[BOOKS] ✪ The Dead Fish Museum ✴ Charles D'Ambrosio – Horse-zine.co.uk

The Dead Fish Museum chapter 1 The Dead Fish Museum, meaning The Dead Fish Museum, genre The Dead Fish Museum, book cover The Dead Fish Museum, flies The Dead Fish Museum, The Dead Fish Museum 26749a5609c1d In The Fall, I Went For Walks And Brought Home Bones The Best Bones Weren T On Trails Deer And Moose Don T Die Conveniently And Soon I Was Wandering So Far Into The Woods That I Needed A Map And Compass To Find My Way Home When Winter Came And Snow Blew Into The Mountains, Burying The Bones, I Continued To Spend My Days And Often My Nights In The Woods I Vaguely Understood That I Was Doing This Because I Could No Longer Think I Found Relief In Walking Up Hills When The Night Temperatures Dropped Below Zero, I Felt Visited By Necessity, A Baseline Purpose, And I Walked For Miles, My Only Objective To Remain Upright, Keep Moving, Preserve Warmth When I Was Lost, I Told Myself Stories So Charles D Ambrosio Recounted His Life In Philipsburg, Montana, The Genesis Of The Brilliant Stories Collected Here, Six Of Which Originally Appeared In The New Yorker Each Of These Eight Burnished, Terrifying, Masterfully Crafted Stories Is Set Against A Landscape That Is Both Deeply American And Unmistakably Universal A Son Confronts His Father S Madness And His Own Hunger For Connection On A Misguided Hike In The Pacific Northwest A Screenwriter Fights For His Sanity In The Bleak Corridors Of A Manhattan Psych Ward While Lusting After A Ballerina Who Sets Herself Ablaze A Thanksgiving Hunting Trip In Northern Michigan Becomes The Scene Of A Haunting Reckoning With Marital Infidelity And Desperation And In The Magnificent Title Story, Carpenters Building Sets For A Porn Movie Drift Dreamily Beneath A Surface Of Sexual Tension Toward A Racial Violence They Will Never Fully Comprehend Taking Place In Remote Cabins, Asylums, Indian Reservations, The Backloads Of Iowa And The Streets Of Seattle, This Collection Of Stories, As Muscular And Challenging As The Best Novels, Is About People Who Have Been Orphaned, Who Have Lost Connection, And Who Have Exhausted The Ability To Generate Meaning In Their Lives Yet In The Midst Of Lacerating Difficulty, The Sensibility At Work In These Fictions Boldly Insists On The Enduring Power Of Love D Ambrosio Conjures A World That Is Fearfully Inhospitable, Darkly Humorous, And Touched By Glory Here Are Characters, Tested By Every Kind Of Failure, Who Struggle To Remain Human, Whose Lives Have Been Sharpened Rather Than Numbed By Adversity, Whose Apprehension Of Truth And Beauty Has Been Deepened Rather Than Defeated By Their Troubles Many Writers Speak Of The Abyss Charles D Ambrosio Writes As If He Is Inside Of It, Gazing Upward, And The Gaze Itself Is Redemptive, A Great Yearning Ache, Poignant And Wondrous, Equal Parts Grit And Grace


10 thoughts on “The Dead Fish Museum

  1. says:

    I don t know why I didn t like these stories Technically, they are perfect little masterpieces.And yetThe stories seem to be missing a certain spark, for lack of a better word, that lifts them into the category of amazing, or at least, memorable It took me six days to read this book and when I was finished, I flipped back to the first story I could not remember a thing about it.Most of the stories drop off into nothingness no real endings, no resolutions, no lessons learned by the characters Maybe it s just that this book pales in comparison to the last short story collection I read North American Lake Monsters Stories Those stories were not as well written, but they were imaginative, entrancing, and most importantly, full of life.This one Not so much.


  2. says:

    A wonderful collection of short stories that evoke emotions as rich and different as the worlds represented from Kalona, Iowa to New York City and Seattle My favorite passage, from the story Blessing My ideal life is a quiet one I like to read, to sit still in the same chair, with the lampshade at a certain angle, alone, or with Megan nearby, and now an then, if I m lucky, I ll come across a lovely phrase or fine sentiment, look up from my book, and feel the harmony of some notion, the justice of it, and know that everything is there That s life to me, those privately discovered moments I wouldn t settle for less, yet I don t expect a whole lot , either This book is full of such private, lovely moments.


