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Buy for $19.95
As Roderick Clark says in the foreword, “It’s all about love, isn’t it?”
In The Benefits of Breathing, Christopher Meeks’ third collection of short stories, Meeks dives again into the human condition, particularly within relationships.
In this volume, “A Dog Story” captures a crumbled marriage and the love of a dog named Scrappy. “Joni Paredes” shows the birth of a new relationship that starts at a daughter’s wedding. “Nestor by the Numbers” follows one man’s often hilarious online dating experiences after he finally accepts his wife is gone. “Jerry with a Twist” shows an actor on an audition while his pregnant girlfriend helps him through a crisis. These and seven other stories will bring you into the special world of Meeks.
As reviewer Grady Harp notes, if you’ve previously “discovered the idiosyncrasies of Meeks's writing style and content, rest assured that this new collection not only will not disappoint, but also it will provide further proof that we have a superior writer of the genre in our presence.”
“If you like Raymond Carver,” said author David Scott Milton, “you’ll love Meeks.”
What listeners say about The Benefits of Breathing
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- avid reader
A haunting, life affirming, collection of stories
This is a really beautiful book of short stories. They are each very different, but all of them bring characters of such solidity that I didn’t want to let them go – I would have read a full novel about any of them.
I say this, even though this is a book populated largely by prosperous academics and artsy people from wealthy California, which in the ordinary way would put me off a book – all that unthinking privilege, all that entitlement, how can I love these characters?
But I went on anyway: the beautiful writing kept me hooked despite my prim little European frown, and as the stories unfolded, all the peripheral unfamiliar things – the casual wealth and the American culture and the unfamiliar norms of dating and the curious tastes in coffee – all that became a simply a random backdrop. These people could have been Inuit or Arabs for all that it mattered. So they were Californians? Well they had to come from somewhere. They could have come from my village.
These are not stories about the material circumstances of their characters' lives. These are stories about their inner world, and their need for connection, for relationship, for love. It’s a bravely honest and sensitive look at how that need for connection plays out in so many different moments, as our lives change, as we age, as we grow.
The stories are beautifully crafted. At times they are very funny, at times very poignant. All the way through they are perceptive and quietly wise. There are no real saints or villains here, only flawed, tough, fragile people. There are no happily ever afters, either, but despite that, it’s a deeply life affirming book.
I listened to the book first as an audiobook and later read it on the page. On the page, one is more aware of the literary beauty of the writing. As words whispered in the ears it is different, but no less haunting. Some of the stories worked even better heard than on the page. The narration is so perfect that one is barely conscious of it - as if the narrators were the voices in one's own mind. Beautifully done, and worthy of a very special book.