I really wanted to like this book! I read a lot about it on Jezebel, and came straight here to see if it was available in audiobook version. For the first few chapters, I was pretty captivated by the inner monologue of the teacher who plans to seduce her male students. Sure, I was conflicted with the ways in which the protagonist(?) justified and escalated her behavior. This subject matter (female teachers seducing male students) is conflicting at its core for many, which is why I was so intrigued by this book... Initially.Then about 1/3 of the way through listening, I suddenly felt like I needed a hot shower. I am a BIG fan of writers who tackle provocative issues like sex, drug use, etc. and I think that being graphically descriptive can be a great tool in getting inside the minds of the characters who participate in these illicit activities. A great example of this and a book that I really love would be Naked Lunch, where I felt Burroughs used gratuitousness to his great advantage in painting the picture (self portrait...) of a depraved addict. In her gratuitousness, however, Nutting's writing just comes off as... gratuitous.The performance was very much in the same vein as the text. I think someone a little less phone-sex-operator sounding than Kathleen McInerney may have been more appropriate/less distracting, although I admit her narration was on point for the first-person text. Perhaps a little too on-point? Maybe this was what made the whole thing feel a little too porny for me... It really does sound that way. I felt like I was listening to 50 Shades of Statutory Rape or something. Plus, to be honest, it felt sexy. And while this arousal in the readers could have been used in interesting ways, I feel that in this text it is just too much, and doesn't truly lead to any new understanding. Just the aforementioned craving for a shower.In the end, it's hard for me to say exactly what I disliked so much about this book. As I said, I really wanted to enjoy it, and the subject matter seemed very interesting to me. I guess that I just found it a little too salacious for my taste.... I have seen it described on Jezebel as a "beach read"... This is most certainly not a beach read!!PS I feel like I should say that I'm a pretty liberal girl in my late 20s, lest I sound like an old puritan man or whatever...
Yes! The stories are so distilled in such a smart way and reveal things often in non chronological order, so I feel like listening to them again would lead to new insights.
I love the way that Saunders writes sci fi that seems wholly believable in the context of his "real world", which at times is magical with no fantasy element at all. His writing is concise and witty, and all of the stories are fast paced and felt fully formed, even though I would have loved to have read a novel-length version of ANY of them. You definitely get a sense of Saunders' technical past in his writing, although, while everything was smart and complex, nothing ever seemed overly complex at all.
The title story was BEAUTIFUL, and I loved The SG Diaries and Escape from Spiderhead.
Escape from Spiderhead totally captivated me. It makes huge statements as well as tiny, personal ones about the ways that humans fool ourselves into believing we are autonomous at all.
I really can't imagine that anybody would hate listening to this... It's funny, tragic, smart and strange. Probably one of my favorite short story collections ever!
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