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Mere Anarchy Paperback – October 14, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
Allen's writing skills are off the charts, whatever the genre. At times, his sentence structure is so intricate and precise, his vocabulary so eccentrically obscure, that his setups become funnier than his punchlines:
"I was supremely confident my flair for atmosphere and characterization would sparkle alongside the numbing mulch ground out by studio hacks. Certainly the space atop my mantel might be better festooned by a gold statuette than by the plastic dipping bird that now bobbed there ad infinitum..."
This particular vignette, "This Nib for Hire", is particularly hilarious: the story of Flanders Mealworm, a pretentious, out of work novelist writing a novelization of a Three Stooges short.
In the later chapters, Allen drops the highly stylized prose and reverts to earlier form, where he simply piles absurdities on his paragraphs like pastrami on rye. This too is sidesplitting:
"How could I not have known that there are little things the size of 'Planck length' in the universe, which are a millionth of a billionth of a billionth of a centimeter? Imagine if you dropped one in a dark theater how hard it would be to find. And how does gravity work? And if it were to cease suddenly, would certain restaurants still require a jacket? ..."
Allen is funny on every level:
Funny premises--"Frederich Nietzsche's Diet Book", Savile Row suits impregnated with fragrances, a lighting double kidnapped by Indian terrorists while on location.Read more ›
If you're an Allen fan, especially a new fan, don't stop with this book. Also check out "The Complete Prose of Woody Allen."Complete Prose of Woody Allen
written three very funny collections of short stories: GETTING EVEN,
WITHOUT FEATHERS and SIDE EFFECTS.
Over 25 years have passed since the publication of that last book,
so when I saw he recently came out with MERE ANARCHY, I quickly
got my own copy to see if he has lost his touch . . . I'm happy to say
that he has not.
MERE ANARCHY, like his earlier efforts, covers a wide range of
topics . . . you'll find yourself laughing when you hear his observations
about sex, food or even how parents deal with the rejection
of their son into the best nursery school in Manhattan:
* In the days following the rejection, Anna Ivanovich became
listless. She quarreled with the nanny and accused her of
brushing Mischa's teeth sideways rather than up and down.
She stopped eating regularly and wept to her shrink. "I must
have transgressed against God's will to bring this on," she
wailed. "I must have sinned beyond measure-too many
shoes from Prada." She imagined that the Hampton Jitney
tried to run her over, and when Armani canceled her charge
account for no apparent reason, she took to her bedroom and
began having an affair. This was hard to conceal from Boris
Ivanovich, since he shared the same bedroom and asked
repeatedly who the man next to them was.
I also liked what Allen had to say about moving into a new
* It all began with the purchase of a small brownstone on
Manhattan's Upper West Side. Miss Wilpong, of Mengele
Realtors, promised us it was the buy of a lifetime, priced
modestly at a figure no higher than the cost of a stealth
bomber.Read more ›
When I was in my late teens, early 20's, I read both Without Feathers and Side Effects with relish, and a side of laughter. Mere Anarchy, however, was ready with a lot of difficulty and at under 200 pages I had to force my way to the last line of the last short story before closing the book with a sigh of relief.
Allen writes in a style reminiscent of 1950's pulp detective side of the mouth fiction coupled with a schmeer of insecure Jew. Each and every short story is written in the same style and tone. More than once a story used the "main character attempts to flee scene stage right" trick in an obvious and supposedly humorous fashion (by the second time it's not). There's no change in voice, making it difficult to distinguish between stories and thus reducing each the ridiculous situation(s) Allen specializes in into yawnfests.
I found only two of the stories humorous. "Strung Out" is an Allen take on the infamous "Sex Life of an Electron" short story that's been floating around for eons. Actually, I don't know if Allen is aware of the story, but reading it I couldn't help but make a comparison. "Surprise Rocks Disney Trial" is a highly original piece (for this book, at least) in which Mickey Mouse is deposed at the Michael Ovitz termination bonus trial where Mickey reveals some scandalous and salacious gossip about his fellow Disney costars.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Typical Woody Allen story telling...a bit off-balance, wonderful humor
catchy narrative and dialogue. Easy read at the beach, on a lounge
or just before bedtime... Read more
I am a huge fan of this man's thoughts, thought process, or musings, so my review is perhaps more than a little biased. In this review I am also including several of Mr. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Sergiu Pobereznic (author)
Quirky, offbeat, and intelligently written, I enjoyed this collection of short stories by Woody Allen. If you enjoy Mr. Allen's movies, I think you will enjoy this book.Published 15 months ago by Kimberly V