web site hit counter The Virginity of Famous Men - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

The Virginity of Famous Men

Availability: Ready to download

This intimate, psychologically astute story collection from the winner of the Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction asks the question, what compels two people to fall in love? The Virginity of Famous Men, award-winning story writer Christine Sneed’s deeply perceptive collection on the human condition, features protagonists attempting to make peace with the paths they have tak This intimate, psychologically astute story collection from the winner of the Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction asks the question, what compels two people to fall in love? The Virginity of Famous Men, award-winning story writer Christine Sneed’s deeply perceptive collection on the human condition, features protagonists attempting to make peace with the paths they have taken thus far. In “The Prettiest Girls,” a location scout for a Hollywood film studio falls in love with a young Mexican woman who is more in love with the idea of stardom than with this older American man who takes her with him back to California. “Clear Conscience” focuses on the themes of family loyalty, divorce, motherhood, and whether “doing the right thing” is, in fact, always the right thing to do. In “Beach Vacation,” a mother realizes that her popular and coddled teenaged son has become someone she has difficulty relating to, let alone loving with the same maternal fervor that once was second nature to her. The title story, “The Virginity of Famous Men,” explores family and fortune. Long intrigued by love and loneliness, Sneed leads readers through emotional landscapes both familiar and uncharted. These probing stories are explorations of the compassionate and passionate impulses that are inherent in—and often the source of—both abiding joy and serious distress in every human life.


Compare

This intimate, psychologically astute story collection from the winner of the Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction asks the question, what compels two people to fall in love? The Virginity of Famous Men, award-winning story writer Christine Sneed’s deeply perceptive collection on the human condition, features protagonists attempting to make peace with the paths they have tak This intimate, psychologically astute story collection from the winner of the Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction asks the question, what compels two people to fall in love? The Virginity of Famous Men, award-winning story writer Christine Sneed’s deeply perceptive collection on the human condition, features protagonists attempting to make peace with the paths they have taken thus far. In “The Prettiest Girls,” a location scout for a Hollywood film studio falls in love with a young Mexican woman who is more in love with the idea of stardom than with this older American man who takes her with him back to California. “Clear Conscience” focuses on the themes of family loyalty, divorce, motherhood, and whether “doing the right thing” is, in fact, always the right thing to do. In “Beach Vacation,” a mother realizes that her popular and coddled teenaged son has become someone she has difficulty relating to, let alone loving with the same maternal fervor that once was second nature to her. The title story, “The Virginity of Famous Men,” explores family and fortune. Long intrigued by love and loneliness, Sneed leads readers through emotional landscapes both familiar and uncharted. These probing stories are explorations of the compassionate and passionate impulses that are inherent in—and often the source of—both abiding joy and serious distress in every human life.

