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review 2020-02-27 20:39
Can You Feel this?
Can You Feel This? - Julie Orringer

I don't have much to say, I didn't like this short story. We focus on a woman about to have a c-section because of a condition she has. We have her thinking back on her mother and her childhood while obsessing over the imminent birth. I don't know, the whole thing just didn't work for me. I also think a few times the author wrote this as if some bad fate was about to befall all and then the ending leaves things on a hopeful note. Or maybe not hopeful, just not precarious anymore.

 

"Can You Feel This?" follows a woman (she stays unnamed I think through this whole thing) who suffers from placenta previa. I actually know about this a little bit cause my work wife had this and was on bed rest during the last two months of her pregnancy. So maybe I am just comparing how she handled things and this unnamed character and finding the fictional character lacking.

 

I also don't know if the book had been written in the first person if I would have felt more connected to the story. I wonder if Orringer wrote this in second person to put a distance between the main character and reader since the main character feels distant from her husband and child. And I think I just got fed up with it since the whole story is mostly going because of what happened to her mother when she was young this is why she is the way she is now. Which is only part of the story/things. You can choose to be different. And I think the ending was trying to telegraph that (badly). 

 

I was initially going to read all of the short stories but decided not to. This one didn't work for me and I didn't feel like forcing myself to continue to read the rest of the collection. 

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review 2019-08-13 22:43
Original collection of short stories without the political correctness that invades everything today.
How to Breathe Underwater - Julie Orringer

How to Breathe Underwater, Julie Orringer This, the first book written by Orringer, is an excellent collection of original short stories, concentrating mostly on the young and the difficulties they have coming of age as teens or young adults. The problems they face are unique and the way that they approach them determines an outcome that will probably haunt them in some way throughout the rest of their lives. The author seems to have entered the heads of her characters and their stories seem more real than fiction. Every story is rewarding, in some way. It is so refreshing today, to read a story that might contain sex, but is not about sex, that might have a foul word or two, but only if the words are there for a purpose rather than shock value. It is heartening to read about subjects that are not really political or biased or trapped in the PC culture of our modern times. Because it was written just over a decade and a half ago, there is no gender bias or confusion, little racism, and no hate for law enforcement. There is no call for resistance to the powers that be. There is racism, and there is cruelty, but it is managed well and with morality. It is not offensive. Best of all, politics does not invade every story with the author’s personal view. Each piece that the author has written imparts a value lesson which is largely absent in today’s literature and in today’s daily life with the proliferation of social media and the need for so many to have fifteen minutes of fame and to learn all in a sound bite. This book was written in a more peaceful, or perhaps a more stable time, yet the subject matter covered would not be described as peaceful. Most of the stories are dark, and some are depressing, but they all end with a bit of a hopeful outlook since they move on into a future that is somewhat successful. Problems are resolved either positively or negatively, but they are resolved in a palatable way. The readers are left with the task of thoughtfully ending each story for themselves. The unwed mother raises her child, the conflicted teen figures out the right thing to do to help a friend, courage overcomes weakness, the missing child turns up, devastating loss is coped with in ways that carry the characters forward, few actually die during the story (that largely occurs before or in our imaginations later on), but the idea of death is front and center in some stories, religious confusion and intolerance are worked through discretely, without causing resentment, really poor decisions are recognized and acted upon correctly before they go completely awry. The intuitive approach of the author is detailed and authentic. She knows her characters and their problems intimately. Her insight makes them feel like they are real and not made up out of whole cloth. Even the most bizarre or reckless of the stories has plausibility. They do not seem to be fiction, but rather more like mini memoirs. As the author touches children’s innate cruelty, people’s innate bigotry, teens innate jealousy, loss, illness, jealousy, anger, divorce, cruelty, kindness, and so much more in just a handful of stories, she analyzes the stuff of real life, the pain, the pleasure, the loss, the gain, the heartache, the frustration and the helplessness we all sometimes feel. Yet, in each story, there is a resolution that prevents catastrophe. In each story, no one is painted into a corner without an escape route, and most often, the escape route is chosen well. This book is well worth the read. Put it in on the nightstand and read one or two a night!

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review 2016-07-04 15:58
How to breath underwater
How to Breathe Underwater - Julie Orringer

The stories are dark, what it is not that bad, if it weren't because of the lack of hope in them. The plots average is a 2 stars, but I'm up grading it to 2.5 since the writing is beautiful.

Stories:

Pilgrims *
When she is Old and I am Famous **
The Isabel Fish ****
Note to Sixth-Grade Self *
The Smoothest Way is Full of Stones ***
Care **
Stars of Motown Shining Bright ****
What We Save **
Stations of the Cross *

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review 2014-11-07 08:45
Niewidzialny most
Niewidzialny most - Julie Orringer

Początek powieści całkiem przeciętny. Ot, zwykła historia chłopaka, który wyemigrował do Paryża na stypendium, żeby studiować architekturę. Mimo biedy i początkowych trudności, jego niezwykłe zdolności i talent zostają wkrótce dostrzeżone i docenione. Poznaje piękną kobietę, wybucha uczucie, najeżone kłopotami i problemami. Zwykła historia? Tak. Dodać jednak trzeba, że akcja rozpoczyna się w Budapeszcie w 1937 roku, dwa lata przed wojną, potem przenosi się do Paryża a młodym mężczyzną jest węgierski Żyd.

 

Mimo niezbyt oryginalnego początku, wraz z rozpoczęciem wojny fabuła zaczyna coraz bardziej przyciągać, z każdym rozdziałem jest coraz ciekawsza i lepsza i naprawdę trudno się oderwać od książki. Myślę, że ten prawie sielankowy obraz Paryża i miłości Andrasa i Klary, mimo widma wojny unoszącego się nad Europą i pojawiających się z rzadka przerażających obrazków prześladowań Żydów, stanowi doskonały kontrast dla późniejszych wydarzeń. Czytałam dużo książek wojennych, emocje i odczucia przy ich czytaniu na ogół są podobne, jednak to była pierwsza traktująca o skomplikowanej sytuacji Węgier w czasie wojny, pierwsza o węgierskich Żydach. I za to tę książkę najbardziej cenię - mnóstwo informacji o wydarzeniach tych czasów, będących tłem dla przeżyć bohaterów.

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review 2013-04-16 11:11
The Invisible Bridge
The Invisible Bridge - Julie Orringer http://www.bostonbibliophile.com/2010/10/review-invisible-bridge-by-julie.html
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