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Thirst Paperback – September 1, 1999
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The premier vignette, "Notice," explores the concept of "thirst," the interminable yearning that shapes human curiosity and achievement. Cynically set in the language of copyrights and legalese, "Notice" depicts the love life of the printed word, from its visceral seductiveness to our jealous control of its activities. In "Bouquet," a young au pair's aversion to open sexuality leads to a strange gift from a man who has been following her: a bouquet of flowers with a surprise that separates the prudish from the practical.
"The Republic of St. Mark, 1849" is an absolute jewel, surprising in its juxtaposition of the horrors of war and the mystical capacity of the human spirit. Alexandro "has been dying his whole life," but the eerie weapons of balloons and braziers that torment his besieged city finally bring him to death's surprising threshold, lofted into thinnest air by his own imagination.
Ken Kalfus quenches one's thirst for entertaining and intriguing fiction. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
There were a few stories in here that pushed the limits of my patience - stories on obscure subjects that seemed to be obscure just for the sake of being obscure. But generally the stories touched on general themes - marriage, love, etc - that will resonate with a lot of people.
Kalfus's more "realistic" stories are equally uneven. The stories "Bouquet" and "Thirst" cover an encounter in Paris between an Irish nanny and an Moroccan, and are totally run-of-the-mill. The longest story is "No Grace On the Road" (at 40+ pages), a very awkwardly done story set in Vietnam about a young upper-class official caught in a storm out in the countryside with his American wife, and forced to shelter in a peasant's hovel, where a baby lies dying. It's a really clumsy piece, worthy of a college freshman writing class. On the positive side of the ledger, the brief "Cats in Space" is a simple and haunting story of kids being cruel to neighborhood animals. "Suit" is another short but sweet piece, about a boy being fitted for a suit for a court appearance. "Rope Bridge" is probably the most conventional story in the collection, concerning a man who lusts after a vivacious friend of his wife.Read more ›
This is the first of 2 books that Mr. Kalfus has written that contain a variety of short stories. I actually read the second collection first, as most who had read both found the second work weaker. In this work, "Thirst", there was one story I almost enjoyed that was shared in two parts, and one or two others I found intriguing until I came across the guide at the end. The guide seemed more of an effort to convince the reader of how much there was to these stories, how varied their structure was, and the symbolism that should be looked for. At times the guide read as an English Test.
"Le Jardin de la Sexualite", is presented in two parts, "Bouquet", and, "Thirst". It is the first story in the book, and it is mildly amusing at best, and only if an Au Pair chasing her two young girls in an attempt to get them out of an anatomically correct museum interests you. The Au pair is also pursued, and if some mind numbing attempt at exploring sexuality interests you, so will this story. "Cats In Space", will fascinate anyone who enjoyed harming small animals as a child, and, "Suit", is one of the most cliché pieces by far although the guide will attempt to convince you otherwise.
I may be the odd reader out with this book, but I would wager otherwise. Good writing does not need to be explained, just written. Write well and people will find no difficulty in discussing the work, present this material, and you best explain what you thought you were doing as some may reconsider their first opinion.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The stories are humbling and pure. At times, I whispered, " No, he is not going there.", but before I knew it, he had already taken me.Published on June 23, 2001 by Martin S. Fernandez
Ken Kalfus is an excellent writer. The range of stories in this book, combined with the grace and style with which they are written, demonstrate that. Read morePublished on March 19, 2001 by Mark Fossen
This book was wonderful - I was given it as a christmas present, and ended up finishing it, story by story, before christmas dinner. Read morePublished on February 1, 2001 by Gaston Phillips
I like Kalfus' writing style although some of these stories had predictable endings. Others did move me and held my interest.Published on September 6, 2000
I thank two previous reviews - metamentor and Ginger Mekala - for enticing me to try this enjoyable volume. Read morePublished on July 30, 2000 by M. J. Smith
Read this collection and it will change the way you view a short story. Most of the stories have a Twilight-Zone quality to them -- they're presented in a quasi-eerie manner that a... Read morePublished on June 23, 2000 by Tyler
hippie hippie hype hype. la dee da dee doe doe. what to do da dee doe doe. hipper hyper hype hype... Read morePublished on March 11, 2000 by sam i am