Some Trick

Thirteen Stories
Length: 6 hrs and 11 mins
3 out of 5 stars (10 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Hailed a “Best Book of the Year” by NPR, Publishers Weekly, Vulture, and the New York Public Library

Finalist for the 2019 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction

For sheer unpredictable brilliance, Gogol may come to mind, but no author alive today takes a listener as far as Helen DeWitt into the funniest, most yonder dimensions of possibility. Her jumping-off points might be statistics, romance, the art world’s piranha tank, games of chance and games of skill, the travails of publishing, or success. “Look,” a character begins to explain, laying out some gambit reasonably enough, even if facing a world of boomeranging counterfactuals, situations spinning out to their utmost logical extremes, and Rube Goldberg-like moving parts, where things prove “more complicated than they had first appeared” and “at 3 a.m. the circumstances seem to attenuate.” In various ways, each tale carries DeWitt’s signature poker-face lament regarding the near-impossibility of the life of the mind when one is made to pay to have the time for it, in a world so sadly “taken up with all sorts of paraphernalia superfluous, not to say impedimental, to ratiocination.”

©2018 Helen DeWitt (P)2018 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

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Down the Rabbit Hole

Some Trick Thirteen Stories by Helen Dewitt
Helen Dewitt is known for being a brilliant, witty writer. A few of these stories verify that and many of them do not. Some Trick is more of a collection of notes and ideas. I hope that a few of them will become more fully actualized-perhaps even be made into films. “Brutto” and “On the Town” are both great. I also liked, “My Heart Belongs to Bertie”. I am happy that I chose the Audible edition and listened to this book. The performances are brilliant, all of the dialogue is brilliant, and the writing is clever and wonderfully weird. However, I cannot recommend this book because the quality of the writing is too uneven and because many of the selections are not developed enough to be called stories. If you are willing to listen for more than 6 hours in order to receive a few flashes of brilliance, then this book is for you.

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Prose perfect

Uncommon skill and understanding of words and literature . She forges new paths in story telling . Mostly I love that my wife hated it and didn’t get it. So thank you MS. DeWitt

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A truly rare writer

Helen DeWitt is one of the most intelligent writers out there. Her work is marked by genuine cultural sophistication, something so rare as to be almost indecipherable to the common reader. The depth of her knowledge the different cultures where the stories of this book are placed is very impressive. Her tone and dialect is always spot on, and her characters talk like real people. As such DeWitt avoids the trap of making British (for example) characters speak in the most obvious dialect, so as to signal to the reader that the writer *most definitely* knows British culture.

Also, the performance of these stories in the audio version is superb. The readers are capable of accents, and clearly a lot of thought went into selecting the variety of readers for the various stories, alternating between male and female of various English dialects.

Those acquainted with DeWitt’s brilliant, monolithic novel The Last Samurai will recognize DeWitt’s deep knowledge and urbanity on display here. Some Trick is a rare gem. The stories are marvelous. It is a joy to interface with a real mind, genuinely concerned with the modes and practices of cultural production.