30 review for The Virginity of Famous Men

  1. 5 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    From the start.... The book cover is alluring. The title captivating. I like short stories. And I like *THESE* short stories -- A LOT!!!!! I've fallen in love with Christine Sneed....( a new author to me)....in the same way I did - and still 'do' love the following 'authors' of Short Stories: Tom Bash, David James Poissant, Etgar Keret, Robin Black, Peter Tieryas Liu, Susan Perabo, Lori Oslund, Lauren Acampora.....etc. I will GLADLY read anything CHRISTINE SNEED writes!!! These stories are some of From the start.... The book cover is alluring. The title captivating. I like short stories. And I like *THESE* short stories -- A LOT!!!!! I've fallen in love with Christine Sneed....( a new author to me)....in the same way I did - and still 'do' love the following 'authors' of Short Stories: Tom Bash, David James Poissant, Etgar Keret, Robin Black, Peter Tieryas Liu, Susan Perabo, Lori Oslund, Lauren Acampora.....etc. I will GLADLY read anything CHRISTINE SNEED writes!!! These stories are some of the best - complete collection- compiled together - that I've read. Christine Sneed is a tremendously talented writer. Where has she - or I been? If "Beach Vacation" ......( the opening story)....doesn't get your emotions invested from the 'get go', then something is wrong with you --(knucklehead)... :) I don't normally believe in hitting children... but a bratty overindulged teenager? I wanted to slap the kid myself! In "The First Wife".... ......We know from the start the marriage splits open. We are given an inside look at what it's like being an ordinary wife married to a famous LA actor. His rise was fast and without difficulty. He embodies the "glittering American Dream". Her husband was part of an exclusive club, "the 01 percent of the world's population with instantly recognizable faces". Her husband, Anthony, left her for a popular actress. Unflattering pictures of the first wife begin to appear in papers. Things continue to get ugly ...."you have your own fucking money, Emma". ....SOME of the above story you might think you have read before in magazines... but there is more... and may surprise you. I read the second half of this story twice. As with the first story...."Beach Vacation"... I 'was/am' still thinking about these stories long after they ended. We have more.... 10 more stories in this collection: "The Prettiest Girls" "The Functionary" "Five Rooms" "Roger Weber Would Like To Stay" "Whatshisname" "The Couplehood Jubilee" "Old Sister" "Clear Conscience" "The New, All-True CV "The Virginity of Famous Men" ALL THESE STORIES are GROOVY-GREAT in my book....I LOVED THEM!!!!!!!! I read....I paused.... I re-read....I imagined ....I laughed....I talked back to characters... ..... For fun... Here are a couple of quotes that won't spoil any story... ( just fun samples) ....."Elsa wasn't a prostitute but she wasn't a virgin either. She didn't even pretend to be. I did not want to be her first anyway. It was always better to be with a woman who knew what to expect when she was with a naked man". ......"I will run and run and it will clear my mind of self doubt and angry grudges and petty fears, and I will become a better judge of character and also find the guts to tell the crank callers just where they can stick it when they ask if I have ever tried soaping my 'boobs and beaver' with Sunshine dish liquid." Christine Sneed writes about LIFE. Her voice is refreshing. With each story a quiet contemplation follows. We think about the issues at hand.... hurts, disappointment, resentment, difficulties, turning points, and learn lessons. Many of the characters are facing messy situations, but I feel many of them are genuine heroes and heroines -- they are real -- my companions --sharing the same life as me. This book is a treasure - enjoyable - and filled with wisdom and heart. Thank You Bloomsbury USA, Netgalley, and Christine Sneed ( I'm a new fan!)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Larry H

    Like you wouldn't be intrigued by a book with this title? While at times, fiction can take us to worlds, places, times, and/or cultures we can only imagine, at other times, fiction can be equally as effective chronicling the ordinary, everyday activities and foibles we confront in our lives and relationships. Perhaps not all of the situations described in the stories in Christine Sneed's new collection, The Virginity of Famous Men , happen to people every day, but I'd imagine many happen rathe Like you wouldn't be intrigued by a book with this title? While at times, fiction can take us to worlds, places, times, and/or cultures we can only imagine, at other times, fiction can be equally as effective chronicling the ordinary, everyday activities and foibles we confront in our lives and relationships. Perhaps not all of the situations described in the stories in Christine Sneed's new collection, The Virginity of Famous Men , happen to people every day, but I'd imagine many happen rather frequently. Sneed's stories are about relationships of all kinds—marital, romantic, parental, sibling, colllegial, even other-worldly. The characters are often flawed in some way, or struggling with some type of crisis or challenge—some serious, some humorous, some ridiculous. But while nothing earth-shattering happens in these stories, they're all tremendously compelling, and nearly all pass the ultimate test of a good story for me—I'd be happy to see many of them converted into novels. Among my favorites in the collection were: "The Couplehood Jubilee," in which one half of a long-dating, unmarried couple decides it's time she be somewhat compensated for the many weddings and bridal showers she has participated in; "Older Sister," about a vulnerable college student confronting something she thinks happened to her, as well as the sudden discovery that she has an older half-sister; "Words That Once Shocked Us," which tells of a middle-aged divorced woman who wants to get involved when her younger coworker is contemplating infidelity; "Clear Conscience," about the tug-of-war between sexual attraction and family loyalty; the title story, which deals with an unsettled rivalry between a man and his movie star father; and my favorite story, "Five Rooms," about a teenage girl who spends time with an older blind man, and the favor she does him. I was really impressed with the way Sneed was able to lay out a story in a short amount of time, creating complex and memorable characters, and fascinating situations. She has a real ear for dialogue, both interpersonal and internal, and you could actually imagine people saying such things to one another. While not all of the stories worked perfectly, I found this to be a really strong collection overall, and it has definitely motivated me to read some of her earlier work. NetGalley and Bloomsbury USA provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available! See all of my reviews at http://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blo....