  3. says:

    Garp s way with a story was to find one he liked and read it again and again it would spoil him for reading any other story for a long while When he was at Steering he read Joseph Conrad s The Secret Sharer thirty four times He also read D H Lawrence s The Man Who Loved Islands twenty one times he felt ready to read it again, now John Irving, The World According to Garp, p 90 I ll never be a reader like T S Garp I ve read about 1300 stories in the past three years Late in 2008, I realized I owned a lot of short story collections that I hadn t read yet I blame Barnes Noble s summer and winter clearance sales, coupled with my own frugal belief that collections of a writer s work offered for my money than a single novel did crazy, I know , so I started reading em.I usually read one or two short stories per day, one collection at a time occasionally overlapping with the longer ones , all neatly recorded on a spreadsheet hey, I m a nerd , I managed to get through 25 30 in 2009 and 10, with a projected goal of 42 for this year So I read a lot of short stories Still haven t tried Conrad or Lawrence, but there are the expected greats Cheever, O Connor, Greene, Lovecraft there are wonderful surprises Louis Auchincloss, E W Hornung, Thom Jones, Chris Offutt, Breece D J Pancake, and I m going to stop now because there aren t any female short story authors on that list and I m embarrassed , and then there arethe bland ones The Dead Fish Museum is one of the bland ones Or maybe it s just me, because everyone else seems to like it Or maybe it s Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, because I tried reading D Ambrosio s stories in the middle of a Sherlock Holmes marathon, and reading about the ordinary lives of ordinary people between stories about the great Victorian detective was a really bad idea Either way, this collection didn t work for me It wasn t bad or was it , but it didn t work for me But it might work for you, because I have a copy to give away to interested readers in the Yew Ess Ay because I can t be bothered to fill out complicated forms or pay international shipping , soany takers


  4. says:

    A friend of mine raved about this collection She absolutely RAVED about it to the point where I became rather suspicious Could it be THAT good She kept telling me to read it.So of course, in my stubborn way, I decided to NOT read it right away I mean, no one tells me what to do and what to like But I finally did pick up the book, a year later And fell in love with the stories and D Ambrosio s writing These are complex, complete stories the characters so intricate, the writing both ruthless and compassionate The level of detail he provides and the eye for the right details is amazing I ll have to pick apart each of the stories later, see where he goes deep and where he hangs back, and try to learn that perfect balance between the near and far In terms of themes and such they somehow remind me of Mary Gaitskill s stories in the way they show the dark side of humanity.Awesome collection.


  5. says:

    The title story of this volume is, obviously, The Dead Fish Museum, but the D Ambrosio story that resonated most with me was Drummond Son because of a conversation that took place at the Tin House conference last July During a panel discussion, D Ambrosio and Joy Willliams got into a rather extended exchange about where you could find the best typewriter repair shop in the country Both of them still use these antediluvian devices, and things being what they are, need to get them serviced, and the opportunities for such are, of course, limited Though there are many than I d imagined The discussion brought to mind Annie Proulx s remark that she writes in longhand and writers who don t are lazy Which harks back to Eugene O Neil s dilemma when a nerve disease robbed him of the ability to write in longhand simply couldn t create any Some kind of kinesthetic synapse had been destroyed and he couldn t tap into his author brain I enjoyed the days of the manual typewriter myself Lots of aggression got funneled into that old red Royal, which stood up to many years of abuse without flinching However, I willingly gave it up for this electronic gadget that doesn t require me to insert fresh paper and start a page over or twist open the Wite Out every time I make a mistake Maybe if I d stuck with the Royal, I d have written and published something notable by now At any rate, D Ambrosio makes admirable use of his Olivetti The aforementioned Drummond Son does refer to the name of a typewriter repair shop Drummond is the proprietor, having learned the business from his father, and he does have a son But the son is mentally ill, a twenty five year old who suffers various delusions some dangerous to himself, some merely inconvenient to others and cannot live on his own The mother has left, unable to carry the burden any longer As in many of his stories, D Ambrosio scatters humor in the midst of painful situations, even one as hurtful as this, and you don t feel the characters are trapped, hopeless, despairing even while they struggle Take another example, Screenwriter, about a man who has checked himself into a mental institution He s got plenty of money from all the blockbusters he s penned , and obviously belongs there He maneuvers a pass and visits a woman who has just been released God knows why , one who burns and cuts herself He s horny, but things don t work out in that department, and he stays to console and be consoled Strange, but believably comforting in the end You might think from these two examples that mental illness is one ofD Ambrosio s things, and you d be right Even in situations where characters aren t certifiable, as in the above, they often skirt the borderline And he puts them in a wide range of geography NYC, North Woods, West Coast and situations Take the title story, about a guy who s about to commit suicide, but takes on a job to help build a porn movie studio while he s trying to work up the courage Or the couple, just out of rehab and obviously brain damaged from drugs at least she is , who travel the country taking contributions for an organization that purports to help drug addicted babies That one s about charity and near death afterlife experiences There are a couple of sterling family dramas also Up North and Blessing in particular This is first rate, inspiring writing by an established author of unsurpassed ability and accomplishments Keep pounding on that thing, Charley It works for your writing and for my reading.


