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You Are Not the One: Stories Paperback – December 21, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Carroll & Graf's cover copy claims that McIntyre "brings together the comic milieu of David Sedaris with the exquisite crafting of Alice Munro," and while McIntyre does offer quirky scenarios (teenage hoodlums kidnapping a kid in a kangaroo costume; a 40-something wife performing a cocaine-fueled interpretive dance for a roomful of younger strangers) and moments of subtle insight (though they are hardly Munrovian), what he delivers primarily is a kind of unharnessed intelligence and insufficiently edited creativity, which he demonstrates in a bumpy series of eight stories revolving around the need for love and acceptance, whether it is from a lover, oneself or one's pet octopus. In "Binge," cocaine-snorting Lynn attends a party, ruminates on her attraction to a younger woman, considers her annoyance at her husband and, after the aforementioned dance, finds redemption of a sort thanks to a subway preacher. As an attempt at poignancy, it falls flat; it reads like a sudden end-stop for a garrulous narrator. "Octo" is similarly challenged, as a boy must part with his beloved and now deceased pet octopus, and a roller-coaster ride serves to symbolically link him—in terror—with his nasty sister. "ONJ.com" and "Disability," which consider complicated relationships between young gay men and their associates, ring true, however; the latter especially points to McIntyre's promise.
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From Booklist

In this quirky collection of short stories, McIntyre proves himself an exciting new voice in literature. "Octo" is a tragicomic tale of a disturbed 12-year-old and his voracious pet octopus. In "ONJ.com," a young advertising woman decides that she wants a gay man for a friend. When a freelancer with a penchant for Olivia Newton John and other men comes to work for her, she is delighted until she learns that he wants something from her, too. The strongest story is "Disability." While Frank is not completely honest about the level of his disability, he honestly cares about the people in his life. And while he is busy taking care of them, he finds something for himself. The last story is a quieter piece. "Nightwalking" tells the story of a woman sleepwalking through the major events in her life, figuratively and actually. Filled with witty dialogue, strong and varied characters, and the power to move and disturb, this is a brilliant debut. Elizabeth Dickie
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 325 pages
  • Publisher: Carroll & Graf (December 21, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786714336
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786714339
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,837,770 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I am the author of two books of fiction, as well as many published stories and essays.

Lake Overturn, my first novel, won the Grub Street National Book Prize and a Lambda Literary Award. It was a New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice, a Washington Post Best Book of 2009, and was nominated for the Ferro-Grumley Award and the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award.

My first book, You Are Not the One: Stories, published in 2005, was also a New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice and Lambda Award winner. It was published in the UK and Italy, and led to my receiving fiction fellowships from the NEA and the New York Foundation for the Arts.

Originally from Idaho, I lived for many years in New York City, where I was a waiter at Restaurant Florent in the Meatpacking District. Now I live in southeast London, where I'm working on a second novel and wrapping up a collection of stories based on my years in New York.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Harry Crowley on December 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
A couple months ago, I got ahold of an advanced reader's copy of this short story collection. And I devoured it in three days. It's brilliant, and I have been telling everyone I can that Vestal McIntyre is the next big thing. There are several debut collections that You Are Not the One reminded me of, including David Leavitt's Family Dancing, Michael Chabon's A Model World, and Robert Bingham's Pure Slaughter Value. But McIntyre's book is vastly superior to all three. Like those writers (and Lorrie Moore, his closest literary relative), his prose is gorgeous and funny and stylistically unique. But his immensely original characters are so sympathetic--even when they are behaving badly--that by the end of each story, they feel like close relatives or old friends. You love them, forgive, and mourn their absense. I honestly don't understand how anyone could not love, could not respect, could not enthuse about this book. It is best debut collection I've ever read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Eric Selby on August 5, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Vestal McIntyre, wherever you are, please publish more stories--and soon. This is one of those rare books where not one story is unappealing. I have spent a lifetime teaching English and retired only to find myself back teaching, this time in a college setting. So "Binge" was a great way to begin in a college setting with a professor who has no idea how to really connect with students. Mr. McIntyre creates brilliant first-person narration. "Sahara" is a good example. The characters, high school students in pick-ups, are just delightfully stupid, seen through this unique narrator. The author is a master of dialog. I found it interesting that in some stories he uses quotation marks whereas in others he does not. But that matters not because every piece of conversation is just what the characters would say.

I like that some of the characters are disabled. "Octo" is unforgetable as is "Foray." If I were told to select my favorite, I would have to toss a coin to decide which of these two. In "Octo" the central character cannot attend school. We are not quite sure exactly why, but that only makes the story better. He has a pet, a very unusual pet--I won't tell you what--and the pet outgrows its home. Then in "Foray" the first-person, rather haughty teenager turns out to be a little kinder than the reader expects. When I arrived at Call me Ishmael, I knew I would be in for a rare treat. And it was better than I could have expected.

If there were more stars, I would add at least two.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By H. F. Corbin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 29, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Vestal McIntyre has written eight very fine stories here, everyone of which is unique and original. The plots are as different as the kidnapping by teenage hoodlums of a busboy wearing a kangaroo suit to lure customers to the restaurant where he is employed to a man, no longer in love with his very successful wife, who hires a prostitute to have sex with him while driving his Mercedes through an automatic carwash. Mr. McIntyre is very wonderful with words and can do a lot with a little: "She looked at his tired gray eyes and lipless mouth. He had a habit of chewing on the inside of his cheeks." Another example: "The cousins slept scattered around the downstairs like shoes on the floor of a messy closet". And drinking brandy is like "swallowing candlelight."

While all eight stories are excellent, the last two are quite brilliant. In "Foray" the narrator Ray reads MOBY DICK to a young relative, Vance, who has Down syndrome. The story overwhelms the reader with its compassion as the young Vance is touched by hearing this great epic read aloud. When the narrator finishes MOBY DICK as the Pequod and its crew were "swallowed by the sea," "Tears streamed down Vance's face and fell into the sand. His hands moved from the armrest to cling to my [Ray's] arm as if there were something I could do for all those men. For him it had been not tragedy, but disaster." In the final story, "Nightwalking," three adult children for the first time after the death of their mother all get together with their father and each other. This little gathering sounds too much like family get-togethers too many of us have experienced. One sister is much more welcome if she shows up with her husband and child, rather than alone.
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Format: Paperback
I was inspired to write a review of this book of short stories, even though I didn't buy it, but found it at my local library. How lucky that the book I was looking for was not there, and this cover attracted me. More preface to my actual review: I rarely read short stories anymore, because I can never find "good ones", and when I read the "bad ones" it frustrates me that I can't put my finger on WHY I find them bad - just left feeling kind of bitter (for wasting good reading time) and blah and disappointed. But but BUT! I was SO pleasantly surprised by Vestal's stories (can I call you Vestal? Ves?), and still I am not quite sure how to characterize short stories, even good ones. Multiple levels of humor? Insight a little bit beyond his years? Subtly insightful, while delightfully entertaining, leaving me smiling and/or thinking afterwards? Yep, I'd even venture he has achieved range.
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