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Airships by [Hannah, Barry]
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Airships Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Barry Hannah is the best fiction writer to appear in the South since Flannery O'Connor." —Larry McMurtry

"Strong, original, tragic and funny in the same voice-a writer of violent honesty and power in the creative Southern tradition." —Alfred Kazin

"These stories are wonderful in the ways Mark Twain, Faulkner and Flannery O'Connor are wonderful when they are working the great vein of fierce and pitiless Southern comedy. The war stories in particular-joining, as they do for me, the clownish misery and colossal overkill of Vietnam to the American Civil War-are masterpieces of their kind. Hannah is more than just a new voice-he is half a dozen brilliant new voices." —Philip Roth

"Barry Hannah takes fiction by surprise-scenes, shocks, sounds and amazements: an explosive but meticulous originality." —Cynthia Ozick

"Talents as broad as this thrive in novels but rarely take to the more constricting form of the short story. Airships proves Barry Hannah an exception . . . artfully rounded-off vignettes jumping with humor and menace. . . . The stories bounce off and echo one another, giving the book an impact greater than the sum of its parts. . . . Most young Southern writers resent being compared to such past giants as Faulkner and Flannery O'Connor. In embracing the gothic mode, Hannah has planted himself firmly on their turf. On the evidence of this book, their shadows are not stunting his growth." —Time

"Exhilarating! Hannah is afraid of nothing in experience. He runs to meet life and to transform it." —Denis Donoghue

"Barry Hannah's writing is raw and exhilarating, tortured, radiant, vicious, aggressive, funny, and streaked with rage, pain and bright poetic truth." —Philadelphia Inquirer

"Hannah's stories are powerful, and powerfully original." —John Gardner

"One reads Barry Hannah and is amazed! Airships places him in the very first rank of American literary artists, and leaves us breathless with the force of its feeling." —James Dickey

"Barry Hannah is an original, vital talent." —The Houston Chronicle

From the Inside Flap

Winner of the Arnold Gingrich Short Fiction Award

Now considered a contemporary classic, Airships was honored by Esquire magazine with the Arnold Gingrich Short Fiction Award, and its author was welcomed on the cover of The New York Times Book Review as a "sensational new comic writer."

These twenty stories are a fresh, exuberant celebration of the new American South-a land of high school band contests, where good old boys from Vicksurg are reunited in Vietnam and petty nostalgia and the constant pain of disappointed love prevail. Airships is a striking demonstration of Barry Hannah's mature and original talent.


"Water Liars"
"Love Too Long"
"Testimony of Pilot"
"Coming Close to Donna"
"Dragged Fighting from His Tomb"
"Quo Vadis, Smut?"
"Return to Return"
"Green Gets It"
"Midnight and I'm Not Famous Yet"
"Our Secret Home"
"Eating Wife and Friends"
"All the Old Harkening Faces at the Rail"
"Knowing He Was Not My Kind Yet I Followed"
"That's True"
"Escape to Newark"
"Pete Resists the Man of His Old Room"
"Behold the Husband in his Perfect Agony"
"Constant Pain in Tuscaloosa"
"Deaf and Dumb"
"Mother Rooney Unscrolls the Heart"

Product Details

  • File Size: 550 KB
  • Print Length: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; Reprint edition (December 1, 2007)
  • Publication Date: December 1, 2007
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008UX83X0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #323,962 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I can always tell a great book by the fact I'm constantly thinking of bits I'd like to steal while reading. By that criteria, reading Airships was like being tossed in a jewlery store at night without any security around.

Airships is a collection of stories about war, sex, airplanes and horses. The usual, but done with incredible style and energy. I find that far too much modern short fiction is so polished and calculated it comes out as a dulled diamond (or more often polished stone), but Hannah's work is full of the rough, gritty, loose writing that draws you in like possessed jungle vines and then you get attacked by a Panther or something.

A few of the stories fall short and at least one didn't work at all for me, but I'll still give it a big ol' A+
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Format: Paperback
A wonderful collection of stories that made me laugh outloud more than anything since the first time I read Celine. From one story to the next I was trully captivated. What sets him apart from other writers is his T.S. Eliot - like gift to come up with phrases that ring in your head like coins for years to come. No writer ever has been able to sum up a character in a single sentence like Hannah. Her husband was an intellectual in real estate... etc. The same is true in other volumes. Latouche (with metaphysical approaches named after him), is a good example.
I am not yet published but have written nine novels and hope my day will come soon. Hannah along with Richard Ford, Cormack McCarthy, Flaubert, Rilke, Celine, and Peter Handke, are my all-time favorites. Thanks for the inspiration!
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By A Customer on May 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is one of the greatest short story collections/cycles in the history of the form. To hell with political correctness. When the smoke of overeducated ignorance clears from the last half of this century, Airships will be canonical.
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Format: Paperback
Barry Hannah spent most of his adult life as a hopeless but somehow functioning alcoholic, which doesn't come as any surprise to someone who has read this collection of short stories. I would be gobsmacked to learn that any of these stories had been written by anyone even remotely sober. That doesn't positively affect the quality of these stories, but it doesn't completely ruin them either. A few of the stories in this collection were fantastic ("Testimony of Pilot" being the very best), a few were impressive but ill-conceived or seemingly pointless ("Knowing He Was Not My Kind Yet I Followed"), and quite a few were nothing but funny-bizarre sentences placed at random on the same page as other funny-bizarre sentences. By my count, there is not a single story in this entire collection that does not mention: 1) booze; 2) snatch. There are few stories in this collection that actually work as "stories" in the sense of an interrelated chain of events or states put together in a meaningful order. Overall, the impression you get is one of incredible talent simply hosed onto the page without any real self-discipline.

If you ask me (that "me" being someone who will certainly never be a great writer -probably not even a decent one), Barry Hannah could have achieved true greatness if only he'd learned how to rein in all the overblown surreality without killing all that passion and verbal talent. If literature were nothing but one shocking sentence after another, then Barry Hannah would have been the sum of a billion Shakespeares. What we have got here, though, is still worth reading and still worth four stars.
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Format: Paperback
I've been slowly getting on the Barry Hannah train since a professor had us read one of his stories in a class on Southern Literature many, many years ago. If you know anything about Southern lit, you know that Faulkner and Flannery O'Connor are kind of the big deals, with everyone who's followed being compared to them (either favorably or not). The South has a long, distinguished history in terms of its literature (if not so much in terms of race relations or justice or what have you, though such discrepancies could be said to have fueled so much of the best work to come out of the region). Barry Hannah, God rest his soul, was as much an original voice as any to come from south of the Mason-Dixon line, and as I've worked my way through his catalogue I've yet to be disappointed.

"Airships" is not for the faint of heart; it's as post-modern as Pynchon, in many aspects, playing with the structure and point of the short story. Many of the pieces here are not exactly reader-friendly, in that some are over too soon and many have points where you might be scratching your head or offended out of your gourd. And that's okay, I think; literature, with a capital "L," isn't supposed to be warm and fuzzy, and easy to hold. There's nothing wrong with being warm and fuzzy, mind you, but you get more out of the effort if you're willing to go past the breaking point of the rules. Hannah, in this work and in the two books of his that I've read previously (the novels "Geronimo Rex" and "Ray"), steps on toes, runs over them even, to tell the stories, many loaded with imagery and language that will not sit well with some readers. But if you just hold on, you'll have one hell of a ride. You may even laugh harder than you thought you would.
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