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North American Lake Monsters

Stories
Narrated by: Travis Young
Length: 6 hrs and 47 mins
4 out of 5 stars (133 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In this striking and bleak, yet luminous debut collection, Nathan Ballingrud, winner of the inaugural Shirley Jackson Award, uses the trappings of the Gothic and the uncanny to investigate a distinctly American landscape: The loneliest and darkest corners of contemporary life.

Ballingrud’s stories are love stories. They’re also monster stories. Sometimes the monsters collected here are vampires or werewolves. Sometimes they wear the faces of parents, lovers, brothers, or ex-wives, and sometimes they wear the faces we see in our mirrors. The people in these stories - ex-cons, single parents, unemployed laborers, kids seduced by extremism - are stranded by life, driven to desperate acts by love and a longing for connection. Sometimes they’re ruined; sometimes redeemed. They are always recognizably, wonderfully, and terrifyingly human. Even at their most monstrous.

©2013 Nathan Ballingrud (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

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Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Superb collection of truly original stories

These are some of the freshest and most astonishing short stories I have read in my 40+ years. They defy categorization, as most contain elements of fantasy, horror, surrealism, and mystery; but all are rooted in a tradition of emotional realism. Many critics have pointed out that these stories would be just as effective with the fantastical elements removed, which is totally true and totally misses the point; because it is the very element of the fantastical and uncanny that sets these stories in a category of their own and makes reading then such a joy. These are amazing tales that will live in your mind long after you have finished them. I strongly encourage everyone to give this collection (as well as Ballingrud's excellent new collection "Wounds") a try. You will not be disappointed.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Interesting

Some of the stories were hard to follow and I was a bit lost if they were psychological or physically happening. Sometimes I fell a little out of interest. It was pretty eerie though. With that being said, the narrator practically brings every character to life with his acting, barely a dull moment while he reads, his accent is really good too!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great writing - lots of pain

I begin listen around 11:30 and finished the third story by about 2:00 a.m. The writing is great; the narration is great. (Nathan has a thing for all kinds of light, stars, luminosity, as you will see). But, man, these are characters in pain. I love the stories, but they're painful, and I don't expect to listen to three in a row again.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Not for Everyone

This book of short stories to me is something special. I really enjoy the literary style of the author, his descriptions and metaphots are stirring. A lot of people will say all the stories ended just as they got interesting, but I think it's an achievement that I want a novel for each of them, yet I'm also satisfied in the mystery of what comes next. I think he really captures humanities many responses to horror, especially masculinity since they're all mostly from a male perspective.

I rated the performance poorly, but that's yet again Audibles producers or engineers fault. The bayou drawl of the narrator fits most every story and the matter of fact delivery reminds you of getting an interesting story from a stranger in some bar. There are just a bunch of weird redone lines insterted 10dbs louder and with more bass. It's jarring and takes you out of the story. I can't imagine what they had to redo was any worse than the awful solution they came up with. Audible really needs to step up their game.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

A dark and realistic read.

very dark. the author
knows human hardship first hand. however endings to anticlimactic for me.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic

great writing and tone. these stories stick with you. not so much gore but something deeper. solid

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

disappointing

it was a hard book to get through. The stories seemed good well written and all that but every story has a poor ending. It was not at all what i expected.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Worst book by far I have listened to.

I heard about this book from Pinterest and the arrival said the stories have her nightmares for days. I was excited as I am a huge horror fan! I was severely disappointed in the stories not being scary at all. I can't even finish the book. To bad no refund. If you are looking for scary, keep looking.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

These are not good stories. The reader is okay.

I wouldn't purchase this, the stories are almost unfinished and have horrible endings, the stories are not scary, not impressed.

0 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Penny Dreadful

Would you try another book from Nathan Ballingrud and/or Travis Young?

Yes for the narrator; No for the author.

Would you ever listen to anything by Nathan Ballingrud again?

No.

Any additional comments?

I enjoyed the second story. However, the rest were just dreadful.

0 of 5 people found this review helpful