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Zero db: And Other Stories (Open Road) Kindle Edition

3 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Length: 192 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Bell, author of the critically well-received novel Waiting for the End of the World ( LJ 9/15/85), among others, writes with razor-sharp precision of grim doings in the rural South and the seamy side of urban New York. His stories have sharply delineated characters who generally seem to be unhappy or desperate. In "Irene," for instance, a man who has settled in a forlorn Puerto Rican neighborhood of Newark watches, as an outsider, a young girl learning to survive in her own world. As observers of life, the people in these stories possess a clarity of vision that startles the reader, but the dreariness of their realities is what lingers in the mind. For serious fiction collections. Ann H. Fisher, Radford P.L., Va.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

“One of the most gifted and prolific writers of his generation.” —People
 
“Considered separately, the stories in this collection . . . are astonishing; considered together, they are even more astonishing, for they indicate a dazzling range of voice.” —The New York Times Book Review

Product Details

  • File Size: 2512 KB
  • Print Length: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Open Road Media (December 6, 2011)
  • Publication Date: December 6, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0069W0HXI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,831,369 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Madison Smartt Bell is a critically acclaimed writer of more than a dozen novels and story collections, as well as numerous essays and reviews for publications such as Harper's and the New York Times Book Review. His books have been finalists for both the National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award, among other honors.

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Format: Kindle Edition
The three sections in this book present stories told in three entirely different voices. Part One is set in the rural South (but not the "deep South" as the Amazon description reads), part two mainly in the ghettos of NYC and part three (a single story) in the Sioux Wars of the 1870s.

The writing in the first section is beautiful. Had this book been composed only of stories in that voice it would merit 5 stars. The stories in part 2 were engaging, but seemed to be variant retellings of the same story--connected not at all to the stories in part one, although I suspect that would have been possible. The story in part 3 has no real place in this collection, in my opinion. It lacks authenticity and is far inferior to the excellent work in part one.

While the stories of the rebellious impoverished young man in the slums are well-handled, the stories of childhood on a Tennessee farm are more compelling. Bell, who interestingly is the son of friends of Andrew Lytle and the Fugitive Poets, would do well by exploring that subject further.
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