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Strategies Against Extinction Paperback – October 2, 2012
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"Most first books of fiction tread uncomfortably close to the writer's life. But here's a debut collection of stories that takes us to some unexpected and remarkable places: a '50s-era sports radio broadcast, a vascular surgeon's worst moment, a bracing encounter with Vladimir Putin. Michael Nye has written his way across the divides of time and gender and place and has occupied nine diverse lives. The insights he arrives at are sharp and memorable. The writing is finely crafted. This is an auspicious first book."
--John Dalton, author of Heaven Lake and The Inverted Forest
"The magic in these stories is the life that pulses just below the surface, as fragile and relentless as the human heart. These stories remind me of Richard Ford's brilliant early stories in the way that plain-spoken people try to hold on as their lives spin, almost imperceptibly at first, out of control. The cumulative effect is uniquely moving. The emotional impact, however, is far from ordinary. Read Nye now so you can say you knew of him back before everybody else."
--Daniel Stolar, author of The Middle of the Night
"The range of characters and actions in this first collection is refreshing. We get to know a film student who yearns to escape her hometown, a Pirates broadcaster who is not important enough to travel with the team and must re-create the action as if he were watching it, an ex-governor of Ohio who wrestles Vladimir Putin, and a surgeon who trains a new doctor to be tough enough by taking her hunting. Nye's characters do not merely think and wish and yearn, but rather they act, they do, they struggle in surprising and shocking ways."
--Mary Troy, author of Beauties and Cookie Lily
"In his first collection, Michael Nye shows he has the heartbeat of a seasoned veteran of prose. The writing sizzles here with raw and touching characters. The mishaps, mistakes, misfortunes, and miracles meld to form something wonderful and real."
--Ryan Stone, author of Best Road Yet
"With astonishing insight and poignant precision, Michael Nye exposes the devastatingly subtle consequences of betrayal, the frangibility of our human bodies, and the quiet intensity of our desire to transcend grief and restore our families. Strategies Against Extinction is a piercing reminder of our transient existence, a quiet cry in the night that swells to an aching song of hope, an aria of love surging beneath rage, delivering us from fear, and sustaining us through sorrow."
--Melanie Rae Thon, author of In This Light and The Voice of the River
Top customer reviews
Perhaps the most distinct aspect of Nye's work is the pace and insight of his prose. He is an accomplished wordsmith who moves from wide shots to exact, crystalline detail within a single scene, seemingly changing the very passage of time by offering the reader precise descriptions of objects or events key to the story. And he does it without losing the rhythm and cadence of the story.
"Strategies" is an excellent kick start for a writer who can take us into the minds of a variety of diverse characters with convincing, compelling, even elegant, prose.
Too many times these days, you buy a book and it's just words slapped between covers. Someone puts out a book and you can tell ten pages in that you're in wobbly hands, that the seams of the tale they're weaving are going to pop. Sometimes books like this sell millions of copies. Sometimes they're given away by green authors and you'll barely notice them. Sometimes they get thrown against the wall, hard, and you have shoulder tendonitis for weeks (I can't be the only book thrower out there).
STRATEGIES AGAINST EXTINCTION is NOT one of those books. Michael Nye is a professional, folks. Every sentence is fueled by a lifetime of reading, writing, editing, teaching. And then he just reads and writes even more. This is what he does, and the product is this, his first book, a fierce and gleaming testament to what is possible in the hands of a someone in complete control of their talent. As the stories unspool, you're transported to different times, people, professions and problems. You learn things. The lives are whole, real and tragic. You feel things. The time, attention, and detail is simply evident in every precise paragraph, every humming story, every smooth and polished sentence. You marvel when it's all over.
This is a book for people who love books, and for people who want to say they were reading Michael Nye before EVERYONE was reading Michael Nye.
I love well-written short stories and this collection lived up to my expectations.
The characters were well rounded, more so than many full-length books. With only a very few exceptions, I remained sympathetic to the lead character to the end of the story.
Generally, the lead character of each story faced loss or betrayal -- sometimes at his or her own hands.
Of all the stories, my favorite was The Re-creationist. It was not what I expected from the title and I learned something new.