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Self Storage: A Novel Paperback – February 12, 2008
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
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
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 ›
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I don't remember purchasing this book. It showed up on my library list, so I thought the universe was trying to tell me something, and I chose to read it ahead of some other books... Read morePublished 19 months ago by JBK
Gayle Brandeis is a wonderful novelist, and this one was particularly enjoyable. The story has tremendous heart, believable characters and plenty of quirky twists and turns. Read morePublished on October 25, 2012 by Amazon Customer
Gayle Brandeis' novel, Self Storage, shares a similar quality to her first novel, The Book of Dead Birds, VISION... Read morePublished on March 3, 2009 by Luz
I have never disliked a book enough to wirte a negative review until I polished this one off. If you glean your news from USA Today or The Daley Show this book would be a great... Read morePublished on August 5, 2008 by Life'snotfair
Gayle Brandeis writes wonderful books, and this one is no exception. Her characters are real and quirky and honest, and her themes are always large. Read morePublished on May 13, 2007 by Masha
"The novel that is getting all of the buzz, look for this on the best of 2007 fiction."Published on March 18, 2007 by BookManBookWoman TV REVIEWS
At times as lyrical as the protagonist's muse Walt Whitman, Self Storage reminds us that we have the power to live affirmatively and discover our own Song. Read morePublished on March 9, 2007 by E. Stafford
Self Storage is a wonderful blend of soul searching, hot topic political issues, and colorful words. Read morePublished on February 26, 2007 by H. Al-Saadoon