  3. 4 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    3.5 Choices, infidelity, a ghost, a disrespectful son are just some of the topics observed in this collection. First Wife reminded me loosely of the Pitt, Aniston and Jolie pairings. Can't say I had a favorite nor were there any that I disliked. They were well written but the stories never really touched me, never penetrated beneath the surface. So good, a worthy collection but this year I have read better and maybe that is my problem, too many comparisons. ARC from Netgalley.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

    Lots of interesting concepts in this short story collection yet it lacked the emotional depth I desired. So much of this content captures my attention, ranging from the intriguing title The Virginity of Famous Men to the stories about a couple that holds a celebration of their coupledom and not their marriage, a woman who submits a tell-all CV with lots of her naked life story, a man who almost has an affair with his brother’s wife, and more. I appreciated the theme of how married people and “ad Lots of interesting concepts in this short story collection yet it lacked the emotional depth I desired. So much of this content captures my attention, ranging from the intriguing title The Virginity of Famous Men to the stories about a couple that holds a celebration of their coupledom and not their marriage, a woman who submits a tell-all CV with lots of her naked life story, a man who almost has an affair with his brother’s wife, and more. I appreciated the theme of how married people and “adults” can experience loneliness, misunderstanding, and dissatisfaction, and Christine Sneed writes these tales of woe in a way that avoids melodrama while still making one feel sad and sorry for her characters. Yet, I struggled to connect with any of these characters on a deeper level or to feel any true emotional investment. Perhaps the almost removed writing style or the lack of broader connection to themes of social justice (e.g., effects of sexism, if even subtle, given the many female characters here) made it difficult for me to care more. For those searching for short story collections, I think my all time favorite remains You Are Not a Stranger Here by Adam Haslett, as well as If You See Me, Don’t Say Hi by Neel Patel and Home Remedies by Xuan Juliana Wang. Let me know if you have any recommendations!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    I wrote these stories over a period of about 7 years, and they range from comic to serious in theme and tone. In "The Functionary," the male point-of-view character works for a senator who is involved in whitewashing the murders of dozens of women in a neighboring country. "The New, All-True CV" is written in the form of an annotated resume, with possibly a little too much truth-telling about the main character's employment history and personal life. "Five Rooms" focuses on a teenaged girl who h I wrote these stories over a period of about 7 years, and they range from comic to serious in theme and tone. In "The Functionary," the male point-of-view character works for a senator who is involved in whitewashing the murders of dozens of women in a neighboring country. "The New, All-True CV" is written in the form of an annotated resume, with possibly a little too much truth-telling about the main character's employment history and personal life. "Five Rooms" focuses on a teenaged girl who helps out a blind man each week with household chores and unwillingly becomes involved in the aftermath of his break-up with a woman who lives several hours away. The title story picks up a year and a half after where my second book, Little Known Facts, left off, with Will and his famous father Renn Ivins meeting up in Paris.

  6. 5 out of 5

    David Abrams

    Christine Sneed's first short story collection was called Portraits of a Few of the People I've Made Cry. After reading the stories in her new book you can add me to that gallery of the tear-streaked. Not that The Virginity of Famous Men is necessarily sad--because it also blooms with joy in places--but it contains some of the emotionally-rich writing I've read in quite some time. Whether it's a mother walking a taut tightrope with her brooding teenage son, a woman trying to break up with her gh Christine Sneed's first short story collection was called Portraits of a Few of the People I've Made Cry. After reading the stories in her new book you can add me to that gallery of the tear-streaked. Not that The Virginity of Famous Men is necessarily sad--because it also blooms with joy in places--but it contains some of the emotionally-rich writing I've read in quite some time. Whether it's a mother walking a taut tightrope with her brooding teenage son, a woman trying to break up with her ghost-lover, a couple getting payback for all the money they've shelled out for friends' weddings, or, in "Clear Conscience" (the one that really broke me in half), a wife gradually slipping into a dangerous love affair with her brother-in-law, Christine Sneed goes for the heart, the head, and, quite often, the funny bone. Reading The Virginity of Famous Men is like binge-watching a dozen of your favorite movies--all the ones that make you laugh and cry in equal bursts of emotion.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    "There are people I have loved without them knowing it. So many more people than seems sane or worthwhile. What do you do with so much heartfelt but unessential affection, I wonder. Because I doubt there is a remedy."

