Bream Gives Me Hiccups is the whip-smart fiction debut of Academy Award-nominated actor Jesse Eisenberg. Known for his iconic film roles but also for his regular pieces in the New Yorker and his two critically acclaimed plays, Eisenberg is an emerging literary voice.
Taking its title from a group of stories that begin the book, Bream Gives Me Hiccups moves from contemporary LA to the dorm rooms of an American college to ancient Pompeii, throwing the reader into a universe of social misfits, reimagined scenes from history, and ridiculous overreactions. In one piece, a tense email exchange between a young man and his girlfriend is taken over by his sister, who is obsessed with the Bosnian genocide ("The situation reminds me of a little historical blip called the Karadordevo agreement"); in another, a college freshman forced to live with a roommate is stunned when one of her ramen packets goes missing ("She didn't have one of my ramens. She had a chicken ramen"); in another piece Alexander Graham Bell has teething problems with his invention ("I've been calling Mabel all day, she doesn't pick up! Yes, of course I dialed the right number - two!").
United by Eisenberg's gift for humor and character, the witty pieces collected in Bream Gives Me Hiccups explore the various insanities of the modern world and mark the arrival of a fantastically funny, self-ironic, and original voice.
©2015 Jesse Eisenberg. Recorded by arrangement with Grove Atlantic, Inc. (P)2015 Audible, Inc.
"Eisenberg is truly a talented writer.... Hilarious and poignant." (Entertainment Weekly)
We read to know, we are not alone ~ C.S. Lewis
AudioBook Review: Stars: Overall: 4 Narration: 3 Story: 4
When I start a collection, I expect that there is some common thread tying the stories together, and while not instantly apparent in Bream Gives Me Hiccups, Eisenberg has managed to take moments of life that present an ‘instant issue’ for the character, whether it be an explanation, a relationship or even a worry.
Multiple moments experiment with different narrative styles: conversations, letters, emails, texts and even a story using reviews all present themselves with a distinct style, solidly appropriate to the ‘style’ of narration.
While I found the stories had flow, it was a collection that required attention: with narrator changes in the writing and presentation, each moment required an adjustment in the listen, and some stories required a second or third listen to absorb the impact.
Narration was from a cast of characters: Jesse Eisenberg, Hallie Eisenberg, Annapurna Sriram, Erin Darke, and Colin Nissan, and while each narrator felt appropriate for their story, the frequent changes in presenter, for me, is a bit unsettled, I prefer not to readjust expectations or concentration with each new moment.
Overall, I liked this curious little collection: the mix of narrative style and form was intriguing and unique, and while I do have favorites (My Roommate Stole my Ramen, Restaurant Reviews from a Privileged Nine Year Old, Marv Albert is my Therapist, My Mother Explains the Ballet to Me) each story brought some humor and humanity into rather awkward moments of life, those moments that bring forward emotions that are puzzling, funny or downright weird.
I received an AudioBook copy of the title from Audible Customer Relations for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
shows signs of the authors depth and ability. I think if Eissenberg took the time to care, he would wrote the next great American novel, however it's his lack of caring which creates the word play and pseudo playful stories like in this book. overall a good read. little gained but nothing lost at all.
... With some genuinely insightful, laugh-out-loud comedy. But the one-note neurotic schtick gets old, and the longer pieces in particular become grating. Eisenberg is too smart to keep to this one type of character.
Yeah, I loved this book. It's so strange which I equate to perfection. And if I add that I related so much to the narratives, well, don't hold it against me. I just wish we knew about the hiccups.
It was silly and ridiculous and sometimes a little sad. It made me smile and it made me laugh. It made me happy. That's really all I want when I read/listen to a book.
I'm always a little wary of books written by actors but this one does not disappoint. This collection of stories is smart, insightful, and witty. Jesse Eisenberg manages to beautifully articulate the awkward details of being a human in a confusing world. As an added bonus, Jesse (along with others) narrates and brings to life a colorful cast of characters. This book is a wonderful treat!
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