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Wouldn't You Like to Know Paperback – May 17, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 104 pages
  • Publisher: Carnegie Mellon University Press; 01 edition (May 17, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0887485278
  • ISBN-13: 978-0887485275
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,005,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Wouldn't You Like to Know has a story to suit almost every reader's taste, making the collection perfect entertainment for multi-tasking, 21st century adults with Attention Deficit Disorder, except for one thing: Painter's prose is so carefully wrought, her language so poetic and packed with psychological insight, that the reader tends to stop and savor each short piece rather than breeze through all 103 pages (34 stories) in one sitting. Instead of a smorgasbord of surface pleasures, Wouldn't You Like to Know is a series of compact, complete meals created with just a few key ingredients."—Alison Morse, The Potomac

Review

"Freud said that everywhere he went, a poet had been there first. Pamela Painter, even with these crystal prose conundrums, is one of those poets. Her stories are charming and provocative, but be careful if you look again: something fundamental is being pried open and we may look if we dare. I will pay her sentences the highest compliment: they remind me of Grace Paley. I've always loved her stories for how tart and smart they are and how, as I catch my breath after reading each one, I can then feel the emotional thrum of her fiction's beating heart." (Ron Carlson)

Customer Reviews

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Each story offers us these morsels of insight.
Joanne Avallon
These stories make the reader uncomfortable; each has an unexpected tension that drives us on to the next sentence.
C. Macauley
Like reading poetry, you will savor these stories.
L. Randolph

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Neen on August 24, 2010
Format: Paperback
Pamela Painter's newest story collection demonstrates why she is so respected as the reigning high priestess of the short short form. Painter continues to amaze with her emotionally authentic, bittersweet, yet often sly and humorous takes on human relationships. She successfully introduces famous art and artists as a backdrop for more prosaic human interaction and social satire in shorts such as "Wyeth Drama: The Missing Scenes," and "Artist as Guest in the Hamptons." A well known educator and promoter of writing exercises, Painter gives us a flawlessly executed one sentence short entitled "Nose Interview." Anyone seriously interested in reading or writing short shorts must read this book!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Joanne Avallon on August 22, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The best works of microfiction reveal moments where something changes inexorably or crystallize a big story in such a small space so perfectly that nothing more need be said. Painter's work in "Wouldn't You Like to Know" demonstrates an amazing talent in this genre. In "Numb Enough," for example, a visit to the dentist summarizes a life raw with injury in which even the desire to numb oneself to pain opens the narrator to more pain. In "My Honey," we see the moment when a mother's opinion of her daughter and her young adult belligerence, changes from annoyance to pride. Each story offers us these morsels of insight.
Do not miss, too, Painter's mastery of the last line. There is not one story in this collection with a forgettable last line. If you are not understanding the point of the story, wait, be patient, it is, after all, a very short story. The last line will reveal all and will make you go back and reread with delight her short lessons in living and in seeing the entire world in detail in less than a few pages of prose.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By cwalsh on October 13, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In "Wouldn't you like to know," Pamela painter has given us a dazzling collection of 34 very short stories in just over a hundred pages.
They draw you in immediately; This is the first sentence of "The New Year:"

It's late Christmas Eve at Spinelli's when Dominic
present us, the wait staff,with his dumb idea of a
bonus--Italian hams in casings so light they shimmer
like Gilda's gold lamé stockings.

What the narrator doesn't know is that Gilda is about to give him and his ham and all his belongings the boot. A couple days and three paragraphs later and he and his ham have arrived at the Pacific Ocean.
Painter is a great believer in Ron Carlson's advice to writers: Let THINGS drive your story. The above mentioned ham is in every paragraph, almost a character. In "Dreamtime," the conflict turns on some reeds pulled up from the water in a made-up dream. In another story, a ghost haunts a wife, her husband, and their daughter, though none of them has told another about it. In a later story, a woman pours expensive wine for a visiting "famous author" And when he drinks too much of it and calls her "honey" one too many times, she pours it all over him.
Not that things are more important than the characters. Far from it: These stories are snapshots of people on the cusp of something significant (and more often than not, terrible) about to happen. Painter packs so much humanity into a few words. How does a teenage boy obey his parents when they tell him to go play with a younger boy whose twin brother has just been killed in an auto accident? How does a woman whose daughter has just been killed in an accident handle the drive west to permanently relocate with her silent husband?
Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rita J Doucette on October 3, 2010
Format: Paperback
Centuries ago Madame de Sevigne captured the cumulative power of small things when she wrote that 'it is the fine rain that soaks us through'. This timeless truth is reflected in Pam Painter's new collection of very short stories. My favorite in the collection is 'A View: Office at Night', a dreamy discourse on an Edward Hopper painting. Though it is the story that resonates the most with me, the others form a net of images and encounters that enhance the following truth - what may seem a fleeting image is in reality always something more, something hidden, something personal, and always just a piece of something much larger.
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