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lori Ostlund

    Christine Sneed's stories never disappoint. I loved the range she showed here and her sly humor, which was fully in play.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Renee Rosen

    Wow! This was a fabulous read. With each story in this touching, quirky, inventive collection, I grew more and more enamored of Christine Sneed's talent. Highly recommended!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Brian Rothbart

    Don’t let the title fool you, The Virginity of Famous Men, it isn’t about what you think. Christine Sneed is a fantastic story teller, who packs a punch in this collection of short stories. These stories are all about relationships. Although a lot might not seem to be happening there is a lot of stuff going on under the surface. I really enjoyed this collection. Most collection have a couple good stories, a few okay ones and a few duds. There really isn’t a bad story among this bunch. Most of th Don’t let the title fool you, The Virginity of Famous Men, it isn’t about what you think. Christine Sneed is a fantastic story teller, who packs a punch in this collection of short stories. These stories are all about relationships. Although a lot might not seem to be happening there is a lot of stuff going on under the surface. I really enjoyed this collection. Most collection have a couple good stories, a few okay ones and a few duds. There really isn’t a bad story among this bunch. Most of the stories are not long and are perfect way to pass the time if you take public transportation to work or just want to sit down for a quick read. Most people aren’t fans of short stories, but I highly recommend this collection. Check it out.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Really lovely story collection! A few of the pieces take off from where Little Known Facts left off, but overall the collection is varied and full of new voices: my favorite piece is Five Rooms, about an adolescent girl who learns to care about something outside of herself, with a complete irreverent and snarky voice that we find is redeemed in the end. I loved it!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lolly K Dandeneau

    "The speed of life is what kills most of us, one way or another." ( visit my blog https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com) This is a wonderful collection of stories. While the saddest is "Five Rooms" and maybe the most meaningful, I absolutely delighted in "Roger Webster Would Like To Stay". Is he a 'product of a dream' or a real ghost? We all have different phantoms. In this case, it is a quirky story (my favorite kind)... The characters in this collection are wonderfully realistic. I absolutely fe "The speed of life is what kills most of us, one way or another." ( visit my blog https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com) This is a wonderful collection of stories. While the saddest is "Five Rooms" and maybe the most meaningful, I absolutely delighted in "Roger Webster Would Like To Stay". Is he a 'product of a dream' or a real ghost? We all have different phantoms. In this case, it is a quirky story (my favorite kind)... The characters in this collection are wonderfully realistic. I absolutely felt my gut sink reading "Beach Vacation". How often do stories address mothers dealing with such sons. Entitled, spoiled, selfish, vain- the sort of boy everything comes easy to, females especially and the mother sees it painfully clear, feels his nastiness with every biting comment, lashing interaction. She loves her son, of course mothers love their sons, but the pain of knowing her son isn't turning out to be the best person, too his dismissive attitude towards his mom... well... this story settled well with me, because aren't there enough stories of the happy perfect mother/son bond that lack the reality of in 'Beach Vacation"? Enjoyed these short stories.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I liked this collection a lot, but was not fully in awe of the collection because it was hard to find a link that united them all. Perhaps what I appreciated most is that these stories seem real--there's nothing too fanciful about them. When a story is about a woman once married to a famous actor or when a teenage girl rives a blind man hours to beg his girlfriend not to break up with him or when a ghost is trying to get between a I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I liked this collection a lot, but was not fully in awe of the collection because it was hard to find a link that united them all. Perhaps what I appreciated most is that these stories seem real--there's nothing too fanciful about them. When a story is about a woman once married to a famous actor or when a teenage girl rives a blind man hours to beg his girlfriend not to break up with him or when a ghost is trying to get between a woman and her boyfriend or a woman writes the most bizarre and honest cover letter and CV,, I didn't say, "Oh, that could never happen!" I think that I liked that these stories took place in the everyday, even if there was an air of the fantastical in them. Favorite stories: "Five Rooms" "Roger Weber Would Like to Stay," "The Couplehood Jubilee," "Older Sister," and "The New, All-True CV" Least favorites: "The Functionary," "The Virginity of Famous Men"

