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The Dead Fish Museum Paperback – April 10, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“The stories that make up The Dead Fish Museum are lithe masterpieces of emotional chiaroscuro.” —Elle“Impossible to put down. D’Ambrosio’s prose is fluid, even insinuating. Sentence leads on to sentence with a momentum that mimics the twisted logic of madness, the small steps and sudden turns that lead people from well-lit streets and into dark alleys.” —The Seattle Times“Every other sentence is a masterpiece. Not a museum—type masterpiece, to be admired but not touched, to be treasured but not explored, but one you could find on a nature trail, created by the author but guided by the hand of God. . . . A reader will gain something rare after reading this book: a sense of wonder at the resilience of a human soul.” —Bloomsbury Review
Top Customer Reviews
The characters in these eight stories are those fish, and so are we.
Instead of being a culture which hangs onto rites of passage, rituals, ways in which we scar our body that show we have come through childhood--that we have made it into adulthood and are reborn--we are a culture which scars itself in private, which hides in closets and nicks its skin with razor blades, which takes burning matches to its flesh.
In short, we are a culture who holds onto our pain so tightly--indeed, is shackled to it--that the only way to express it is through violence--directed at others, directed at ourselves. And why? Because we don't know what else to do. We have lost our survival skills and escape is no longer an option--fight or flight means nothing.
At the same time, Mr. D'Ambrosio can invent a Manhattan screenwriter who keeps "cranking out those bigtime Hollywood screenplays in order to bankroll a lifestyle that broke the sillymeter." He is one of the few writers who can satirize hipster consumerism without sounding small: "In the little syncretic boutiquey spiritual figurines lined up on the windowsill and the crystal prisms strung from the ceiling on threads of monofilament I saw the very same occult trinkets that had decorated every bedroom I'd ever been in." He can also write like a wise old poet, with a character reflecting, "Our life together took on a second intention," after he learns that his wife was raped as a teenager. Or, like a young poet, he can write about a woman's eyes that "When you looked into them, you half expected to see fish swimming around at the back of her head, shy ones."
The Dead Fish Museum collects stories of beauty, insight, and rare eclecticism."
In the stories that follow, we are introduced to characters who struggle to live, or are sometimes so detached from the business of living they wither away at the edges of society. The middle-aged owner of a typewriter (repair) shop fights to keep his business relevant while providing care to his mentally-disturbed/deficient adult son, a suicidal screenwriter committed to a psychiatric hospital becomes embroiled with a ballerina who is addicted to burning parts of herself, and arguably makes an uneasy truce with himself by focusing on someone more damaged than himself. A man married to a fledgling actress spends time "Up North" with her family and friends while dealing with feelings of betrayal, and awkward machismo. Littered among the other stories are similarly unhappy individuals.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of the best collections I've read in years. Mental Illness is a central theme. Also Religion. D'Ambrosio is a like Flannery O'Conner, had she stumbled into the Pacific... Read morePublished 7 days ago by Steve
These stories are about people you would not think about often. They are sad, funny, and just plain weird. Read morePublished 5 months ago by K.N.R.
One of the great American short story writers of our time. The guy is a legend and for good reason.Published on April 23, 2014 by The Caster Kid
Read this amazing collection. Nothing more to say, except maybe: start with "Drummond & Sons," an unexpected look at how to love someone who is not the person you wanted or... Read morePublished on September 4, 2013 by Dale Eastman
Charles D'Ambrosio, The Dead Fish Museum (Knopf, 2006)
The people who inhabit Charles D'Ambrosio's stories (which I can't yet figure out is they're interconnected or... Read more
Charles D'Ambrosio's collection will not disappoint. I have been a fan since reading his collection "The Point" in the 90s, one of my all-time favorites. Read morePublished on December 24, 2008 by J. Spear
A voice of his own, deeply melancholy but capable of setting up characters in intriguing situations with deeply felt human conflicts. Not as funny as Boyle, but who is?Published on November 11, 2008 by Richard Delman
From beginning to end this collection of stories was funny, moving, and soulful, especially the stories: "The Screenwriter" and "The Bone Game", which were so strange yet loving... Read morePublished on May 6, 2008 by Archer C.