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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best debut collection I've ever read,
This review is from: You Are Not the One: Stories (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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Collection of Truly Outstanding Short Stories,
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This review is from: You Are Not the One: Stories (Paperback)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.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fresh, Original Stories,
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This review is from: You Are Not the One: Stories (Paperback)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. A brother brings a new woman friend to meet his family for the first time and gets turned on by the idea of sleeping with her in his old bedroom from childhood. And, of course, somebody brings up a dicey topic at dinner which offends another sibling. Sound familiar?
Mr. MCIntyre in this his first collection writes stories that both delight the reader and leave him all the more wise for having read them.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully crafted short fiction . . .,
This review is from: You Are Not the One: Stories (Paperback)Vestal McIntire's world of characters is one well worth visiting. He has an astute vision of the human condition and manages a focus of modern living with clarity and humor that is biting and wise. ONJ.com, Dunford and Disability are my favorites.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best short story collections I have read all year,
This review is from: You Are Not the One: Stories (Paperback)Vestal McIntyre has created the most eccentric characters and bizarre situations in this collection of darkly funny short stories. He writes about things that people could relate to, yet he adds a touch of peculiar situations that make the stories dark and compelling at the same time. Some stories were written in second-person narrative and that gave the stories a more unique voice. My favorite story is "ONJ.com." I like to think of the aforementioned story as Will and Grace with a twist. I also loved "Nightwalking," "Disability," and "Binge." I enjoyed entering McIntyre's world with this fascinating collection and I look forward to reading more of his stuff in the future.
5.0 out of 5 stars Very worth your while!,
This review is from: You Are Not the One : Stories (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.
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is the one,
This review is from: You Are Not the One: Stories (Paperback)This is the kind of book where you think about and miss the characters long after you've finished reading. You start the book by building up a quick and eager pace, but towards the end you slow down because you don't want it to be over. I can't wait for the author's next book.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SHARP, FUNNY, WONDERFUL,
This review is from: You Are Not the One: Stories (Paperback)This collection offers the kind of rewarding experience readers desire and so seldom get. The story "Sahara," about the mistaken-identity kidnapping of a boy wearing a kangaroo costume, is just one example of how original, touching, and wildly entertaining this book is. Vestal McIntyre is a major talent, and YOU ARE NOT THE ONE is one of the sharpest, funniest and most well-crafted story collections I've ever read. I highly recommend it.
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You Are Not the One: Stories by Vestal McIntyre (Paperback - December 21, 2004)