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.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Unkempt: Stories Paperback – August 8, 2005
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
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"New Yorker Courtney Eldridge creates dark chaotic worlds, then traps the reader inside this space until they have read the last word, thereby becoming her collaborator . . . Eldridge's [obsessions] are bloody, naked and screaming. It's hard not to look."
-SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
"[A] skewed, jittery, dazzlingly original collection . . . Neurosis is to Eldridge's stories what suburbia was to Cheever's: it's at once context, antagonist and metasubject. Her brilliant trick is to write in a voice so colloquially familiar that we don't automatically classify these crazy people as 'the other' but rather recognize them as our friends, our family members or even ourselves." -THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
Top Customer Reviews
Went Wrong, even this story has some laugh-out-loud material. It ends on a nicely optimistic note, too. The Former World Record Holder of the last story, whose record was as pornographic as records get, she settles down and discovers her Inner Wife and Bowler. And it's beautifully plausible, beautifully real, like all these stories.
Unkempt has seven stories and one novella, and presents an array of desperate and pathetic characters who either are trying to cope with the helplessness of their lives, or are completely and painfully unaware of it: a blocked writer who systematically erases everything she writes, a woman who thinks there are sharks in regular swimming pools, a lady who is unaware she has obsessive-compulsive disorder, a clerk at a retail store who is accosted by demented customers, an alcoholic mother who can't understand her daughter's behaviour, and ex-porn star who now is trying to keep her first "real" relationship afloat... these are some of the characters you'll meet in this darkly hilarious anthology.
The author's writing style can be quite smothering at times, as no quotation marks or new paragraphs are used to separate dialogue. It is a clever technique to infuse the same feelings of "confusion" and "desperation" to the reader as the ones the character is feeling. That said, Eldridge's writing is incredibly revealing and illuminating. In fact, the ability to combine these two aspects is Eldridge's gift. The following passage, taken from "Sharks," perfectly exemplifies the writing style used throughout the book:
"You honestly believe there are sharks at the Sol Goldman Y? I asked. It's not about believing; it's about my fear. This is my fear I'm talking about. I got that much, I said. Well, there you go, she said. You asked, I told you. No, you're right, okay.Read more ›
Without revealing any plot lines it is worth noting that the following neurotic symptomologies are portrayed beautifully in her book of stories: writer's block, fear of sharks, belief in little invisible elves in the night, fear of intimacy, hypochondria, fear of success, obsessive-compulsive behavior, alcoholism, eating disorders, paranoid behavior and promiscuity. The list is formidable, and so are the stories.
The author has an extremely acute sense of being well understood and articulated in both the beginning of the story and the end of the story. She talks about it in her first story. And in that regard, she has truly succeeded, her stories illustrate both wonderful beginnings and truly ironic and interesting endings; while some of her middles could have been 5 to 10 pages shorter and still gotten the same message across. Nonetheless, the book does stand out, particularly as a debut offering, as one which shows an author with a talented future.
Special commentary is deserved on the title story, "unkempt." Of all the stories in the book, this one truly just works right. It holds the reader's attention very strongly as she moves through this very wonderful tale; which somehow has a little something in it for everyone.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Courtney Eldridge is that unique writer who manages to combine real heart with remarkable intelligence with extremely skilled story telling. Read morePublished on November 9, 2010 by Kimberly Chisholm
As another reviewer said, this seemed more a collection of trains of thought than stories. That said, there are a few gems mixed in, ones that will definitly stick with me. Read morePublished on December 30, 2009 by Shilom
Not only have i never written a review before but i don't read short stores. I read a lot, don't get me wrong, mysteries, thrillers, law and lots of chick lit. Read morePublished on September 27, 2005 by nyliram
Left in lesser hands, stream-of-consciousness writing is often too taxing to read, with its endless stops and starts, and tangents. Read morePublished on September 11, 2005 by Stephen F. Milioti
Why aren't there more young writers, particularly young women writers, like Eldridge? I haven't read anyone in a long, long time with such an ability to find humor at exactly the... Read morePublished on August 12, 2005 by Amy L. Goldwasser
What are the criteria for a short story? When does a literate exercise achieve form and substance? And when is prose just self-indulgent rambling, a finger touching on the... Read morePublished on August 11, 2005 by Luan Gaines
I loved this brilliant short story collection. And once I got used to Ms. Eldridge's very unusual, distinct style, I loved it even more. Read morePublished on April 10, 2005 by Katrina Denza