• Drinking Coffee Elsewhere

  • By: Z. Z. Packer
  • Narrated by: Shirley Jordan
  • Length: 6 hrs and 50 mins
  • 3.9 out of 5 stars (47 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Here is a remarkable debut short-story collection by a fresh and captivating new voice in American literature.

Z. Z. Packer's first collection of short stories is rich with unexpected turns, indelible images, and penetrating insight that belies someone so young. Her stories plunge us into the worlds of people living on the edge and to the flashpoints that make or break them, that shape their worldviews forever.

In "The Stranger", a third-grade girl tries to find her place in the microcosm of summer camp in the larger world during the height of the Atlanta child murders in 1981. The girl's bathroom at camp is the setting for a clash between an all-black and an all-white Brownie troop in "Brownies". And two young women prod the boundaries of friendship and love in "Drinking Coffee Elsewhere".

A highly anticipated debut from an award-winning young writer.

©2002 Z. Z. Packer (P)2003 HighBridge Company

Critic Reviews

"The clear-voiced humanity of Packer's characters, mostly black teenage girls, resonates unforgettably through the eight stories of this accomplished debut collection." ( Publishers Weekly)
”This is the old-time religion of storytelling, although Packer’s prose supplies plenty of the edge and energy we expect from contemporary fiction.” ( The New York Times Book Review)
”ZZ Packer’s prose is vivid and often comic...Her vision sizzles and fizzes.” (John Updike)

What listeners say about Drinking Coffee Elsewhere

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Frustrating Organization

This book has EIGHT short stories across SIX chapters. The chapters are basically random and literally break apart the stories. I was reading two of these short stories for a fiction class and I had to randomly, blindly guess and check my way around the entire text until I encountered proper character names just to find the story I was looking for instead of the obvious way it should've been done where the stories are corresponding to the chapters. Absolutely no excuse for such a lazy, incompetent, and annoying distraction from what is otherwise some enjoyable content. Our Lady of Peace was my favorite (STARTS at 14:55 into Ch. 2 for some abhorrent reason).

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  • Eb
  • 11-15-20

Disappointing

6 stories with potential substance but the author did absolutely nothing with. Didn't understand the stories just abruptly ended..

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did not like at all

I did not like this book. it did not seem that any of the stories flowed for me.

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Entertaining and relatable stories

Entertaining and relatable stories. The characters feel real and alive. I'm looking forward to more of Packer's writing.

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Lousy chapter breaks

Any additional comments?

The chapter breaks in this book are awful making it very difficult to go to a specific short story when you want to. This also goes for "Fine Just the Way It Is" by Annie Proulx.

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A struggle

Each story felt somehow unfinished but I wanted them all to end earlier. A very one sided portrait of various black experiences.

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  • kieran
  • 07-19-20

Mixed bag

I chose this collection because it's very different to what I've listened to before and, as a British listener, felt it could give me some interesting insight. I found all the stories relatable and human, including the fact none of them were neatly resolved, however some of the plots were a little dull. I also felt, although maybe it's my own ignorance, some characters were over the top and came across as almost caricatures.