  6. says:

    Two pages into the title story I was awed and ready to fall in love with this whole collection, and thenit didn t quite happen Dark, distantly mystical stories about porn carpenters and floods on the Skagit river that are cryptic as hell and set in places I ve livedwhat s not to like But I guess for all their promise these stories were admirable than affecting they gave the feeling of damn, wouldn t THAT be fun to puzzle over in a sterile academic environment rather than the feeling of I have just been hit in the heart with a horsewhip Cause, y know, it s that horsewhipped feeling we all hunger for.


  7. says:

    god, he s good i loved his essays in orphans and here, without the journalistic, semi autobiographical element, the stories come somehow even alive it s as though these characters are being written by their own subconsciouses if that s the plural it s like getting to know them from the inside of course everyone is incredibly damaged, has come back from death, watching their loved one suffer, self inflicted burns, sitting in dirty bathtub waterit s an intense, at times bleak, literary world here and yet somehow kinda sexy i love it reminds me a little of early denis johnson jesus son he writes complicated women well, too, which is hard to do esp for a man i ve always heard that d ambrosio is a writer s writer never quite knew what that meant, but now it makes sense he makes it look easy.


  8. says:

    I rather loved D Ambrosio s essay collection, Loitering, but somehow the brilliance with which he approached everyday life there doesn t translate into these stories They re well crafted, sure and that wounds up counting for nothing I was hoping he wouldn t write bland New Yorker fiction about things going juuuuuust a bit quirky in everyday situations, all of which eventually turn into the same damn thing He did.


  9. says:

    D Ambrosio is a short story master Characters and relationships are revealed gradually in their complexity, and served with a degree of tension and unpredictability that never goes over the top Excellent collection, without exception


  10. says:

    It is always chancy to pick out a book that has a title that you do not understand If it is a book of short stories, it can be especially dangerous since the title is probably only connected with one story The Dead Fish Museum was published in 2006 so my aged brain classifies that as recent Then I think, Is eight years ago recent and I think, Maybe not recent The dust jacket of this book is a black and white photograph of old fashion typewriter keys but instead of letters, the keys contain the title of the book Strange to have the image of an old fashion typewriter on a recent book He rolled two sheets of paper into the novelist s Olivetti, typing the date and a salutation to his wife, then sat with his elbows on the workbench, staring He wondered if he should drop Dear and go simply with Theresa, keeping things businesslike, a touch cold Whenever Drummond opened a machine, he saw a life in the amphitheater of seated type bars, just as a dentist, peering into a mouth for the first time, probably understood something about the person, his age and habits and vices Letters were gnawed and ground down like teeth, gunked up with the ink and the plaque of gum erasers, stained with everything from coffee to nicotine and lipstick, but none of his knowledge helped him now Drummond wanted to type a letter and update his wife, but the mechanic in him felt as though the soul of what he had to say just wasn t in the machine He looked at the greeting again and noticed that the capital T in his wife s name was faintly blurred That sometimes happened when the type bar struck the guide and slipped sideways on impact, indicating a slight misalignment These snippets are from Drummond Son, not even the title story About a man who owns a typewriter store and works with his twenty five year old mentally disabled son In this one, a young man comes to pick up his renovated, ancient typewriter When the kid came over, he could hardly believe it was the same machine He typed the words everyone typed now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their Is it country or party he asked I see it both ways, Drummond said.He wrote up a sales slip while the kid tapped the keys a couple of times and looked down doubtfully at the machine There was something off in its rightness and precision, an old and familiar antagonism gone, a testiness his fingers wanted to feel He missed the adversity of typing across a platen pitted like a minefield, the resistance of the querulous keys that would bunch and clog Drummond had seen this before The kid wasn t ready to say it yet, but half of him wanted the jalopy touch of his broken Olivetti back It s different, he said.I can tell that this is a marvelous book Can t wait for the title story Here is your spoiler for this review view spoiler It turns out that dead fish museum is what the wife of a refugee from Central America calls a refrigerator because she does not know the English word hide spoiler


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