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Elephant: Short Stories and Flash Fiction

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In this debut collection of stories, Jim Breslin explores the soul of suburbia; the disenfranchised and the desperate. The characters in these twenty-one stories struggle to mend relationships and find redemption. A man is tempted by memories when his drunk ex-wife pays a surprise visit. A couple wrestles with their fruitless attempts to have children. An eccentric homeown In this debut collection of stories, Jim Breslin explores the soul of suburbia; the disenfranchised and the desperate. The characters in these twenty-one stories struggle to mend relationships and find redemption. A man is tempted by memories when his drunk ex-wife pays a surprise visit. A couple wrestles with their fruitless attempts to have children. An eccentric homeowner issues a series of comical concerns to his lawn care company. A husband tests the reciprocity of his wife's love only to find himself in the throes of a dangerous free fall. Sometimes funny, often sad, the unsettling stories in Elephant portray the suburban landscape of loneliness and hope.


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In this debut collection of stories, Jim Breslin explores the soul of suburbia; the disenfranchised and the desperate. The characters in these twenty-one stories struggle to mend relationships and find redemption. A man is tempted by memories when his drunk ex-wife pays a surprise visit. A couple wrestles with their fruitless attempts to have children. An eccentric homeown In this debut collection of stories, Jim Breslin explores the soul of suburbia; the disenfranchised and the desperate. The characters in these twenty-one stories struggle to mend relationships and find redemption. A man is tempted by memories when his drunk ex-wife pays a surprise visit. A couple wrestles with their fruitless attempts to have children. An eccentric homeowner issues a series of comical concerns to his lawn care company. A husband tests the reciprocity of his wife's love only to find himself in the throes of a dangerous free fall. Sometimes funny, often sad, the unsettling stories in Elephant portray the suburban landscape of loneliness and hope.

43 review for Elephant: Short Stories and Flash Fiction

  1. 4 out of 5

    Misty Baker

    Today’s review is brought to you by the letter “S” as in “Short Story!” And…in keeping with the theme of “Short & Sweet” let’s just get right down to business. (Ok, maybe it’s less “theme” related and more “there’s a pizza waiting for me in the other room” related.) Anyways… “Elephant” by Jim Breslin In this debut collection of stories, Jim Breslin explores the soul of suburbia; the disenfranchised and the desperate. The characters in these twenty-one stories struggle to mend relationships and fi Today’s review is brought to you by the letter “S” as in “Short Story!” And…in keeping with the theme of “Short & Sweet” let’s just get right down to business. (Ok, maybe it’s less “theme” related and more “there’s a pizza waiting for me in the other room” related.) Anyways… “Elephant” by Jim Breslin In this debut collection of stories, Jim Breslin explores the soul of suburbia; the disenfranchised and the desperate. The characters in these twenty-one stories struggle to mend relationships and find redemption. Sometimes funny, often sad, the unsettling stories in Elephant portray the suburban landscape of loneliness and hope. A man is tempted by memories of his past life after his drunk ex-wife pays a surprise visit. A couple wrestles with their fruitless attempts to have children. An eccentric homeowner issues a series of comical concerns to his lawn care company. A young woman discovers her boyfriend has placed a Craigslist ad seeking a three-way. A husband tests the reciprocity of his wife’s love only to find himself in the throes of a dangerous free fall. Short stories, (unlike novels) take a very distinct “brand” (I guess you can say) of author to write them. (The same (if you are curious) can be said for the people who read (and enjoy) them.) Why? Because short stores are written as if strapped to a time bomb. While “novels” are laced with hundreds (if not thousands) of pages filled with adjectives, short stories are chopped, condensed, and (more often than not) offered up on a very blunt serving platter. Does this mean that cohesion, (and enlightenment) cannot be achieved with so few words? Of course not, if just takes a master of manipulation to do so successfully. Who here has watched the film “The Adjustment Bureau?” How about “Keith?” Did you know that both of these movies were based on short stories? No? (Yay me for teaching you something today.) These are just 2 examples of short story brilliance, AND…evidence to the fact that it does not take a million words to tell a good story. It simply takes focus. This is the problem I had with Mr. Breslin’s stories. No focus. While some of them were good (for example: Elephant, and We’re Not Dog People) others felt like interrupted thoughts. Not all authors are the same (I’m no where near stupid enough to believe this) and each has their own unique writing style, but I think it is very important for authors not to get too wrapped up in their own prosaic thoughts when trying to get a point across. (Hmmm, that sounded a bit harsh. Let me try again.) Though the writing was good, (even impressive in parts) and yes…the stories did indeed make you think, (which I believe to be Breslin’s main initiative in writing them to begin with) overall they were a tad TOO abstract. Which (I’m sorry to say) may actually have an adverse reaction and PUSH “causal readers” away instead of drawing them IN. If you are going to tell a story, even a short one, you must make sure it is still a story. Now, before you get your La Perla panties in a wad, let me make one thing very clear. I am NOT opposed to short stories. I am not opposed to literature that evokes reflection, or appreciation of self-worth. What I’m not keen on is the illusion of plots. So, here is where I stand… I have read better, I have read worse, but if it were up to me… I would fill my lunch hour with something more filling and less fluffy. Happy Reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: Sometimes good things come in small packages and sometimes it’s just a pair of socks from your Aunt Hilda.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Clover

