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Yesterday's Weather: Stories Hardcover – September 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 308 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; First Edition edition (September 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802118747
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802118745
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.9 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,127,683 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this overstuffed collection from Booker Prize–winner Enright (The Gathering), the gems are overshadowed by the sheer number of stories (there are 31). Enright's talent lies in her ability to tweak an ordinary situation and create something that is at once unique and universal: two wives coming to different conclusions about their husbands' infidelities in Until the Girl Died and The Portable Virgin, an examination of elevator and pregnancy etiquette in Shaft or the permutations of sexual desire in Revenge. Other standouts such as Little Sister and Felix resonate because of their tight focus. In the former, the narrator pieces together her dead sister's life and realizes It was all just bits. I really wanted it to add up to something, but it didn't. In Felix, Enright riffs on Lolita and creates an endearing and repulsive middle-aged woman narrator who has an affair with a neighborhood boy. But too often Enright's characters—more often than not female, first-person narrators—bleed into one another until their stories become jumbled in the reader's mind, as another unhappy wife or mother laments her situation. (Sept.)
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From Booklist

Irish writer Enright is a sly and scintillating examiner of the human condition, and nowhere do her rapier-like observations probe more flawlessly than in this adroit and frisky collection of short stories exploring the urgency and delicacy of contemporary relationships. Whether illicit, complacent, raucous, or joyous, love, sex, and everything in between is fair game. Enright’s themes are lush and elaborate, and fraught with more than a hint of danger. From a daughter who suspects her mother of adultery to a middle-aged widow confronting an inappropriately timed pregnancy, Enright’s heroines, especially, are a multifarious lot, full of zesty emotions and slender motives tempered with self-doubt and recriminations. Elsewhere, through precise vignettes of ordinary domesticity, conciliatory husbands and confrontational wives labor to conceal tantalizing friction in scenes that tremble with subtle energy. Through dialogue that sparkles with a savory nonchalance, Enright’s characters and their situations are made both recognizable and foreign, ensuring her readers a transformative and buoyant escapade into the heart of a sensuous society. --Carol Haggas

Customer Reviews

If you like a challenge, read these exquisite short stories.
karenska
The quality of writing in this collection is consistent but unfortunately so is the emotional effect.
Brad Teare
The reader can empathize with the characters when they win or lose.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Sarang Gopalakrishnan on November 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Yesterday's Weather" collects a couple of decades' worth of short stories, arranged in reverse chronological order. The later stories are much like the earlier ones, though on average slightly more polished. Anne Enright's talent is for short stories rather than novels, and among short stories for the extended prose poem rather than the novella; the stories in this book are infinitely more satisfying than her ill-conceived (though locally brilliant) novel "The Gathering," and many of the best -- like the first one, "Until the Girl Died" -- are just a few pages. This is emphatically not a book to read through; Enright is a great master in a single key -- domestic dissatisfaction intermitted by moments of surprising tenderness -- but her stories are not notable for their variety of subject matter. (Bad sex is for her what daffodils were for Wordsworth.)

The prose is usually excellent, and often beyond praise. There are a few lapses when Enright steps out of her comfort zone -- narrating a story in a teenage girl's voice, say; the "likes" aren't in, like, the right places -- but these are quite rare. What I find most appealing about her voice is its combination of poise with violent freshness. The descriptions are often poetry, e.g. a man "setting [his baby] down on its stomach to swim its way across the carpet." And then there's the perfect fingering: "The sex, when it happened, an aimless battering around the nub of him, which was sadly distant and, she supposed, numb with drink." (From a story titled "The Bad Sex Weekend," which as the NYT reviewer said would fit the entire book.) Apart from these stylistic virtues, I find the sensibility behind these stories fascinatingly edgy. The subject matter goes beautifully with the sensibility; it is very valuable to have the tawdry sanctities of marriage, childbirth, and mothering cut open by such a sharp and unflinching writer.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Brad Teare VINE VOICE on October 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The quality of writing in this collection is consistent but unfortunately so is the emotional effect.

Although the stories ostensibly range from the mundane to the disturbing the real narrative always hovers close to sex and a bleary animal wistfulness, similar to the vague longing of a Raymond Carver novel, but without the focus or variety.

Some people are good writers without being good story tellers. The writing took me away but I often wished it was somewhere else and in the company of more complex and interesting characters.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Najla Alowais on October 9, 2009
Format: Paperback
There are several themes in the numerous short stories in this book. Loss, infedelity, grief are but to name a few. To be honest, I enjoyed the writing style at first, but perhaps the number of stories overshadowed that..after a while, it felt like the book would never end.

This was my first Enright book, and maybe I shouldn't have started off with a collection of 20+ short stories. Like I said, I liked the style. I enjoyed the first couple of stories but then the rest seemed to be replicas of each other.

The only story that stands out in my memory (because the rest seem to have just blended with each other) is "My Little Sister". A young woman replays events of her little sister's life, her sister's aneroxia. Snippets of memories that were artfully constructed, but then the ending was not satisfying. All the same, this was one of the good ones, haunting and realistic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By SPS on January 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I had heard great things about this collection of stories, as being a great, postmodern sample of Irish life. There are some touching stories -- about an anorexic girl, or an aging woman living next to an aging, blind man who finally asks for help by banging on pipes -- and Enright at times is great at bringing out raw emotion on paper. But so (too) many stories are defined by bad sex, or an affair, or some other sexual twist, leaving the reader to think that's all there is in Ireland.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By karenska on August 19, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you like a challenge, read these exquisite short stories. It's a promise that you haven't read prose like this before. Enright will surprise you with every story....with her words bashing against each other. I turned around and am reading the stories again. They are ever better the second time around.
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