areas, where the herds were thinned at each door by goons with clipboards, turning away the lame." Like a lot of great short stories, it leaves you wanting to continue on with the characters to see where they end up. The other seven stories in the collection are a varied lot, ranging from the tale of a young soldier grappling with the moral complications of having to execute an elderly woman to a drama about a lovesick young man's decision to secretly scatter his girlfriend's father's ashes. The stories are offbeat, but not overly obtuse, and each one is driven by fully formed characters. This is a superb collection, and it proves that Benioff can handle the long and the short of the fiction game.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Agony. Betrayal. Camaraderie. Desire. In this eclectic short-story collection, Benioff explores the alphabetic range of experiences that characterize modern adult life. From the droll (an aspiring actress-slash-waitress hired to sling "hash browns and one-liners" in a sitcom about a greasy spoon) to the disturbing (an inexperienced Russian soldier captivated by a clever old woman he's been commanded to kill), the author delivers on the promise of his pungent 2001 debut, The 25th Hour. In the title story, the eccentric drummer of a punk rock band gathers friends to mark a milestone for his beloved Ford Galaxie 500. The smitten narrator of "Neversink" is burned by the manufactured tales of a mercurial ex-lover. In "The Barefoot Girl in Clover," an aging, former football star seeks out a free-spirited beauty he encountered in his youth. A deft stylist who's a notch or two tamer than Chuck Palahniuk and T. C. Boyle, Benioff finds levity amidst the gravity in a world where the simplest of moments can change the course of our lives. Allison Block
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 223 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult (August 19, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670033391
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670033393
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,134,582 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Benioff was born and raised in New York City. He adapted his first novel, The 25th Hour, into the feature film directed by Spike Lee. With many other screenplays to his credit, he is also the writer of the films, "Brothers" and "X-Men Origins: Wolverine". Stories from his critically acclaimed collection When the Nines Roll Over appeared in Best New American Voices and The Best Nonrequired American Reading. His latest novel is City of Thieves. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife Amanda Peet and daughter where he is a co-creator and writer for the HBO hit series "Game of Thrones."

Customer Reviews

Each story is unique and the writing is very, very modern.
I recommend buying this book and keeping it on your bedside table - you won't be disappointed.
Lilly Mae
It's honestly one of my favorite short story collections to date.
Lara Shriftman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Looking for a Good Read on August 24, 2004
Format: Hardcover
At a time when the shelves are FILLED with wonderful and interesting books about contemporary life from a female perspective, at long last there is a book that does the same thing for guys.

I found this as I was desperately looking for something to read on a long plane ride, and it was fantastic. Funny, and insightful. Some of the same themes and sensibility as Palahniuk's FIGHT CLUB, but much more relevant to "every day" life: if you liked FIGHT CLUB, you'll love this even more! Are the characters exotic and off beat? Yes, and that makes it more fun. What makes it captivating is that what these characters go through is something any one -- and particularly, any guy -- can relate to, at least to some extent. This book will make you laugh and it will make you think: what more can you ask for! You will not regret this purchase!!!!!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By James J. Yohe on November 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover
"This is what you need to know about my father: He was a man who made a living killing animals, though he adored animals and disdained men. But I was his love's son and that gave me immunity from disdain, immunity from the cool hunter's stare he aimed at everyone else. His turn in this world was far from gentle, but he was gentle with me."

David Benioff from the short story "Zoanthropy"

I'm not a short story fan. Typically, short stories are either touchy-feely poetry fiascos that lack depth or they are compact verbiage crammed debacles that are too abrupt to allow proper character and plot development. Ironically, one of my favorite short story writers is Stephen King because he can scare the crap out of you in relatively short order. However, King doesn't count, because he considers 200 pages epigrammatic. Nevertheless, I actually stumbled upon an amazing work of short stories by the author of "The 25th Hour". The book is entitled "When the Nines Roll Over & Other Stories" by David Benioff. Each of the eight stories was a unique gem waiting to be discovered under some fertile yet shallow soil. I was able to read one complete novella during each of the study hall sessions I monitored during my 16th year of teaching at Susquehanna Township High School. Each tale left me invigorated and filled me with the gusto necessary to take on the challenges of the rest of my teaching schedule. I'm already worried about what I will do next week without the magical digressions each story provided me.

Although I enjoyed all eight of Benioff's short stories, four of them held a special place in my heart. "The Devil Comes to Orekhovo" was the most haunting tale in the lot.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on February 1, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I first read Benioff a few years ago in "All-Story" magazine, where three of the stories in this book first appeared (they are actually available online at All Story's site for those interested in sampling his writing). I then read and loved his novel "The 25th Hour", and so am glad to get my hands on this collection of eight stories. There aren't that many young American writers whose work excites me, but Benioff is certainly one of them (Mark Jude Poirier and John McNally are two others). His prose is clear and crisp, without the affectation or self-consciousness one finds in so much coming out these days. The stories collected here show a nice range of subject matter and tone, ranging from pure realism to slight surrealism, but almost all contain threads of loss, disappointment, and forlorn hope. Perhaps the highest compliment I can pay to the stories, is that even though I didn't connect with some of them, I still loved reading them.

The opening (and title) story, is one of these, following a record label A&R man (essentially a high-end scout) who pursues a talented punk girl and spirits her away to Los Angeles and out of the life of her drummer boyfriend. It felt a little old-fashioned in a lot of ways. Do record label execs still act like that? Are they really that interested in transforming punk chicks into superstars? But it did nicely capture that moment in relationships when one person has moved on to bigger and presumably better things, and their lover just doesn't fit in the picture any more. Another story, "The Garden of No", is very similar thematically, only here it's a waitress turned television actress, and the man is a short-order cook.

Misfiring romance figures prominently in three other stories as well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nawlins Ike on March 15, 2010
Format: Paperback
Not much you can say about this author to dispute that that he's a pro. He can obviously write any way he wants, but he has pegged a particular style that doesn't show off his way with words but just unreels an engaging yarn, one after another. In short stories there's not a lot of room to detour, but instead he builds his random details into his stories so they come off contemporary and quirky and still stay on track. Personally, I think his style is perfectly suited to short stories - little investment, short engaging trips. And they manage to get under your skin enough to make you attached. The stories are all over the place in range, from a rock band management tale to a Russian soldier's march to a gay artist dying of AIDS to a last-man-on-earth transmission. That one, about a guy in his shelter typing away and not daring to come up to the surface, really stuck with me.
Really good stuff, no complaints. Not groundbreaking, so I wouldn't give it five stars (I couldn't give five stars to anything that would be at home in the New Yorker - for five stars I want my head spun around), but easily good bang for the fifteen bucks.
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