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Love and Hydrogen: New and Selected Stories Paperback – January 27, 2004
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"In a first-rate gathering of 22 stories, bizarre premises drawn from history and popular culture share space with moving examinations of deranged family dynamics . . . Adventurous and enthralling work from one of the most interesting of all contemporary American writers."
--Kirkus, starred review
"These are some of my favorite short stories of the past decade. Reading them is like encountering our national literature in microcosm: multiform and polyrhythmic, violent and fanciful, erudite and hard-boiled, built on twin foundations of nostalgia for the never-was, and of that millennial American optimism that is indistinguishable from despair."
“Jim Shepard’s access to different voices, social types, levels of experience, is truly astonishing. He has observed deeply, and his selection of detail from that observation is brilliant. This is the work of a deft, audacious artist.” --Norman Rush
“Shepard’s writing is lean, assured, never canned; it is sometimes cinematic and often astringently funny. He reconstructs the ordinary and offers the surreal as a given, [finding] highly original ways into the most moving stories.” --Amy Hempel
Top Customer Reviews
Shepard's work is most notable for its incredible diversity of setting, voice and theme: a teen-age girl's first person account of a friendship strained by class division (Spending the Night With the Poor), the disaffections and fascination of a Yugoslav footballer in progressive 1960's Holland (Ajax is All About Attack), the thrill and resignation of a World War II German test pilot (Climb Aboard the Mighty Flea) are just a sample. He can approach a story as a straight ahead narrative (The Mortality of Parents) or as an ironic romp(The Creature from the Black Lagoon) and yet he always seems to find his way to the dark heart of the story. He is at his best when he takes on narratives or personae that we think we know and produces something startlingly fresh: `We Won't Get Fooled Again' a brief history of The Who from the eyes of their most enigmatic member, bassist John Entwhistle, is hilarious and heart-rending.Read more ›
The first one was "Like You'd Understand, Anyway" which was excellent and got top reviews from many critics.
Now, I have no doubt Jim Shepard is THE MASTER of the short stories genre...
The subjects are diverse, the background research is superb but what I like most is the nonchalance and the subtle sense of humor he instills in each story.
Definitely recommended reading.
Writer Interruptus and Other Stories
LOVE AND HYDROGEN displays scope and diversity all right: in spades. The stories transit spans of time, the subject matter encompassing everything from the final flight of the Hindenberg to the Creature From the Black Lagoon. To my mind, any number of these tales could be included in an anthology of the finest writing of the past fifty years. I've read that Shepard's research is meticulous and that is evident in historical reconstructions like the title story, `The Assassination of Reinhard Heydrich', `Krakatau', `Batting Against Castro', etc.
There's a shiver of authenticity present in all of his fiction, an emotional honesty that defies sentiment and still manages to be heart-wrenching. No one in Jim Shepard's universe is blameless, everyone complicit; perhaps it's his version of original sin. We quickly recognize ourselves in Jim Shepard's peerless short stories and novels and that (among numerous other things) is what makes him so great.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
There is no better short story writer than Jim Shepard. Every new collection is an event and Love And Hydrogen is no exception.Published 7 months ago by Curtis Cummings
This writer is just incredible to me. I got this out of the library originally and then bought it because I couldn't stop thinking about some of the sotires and wanted to reread... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Ms. Windermere
Jim Shepard blew me away with his remarkable tales. I especially enjoyed the one told from the POV of the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Read morePublished on April 17, 2013 by Sean M
Story collections which hover around the same setting can sometimes work, but I'm much keener on those which hop throughout time and space to transport the reader to somewhere new... Read morePublished on December 31, 2005 by A. Ross
the problem, for me, with jim shepard is that he has what seems to be *exactly* the right idea. his clinametic efforts to avoid the rote american short story are frequently... Read morePublished on November 2, 2005 by jack smack