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Emerald City and Other Stories

Paperback - 19 January 2012
Rp 180,000
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Customer Reviews

1 customer reviews Between 1−2 stars rating, 02 October 2013
Great Writing Style, But The Stories? Not So Much
By: Sandra Cattelya

Somehow, I never too fond of short story. I don’t have a valid reason why is that, and it bothered me a little (I’m annoyingly a reasonable person). And when I stumbled on this book at Periplus, I thought I’d give it a try. One, it’s on the bargain section, means I got this book much cheaper than it should.  Two, I like the cover, it’s really pretty. Three, I didn’t buy any romance book lately and I THOUGHT it is a lovey dovey romance book just like what I was looking for. Come on, from a cover like that you’ll judge like I did. But, I learn not to judge a book by its cover... See More

anymore. Such an old saying but I need to keep reminding myself that. Four, I saw this book gets high rating and great reviews in Goodreads. But from my rating, you know I kind of disagree with them. Five, its author, Jennifer Egan, is a Pulitzer Prize winner for her novel A Visit from the Goon Squad. I haven’t read that (now I don’t intend to) but she seems legit, people in Goddreads (again) repeatedly praised her for her works. So, why not, right? I have FIVE excellent reasons to buy it, I must not regret it and beat myself too much (sigh).

So, this book is a compilation of eleven short stories by Jennifer Egan which had been published before in numerous publications in the period of 1989 until 1996. Generally, these eleven stories deal with moral issue of the character, self-discovery, regret, loneliness, longing. Shortly, it’s all about the problems we might suffer or witness in real life, though it’s still work of fiction. But, even with the reality problems like that, I just couldn’t relate with almost of the characters whom I think... how to put it... odd? I saw them odd based on their reaction and how they deal with their problems.

The eleven stories in this book are Why China?, Sacred Heart, Emerald City, The Stylist, One Piece, The Watch Trick, Passing the Hat, Puerto Vallarta, Spanish Winter, Letter to Josephine, and Sisters of the Moon.

I don’t say Egan’s writing skill is poor or anything below extraordinary (I have not enough credibility to say that kind of thing). Because, like I said in the first paragraph, she’s amazing. Her stories are full of smart and neat diction. This is actually my reason I could read this book until the last page although I couldn’t bear with the actual stories. I read this book in its original language and by that, I still could entertained by the author’s character and style of writing. If this book gets translated into Indonesian, I probably won’t have any reason left to keep reading after the first short story.   In this book, Egan skillfully inserts satir and clever humor elements. But, what blew me the most was how Egan visualized the stories settings PERFECTLY. Reading her stories, it instantly formed clear pictures in my head and I didn’t feel any over elaboration anywhere. Her description of place is stunning, outstanding, and beyond what eyes usually see, she also describes place’s culture with great details. Really, she writes charmingly, just take a look at some quotes I got below from Emerald City and Other Stories. Personally, and frankly, I couldn’t find place in my heart for the short stories in this book. I don’t know why my reaction is kind of off compared to Goodreads people’s. Did my brain mess with me while I read this book? Perhaps. All in all, I’m not trying to persuade you guys to not read this book, quite opposite actually, I want you to give it a try, go read this book. After you finished, please do share your thought with me.

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