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    Christine Sneed is one of America's finest writers, a master of both the novel and the short story form. This is a smart, funny, surprising, sometimes dark, and always honest collection. I studied these stories, seeking to discover how she illuminates the human condition with such seeming poise. Highly recommended. Now I'm off to read everything she's written.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Meredith

    What a surprise to discover that the title story of this short story collection is a continuation of Little Known Facts, the first book I read by Christine Sneed. I was thrilled to see how the characters of that book were doing and get some sort of closure. But even without that gift, I would call the s a great collection of stories with peeks into the lives of various people. It's like that meme that pops up in social media feeds now and again: you never know other people's stories, so be kind.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Maggie Mitchell

    ach story in The Virginity of Famous Men introduces us to a complex and often unsettling psychological landscape; Sneed's trademark is her willingness to look unsparingly into the hearts of women and men and expose the conflicted longings she finds there, ad she does it brilliantly in this collection. These characters aren't all admirable, but they are startlingly, recognizably human, whether they are floundering in unsatisfactory relationships, consorting with ghosts, or navigating a disturbing ach story in The Virginity of Famous Men introduces us to a complex and often unsettling psychological landscape; Sneed's trademark is her willingness to look unsparingly into the hearts of women and men and expose the conflicted longings she finds there, ad she does it brilliantly in this collection. These characters aren't all admirable, but they are startlingly, recognizably human, whether they are floundering in unsatisfactory relationships, consorting with ghosts, or navigating a disturbingly familiar political dystopia. I might love her endings most of all: they give us just enough and no more--shards of insight, slivers of fate. When my students ask how to write good endings, I often tell them, read this story by Christine Sneed. THIS is how you do it. This is a wonderful, well-paced collection, full of quiet beauty and uncomfortable knowledge.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rachel León

    (3.5 stars) I enjoyed Sneed's short stories. There are a few I loved quite a bit, others I felt less enthusiastic about. Overall though I thought this was a good collection.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jacob

    I buy too many books. Thanks, largely, to a combination of the need to collect and a love of a bargain, I hit daily/monthly Kindle/Google Books deals with reckless fervor. This results in a lot of blind buys--author unknown, title unfamiliar--that draws my eyes for any number of reasons. In the case of The Virginity of Famous Men, it was the title--oh, what a title!--and the colorful cover. A quick glance at the Goodreads rating was enough for me to plunk down the $2, as it convinces me to spend I buy too many books. Thanks, largely, to a combination of the need to collect and a love of a bargain, I hit daily/monthly Kindle/Google Books deals with reckless fervor. This results in a lot of blind buys--author unknown, title unfamiliar--that draws my eyes for any number of reasons. In the case of The Virginity of Famous Men, it was the title--oh, what a title!--and the colorful cover. A quick glance at the Goodreads rating was enough for me to plunk down the $2, as it convinces me to spend way too many $2s. Many of these impulse purchases languish in my library unread, a malady many readers understand all too well, but I decided that I needed to read some short stories and pulled this one out. The snappy title isn't wholly descriptive of the stories within. Some of the characters are famous, or well-to-do, but not all, and I don't know that any are virgins. But the title (aside from being obviously yanked from the last short story) does point to the key element that ties all of these stories together: Relationships. Christine Sneed takes us through a journey of messy humans. These are, mostly, endearingly messy people with messy lovers and messy careers. From a woman uninterested in marrying her long-standing boyfriend, angry that she's spent so much money on other people's marriages, to a woman confused at losing her relationship with her son (and frustration at her absent husband), to a son meeting his movie-star father for the first time since they quarreled over the same woman. Some of the stories are written in first person, some in third, many with a female main characters, but some from the male point of view. But what really drives all of it is a Sneed's prose, which is that wonderful combination of elegant, witty, and insightful, without encumbering itself with a sense of forced depth or fluffiness. Here is a quick, devoid-of-context example (since, as is often the case with short stories, context would merely spoil the whole thing): "There was no prenuptial agreement; we had talked about it, but the idea had deeply embarrassed both of us. He had ignored the advice of his friends and his agent before our wedding because, again, he believed in success, not failure. He also thought that as a writer of character-driven screenplays, of political and romantic satires, I was not as interested in money as other people were. He was right, maybe, but I was interested in revenge." -- From "The First Wife" Perhaps the greatest compliment I can hand Sneed is that reading her book made me actually sit down and write. It didn't make me *want* to write, it made me *need* to write. It made me write stuff that I felt was productive and that I might be able to do something with.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    A pretty good collection overall. I found the stories engaging, right from the start of each one. But sometimes the ending was not satisfying. It's interesting to get the slice of life presented in a well written fashion with characters that are well developed, but I guess I like it to ultimately make some point.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Pfeffer

