Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Qty:1
FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books.
Only 1 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
Self Storage: A Novel has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Acceptable
Comment: Fast Shipping - Safe and Secure Bubble Mailer!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Self Storage: A Novel Paperback – February 12, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

See all 4 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$14.00
$0.92 $0.01

Intrusion: A Novel
A loving couple, grieving the loss of their son, finds their marriage in free fall when a beautiful, long-lost acquaintance inserts herself into their lives. Learn More
$14.00 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. Only 1 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • Self Storage: A Novel
  • +
  • Delta Girls: A Novel (Random House Reader's Circle)
  • +
  • The Book of Dead Birds: A Novel
Total price: $39.64
Buy the selected items together


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Flan Parker is floundering: her sweet but hapless husband, Shae, is procrastinating on finishing his dissertation, their young children are running wild, and the beloved yard sales she holds in their University of California-Riverside student housing cul-de-sac are under fire from the housing office. Then Flan becomes fascinated with her Afghani neighbors, particularly the wife, Sodaba, hidden beneath a burqa. When Sodaba, pulling into her driveway, accidentally runs over Flan's daughter, racial tension in the community is heightened. The unlikely friendship that develops between Sodaba and Flan in the accident's aftermath sparks its share of trouble as the FBI begins investigating Sodaba's husband for suspected ties to terrorism. Flan is an endearing, juicy character: well-intentioned, less than perfect, with a love of the old and faded (the ancient copy of Leaves of Grass she totes around and frequently quotes, for instance). Unfortunately, the inevitable political discussions (the book is set in the summer of 2002, and fears of another 9/11-style attack run rampant) are unsatisfying and banal. Brandeis, a winner of Barbara Kingsolver's Bellwether Prize for Fiction (described as "in support of a literature of social change), clearly wants to provoke social reflection. The book is most powerful when focusing on small, intimate moments. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

The Book of Dead Birds (2003), Brandeis' debut, won Barbara Kingsolver's Bellwether Prize. In her second brisk, covertly trenchant novel, Brandeis manages to weave Walt Whitman, 9/11, and secondhand goods into a provocative story about the nature of one's self and the intrinsically human need to find meaning in life. Flannery cherishes an old edition of Leaves of Grass, her only bequest from her long-deceased mother. With Whitman as her spiritual guide, she lives hand-to-mouth with her soap-opera-addicted graduate-student husband, high-strung young son, and escape-artist toddler daughter in a Riverside, California, enclave for international scholars. To make ends meet, Flan buys and resells the auctioned-off, memory-laden contents of abandoned self-storage units. As though life isn't precarious enough, Flan is drawn into a high-stakes drama involving her burka-wearing Afghan neighbor, the target of prejudice and hate crimes. Executing a marvelous narrative sleight of hand, Brandeis uses slyly insouciant humor and irresistible characters to delve into the true significance of neighborliness, advocate for doing the right thing, and celebrate a Whitmanesque embrace of life. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 283 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (February 12, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345492617
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345492616
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,106,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Gayle Brandeis, winner of the Bellwether Prize for Fiction in Support of a Literature of Social Change (THE BOOK OF DEAD BIRDS), has penned another novel that is both engaging as a story and timely in subject matter. In it, she expertly flings a cartload of characters searching for love, security and identity into a melting pot infused with political upheaval, fear and post-9/11 muck. The result is a book that is both chaotic and solid, frightening and incredibly touching.

Aptly titled SELF STORAGE, the narrative focuses on the business of the self and how we as humans store the "stuff" that makes up both our inner core and our external appearance, using Walt Whitman's gorgeous LEAVES OF GRASS/"Song of Myself" as its guide. All the main characters struggle valiantly with this process --- some successful, others not --- in order to define what of themselves is private and what can be shared openly with others. The book also addresses identity on a larger scale, and confronts both how we relate to others in our surrounding communities and how we receive and are perceived in the world. Given that the story takes place in our contemporary, war-torn world, the white characters have a much more carefree, privileged outlook on life and its prospects, while the Arabs are relegated to prejudicial treatment, confinement and secrecy.

In brief, SELF STORAGE is a post-gloom-and-doom/pre-sorted out tale of two families thrown together just months after the Twin Towers' demise. Twenty-eight-year-old Flan (Flannery) Parker, her husband (Shae) and two young children (Nori and Noodle) are barely scraping by in their shoddy university housing complex in Riverside, California.
Read more ›
Comment 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
This novel did a good job of capturing the American climate in the post 9-11 world. The instant suspicions of the others living in the graduate housing due to their neighbors' obvious Afghan origins rang very true. It seems that after that tragic day merely being Arabic makes a person instantly suspect, much like merely being Japanese made people instantly suspect during World War II. Brandeis does a nice job of pointing out how quickly we resort to prejudice due to a sort of paranoia caused by a tragedy of such epic scale.

Some of the plotting, however, was a real stretch and some things were left rather unfinished. I would have liked to see more development of the relationship between the main character and her Afghani neighbor. I'm also not quite sure I bought the reconciliation between husband and wife at the end as it seems to me that their marital problems were far too deeply rooted for such swift resolution.
Comment 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
Unfortunately, I could not get past the fact that I couldn't understand or like the protagonist, Flan, and I found her husband devoid of redeeming characteristics during the first half of the book (although he still failed to come together for me). So many things about these characters did not seem to add up to persons I wanted to keep reading about, and they did not seem to grow in ways that I could believe.

For example, it disturbed me greatly that Flan and Shae/Shake were so eager to blame the neighbor for an accident that they were at least equally responsible for. Yet despite blaming the neighbor and continuing to harbor many racist notions toward her, Flan was willing to go so far out on a limb for her ... why? And why did Flan's interest in her father seem to completely disappear from the day she checked his website until the end of the book?

I vacillated between savoring Gayle Brandeis' prose, as I had while reading her first book (which I adored), and wanting to rush through it quickly so I could stop spending time with these annoying characters and marginal parents. I was intrigued by the peripheral characters and found myself at times wishing the book were about them. (However, here too I might have been asking myself why otherwise intelligent and upfront people did not bother to level with Flan.)

It pains me to share these impressions, because I am so taken with Gayle Brandeis' work and her talent for the most part. And even here, I loved the beautifully woven tale, amazing prose, and exploration of issues that resonate with the reader. I excitedly await her future work.
Comment 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
Aside from the "say yes" and the social commentaries that others are trying to make about Self Storage, I just found it to be a fun read. I didn't find it life changing, and I didn't want to run out and say "yes". It filled my afternoon. I liked the honesty of Flan's character, and was a bit puzzled by Shae's character, and wished I could have known more about her neighbor, and the ending left me a bit confused. But all in all, I love the writing and the quirkiness of the woman who found her treasures in Self Storage.
Comment 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
Self Storage is about self exploration and discovering what makes you say YES to life. The story is layered on deeply flawed characters who don't know where their source of joy is, and is movingly woven together with lines from Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself".

Gayle Brandeis' characters, and the world she has created, work their way through the book with purposeful discord that creates its own energy and draws the reader in. Sometimes feeling compassion for them, sometimes frustration, but always feeling them - and that makes these characters real.

This book is getting a lot of important coverage because it addresses racial discrimination, profiling, our hyper-security focused culture, and the need for people to realize we are all human beings and desperately need to move past our fear and discord and find what brings us all together and say YES to ourselves and the world we live in.

Self Storage is a delight to read, and I highly recommend it.
Comment 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Self Storage: A Novel
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: Self Storage: A Novel