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Comment: This item is in good condition. All pages and covers are readable. There are no stains or tears. Dust jacket is present if applicable. May contain small amounts of writing and/or highlighting. Spine and cover may show signs of wear. May not contain supplementary items. We ship within 1 business day. Big Hearted Books shares its profits with schools, churches and non-profit groups throughout New England. Thank you for your support!
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Threats: A Novel Paperback – February 28, 2012

3.0 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Amelia Gray is a sharpshooter, precise and deadly. THREATS lures the reader with its poetic sensibilities and then subverts every expectation. Before long, there will be statues of Gray in various corners of the literary world.” ―Emma Straub, author of Other People We Married

“Reading Amelia Gray is like a pyramid of rocks being built on a cloud. That's to say, it's something fantastical, dreamlike, playful, and very dangerous. You will be amazed at what this writer can do.” ―Shane Jones, author of Light Boxes

“The first time I encountered Amelia Gray's fiction, it slugged me in the jaw. The second time too, and the third. Said jaw-slugging has ensued nearly every time I've read something of hers, except for when instead it whispered sad and surprising but undeniable truths about the difficulty of intimacy and sense in the wretched blastoscape of modern life. And then it made me a grilled cheese sandwich to prove that the world can be a kind place, and it waited until I had sated myself and wiped away the crumbs before slugging me in the jaw again.” ―Doug Dorst, author of The Surf Guru and Alive in Necropolis

About the Author

AMELIA GRAY grew up in Tucson, Arizona. Her first collection of stories, AM/PM, was published in 2009. Her second collection, Museum of the Weird, was awarded the Ronald Sukenick/American Book Review Innovative Fiction Prize. She lives in Los Angeles. THREATS is her first novel.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: FSG Originals; Original edition (February 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374533075
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374533076
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #743,538 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I see lots of 4- and 5-star reviews, so I feel compelled to post a review for readers like me, who truly appreciate great writing, but still like something resembling traditional plot structure along with beautifully crafted prose.

IF you decide to read this book, hooked, like me, by the references to a mysterious and surreal story, do yourself a favor and get into this mindset from the very start: you're reading it for the sake of reading some truly lovely and interesting writing, but DO NOT expect the author to give you anything even remotely like a plot and, for the love of Mike, don't keep reading in the stubborn belief that, eventually, surely, the author will give you a few crumbs of clarity, a little bit of explanation, SOMETHING that will deliver you from the hours of suspenseful reading.

Because you're going to be left unsatisfied.

If, on the other hand, you relish the opportunity to wallow for hour upon lost hour in confusion deepening into consternation and finally crystallizing into infuriated, unreleased and unreleasable frustration, this book is for you!

I need an aspirin. And a nap.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I like surreal books when they have some semblance of cohesion - when they’re not so obscure that you’re left feeling frustrated and unfulfilled.

There’s a lot to like about Threats. The atmosphere is creepy and nightmarish. The writing is vivid and grotesque. It’s more or less engaging in spite of its deliberately disjointed narrative.

Threats tells the story of David, a strange dentist whose wife recently died. David has become a person of interest in the investigation, but he can’t remember what happened - and he’s not even sure if his wife is even dead. Complicating things even further is a series of vaguely sinister threats he finds written on scraps of paper around his house.

I think I would have enjoyed this more as an arthouse film than as a novel. There would have been satisfaction in being able to truly visualize the world that Gray attempted to create. As a book, though, it wound up being too obscure for its own good, and I didn’t feel compensated for the time I put into reading it.
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Reading these other reviews, it seems that people were expecting a more formulaic kind of novel similar to Flynn's Gone Girl when they bought this. No insult to Flynn, but Amelia Gray does so much more with Threats. This novel is surreal, strange, and unlike anything else. It has more in common with Weird storytellers like Stephen Graham Jones, Laird Barron, and Jeremy Robert Johnson than Flynn. Her prose is uncommonly gorgeous, and while it does not have a traditional plot it more than makes up for it with originality and wit. I bought her first collection of short stories after finishing this and look forward to anything Gray will produce in the future.
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Absolute garbage. Not only is there NO plot, no development, no insights about the human mind or the world in general, but there is no poetry & no mystery either. Nothing but muddled schizophrenic rambling, with no resolution, or even inklings of clarity, ever. Author could have achieved the same nightmarish (not in an interesting sense) muddled atmosphere in 3 pages as in 300 or 3000. I feel robbed for having plodded through the entire book hoping for something, somewhere, to make one iota of sense, and was sorely disappointed. Total waste of time.
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Format: Paperback
"The human soul longs for comfort in times of grief."

Not so much mystery as fractured journey through loss and emotional disintegration, Gray's novel is a pastiche of impressions, from the day-to-day ruminations of former dentist, David, on what may or may not have happened to his wife, Franny, and David's encounters with the world outside his home. Living in a small Ohio town, David no longer practices his profession, hiding from the world in a dilapidated house filled with the detritus of other lives, the place more unlivable by the day as the environment reflects the wretched state of David's mind. The cause of Franny's demise is in question as the origin of a series of threatening notes David finds hidden in unlikely places, though only two people are potential sources for either. Aside from a detective, a regression therapist whose office is in David's wasp-infested garage and the spontaneous visits of one of Franny's coworkers, the landscape is small, a withering confusion of peripheral characters and events.

Without direction, the novel is a collection of short chapters, each indicating another phase of David's memory or ideation, the only real substance to be found in the honey-combed meanderings of a deeply unsympathetic character, the author describing in agonizing detail the filth and squalor of his environment. Aside from the occasional reality-based character, there is little to like in this story, where years of debris lurk behind a basement door, ants march in formation along the pillow of a protagonist burrowing toward sleep under his wife's coat and layers of dental records, Franny's ashes are silent testimony and any excursion outdoors is a welcome relief from the nightmare evolving on the pages. A portrait of grief, confusion and mental fragmentation is filled with minute horrors, an ugly little tale bereft of redemption. Luan Gaines/2012.
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