    The short stories in this collection are succinct and subtly moralistic. The characters are failed lovers, battered women, children with abusive or inadequate parents, honest people who are disappointed by dishonest people. Some of the strongest stories are about the consequences of not giving yourself completely to your relationship. In “Coffee”, a husband comes to understand that love requires work when his wife moves out. In ‘The Pullback”, Jack - misinterpreting his wife’s depression - feels The short stories in this collection are succinct and subtly moralistic. The characters are failed lovers, battered women, children with abusive or inadequate parents, honest people who are disappointed by dishonest people. Some of the strongest stories are about the consequences of not giving yourself completely to your relationship. In “Coffee”, a husband comes to understand that love requires work when his wife moves out. In ‘The Pullback”, Jack - misinterpreting his wife’s depression - feels rejected because she never initiates sex, and decides to distance himself from her until she makes the first move. My favorite stories both have a religious bent. “Dear Lawn Care Co.” is a powerful allegory about being ready for the Second Coming. It’s in the form of letters exchanged by Walter and the company that fertilizes his lawn, regarding a rep that interrupted his dinner. The Lawn Care Company represents God, the rep is Jesus and Walter is the Biblical “man without a wedding garment” or one of the five foolish virgins. This is a prime example of Breslin’s ability to do a lot with very few words. In “We Are Not Dog People”, The Johnsons let their dog run free, oblivious to the distress this causes their neighbor Evan. The story is about how people need to believe that there is justice in the universe, that there is a benevolent God who sees their suffering. Maybe it’s because I’ve read a lot of fantastic and supernatural fiction lately that the ordinary lives of the characters in this book seem depressingly bleak by contrast. I’d recommend this book to anyone who isn’t already bummed. This book was a Goodreads giveaway.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Michael Thompson

    I received this book from a goodreads giveaway some time ago and just now got around to reading it. I don't know what held me back, though, because this book was amazing. I will admit some of the stories were a little hit or miss for me, but the majority are really great. I find there's a shortage of good "short fiction" and whenever I find a writer who is proficient at it, they automatically get added to my watch list. I will definitely be recommending this book to friends and fellow readers. I received this book from a goodreads giveaway some time ago and just now got around to reading it. I don't know what held me back, though, because this book was amazing. I will admit some of the stories were a little hit or miss for me, but the majority are really great. I find there's a shortage of good "short fiction" and whenever I find a writer who is proficient at it, they automatically get added to my watch list. I will definitely be recommending this book to friends and fellow readers.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jan Mulligan

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ginna

  6. 4 out of 5

    Susan

  7. 4 out of 5

    James Everington

  8. 5 out of 5

    Robb Cadigan

  9. 5 out of 5

    L

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Valentine

  11. 5 out of 5

    John Lauber

  12. 4 out of 5

    Oroacdc Yea Ju

  13. 5 out of 5

    Laura Tamakoshi

  14. 4 out of 5

    Janeice

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kristenry

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jim Breslin

  17. 5 out of 5

    Joan Hill

  18. 4 out of 5

    Dave Drager

  19. 4 out of 5

    McGlinch

  20. 4 out of 5

    James Everington

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jill Salem

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Pedersen

  23. 5 out of 5

    Don

  24. 5 out of 5

    Valentina

  25. 4 out of 5

    Troy

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rosemary

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mike Rogers

  28. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

  29. 5 out of 5

    Brandy Rivers

  30. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

  31. 4 out of 5

    Joanne

  32. 5 out of 5

    Robin

  33. 4 out of 5

    Deth Graham

  34. 5 out of 5

    Amy

  35. 4 out of 5

    Brenda Knight

  36. 5 out of 5

    Julie Henry

  37. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

  38. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Asaro

  39. 4 out of 5

    Sammy Keyes

  40. 4 out of 5

    Tricia

  41. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  42. 4 out of 5

    Jason Jones

  43. 5 out of 5

    Carol K.

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