    Christine Sneed's fourth book is a collection of thirteen stories that illuminate the choices we make in life, how we go about making them, and the consequences they have. Including the consequences of making no choice at all. Sneed has steadily matured since Portraits of Some of the People I've Made Cry, and The Virginity of Famous Men is a leap of several notches from her novel Paris, He Said. She manages to give us snapshots of her protagonists' lives, not by trying to encapsulate the arc of Christine Sneed's fourth book is a collection of thirteen stories that illuminate the choices we make in life, how we go about making them, and the consequences they have. Including the consequences of making no choice at all. Sneed has steadily matured since Portraits of Some of the People I've Made Cry, and The Virginity of Famous Men is a leap of several notches from her novel Paris, He Said. She manages to give us snapshots of her protagonists' lives, not by trying to encapsulate the arc of existence in a few thousand words, but by putting the characters in situations we can identify with from the start, then taking us for a ride as the situations play themselves out. The effect is immediate identification with both the character and her dilemma, and as we read along we become the character as she interacts with people who will change her life. Each story could merit an extended review. The one that moves me the most is Five Rooms, where a mid-teenager discovers her nascent adult self by caring for a doomed fiftfiesh blind man who comes to the bleak discovery that his life as he's known it is over. Josie, the girl, is given a compelling voice as a snarky fifteen-year-old who wants to be cynical about everything, including and especially her divorced mother, but can't quite pull it off. She bonds with Mr. Rasmussen even as she tries to dismiss him like she does everyone else. The reader can feel Josie change without Sneed ever telling us she does. Another moving story is Older Sister. Here Alex is a sophomore at Georgetown, of all places, who strives to escape the dead end life of binge drinking/hookup/rape culture she fell into as a freshman. She's not sure she can do it until she discovers she has an older half-sister her father has neglected to tell her about because of his acute embarrassment. But Alex reluctantly, then enthusiastically, meets Penelope, and it becomes the encounter that will change her life, give her hope and direction. Sneed is good at presenting positive characters without sentimentalism or undue optimism. Yet there are people who seem to make our lives better simply by their presence, and Penelope is one such person. So, I somehow feel, is Christine Sneed. There are stories of people becalmed by early midlife who nonetheless realize, or think they do, that any attempt to move out will just make things worse. By doing so, they gain a certain self-insight. The first story in the book presents a mother who comes to realize she's lost contact with her teenage son, who is at that age where his world diverges in every way from his parents'. Another story is a hilarious sendup of the oft-repeated advice to "Be yourself." It's an extended resumé by someone who decides she'll revolutionize job applications by telling the human resources director what her life is really like, rather than what she thinks the HR person wants to hear. If there's a theme to these stories as a whole, it might be coming to terms with reality when you realize you'll never attain your dreams. But that sounds too bleak and hopeless. The Virginity of Famous Men is, instead, fused with hope, because the reader feels that, now that the characters are in process of discovering who they really are, they'll get on with their lives and make them work.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kurt Baumeister

    The Virginity of Famous Men by Christine Sneed In a short fiction scene currently smitten with flash, Christine Sneed’s The Virginity of Famous Men is something of an outlier. A collection of longer stories cast in the classic, American tradition, this is a carefully balanced, fully realized set of several-thousand-word pieces, any number of which you might come across in The New Yorker, Ploughshares, or some year’s edition of Best American Short Stories. Filled with interesting content about the The Virginity of Famous Men by Christine Sneed In a short fiction scene currently smitten with flash, Christine Sneed’s The Virginity of Famous Men is something of an outlier. A collection of longer stories cast in the classic, American tradition, this is a carefully balanced, fully realized set of several-thousand-word pieces, any number of which you might come across in The New Yorker, Ploughshares, or some year’s edition of Best American Short Stories. Filled with interesting content about the film business (at various points from the industry’s chilly periphery to its steamy superstar center), smart humor, and realistic characters, these stories are light on experimentation, though Sneed does make a few interesting formal choices. In addition to an entire story constructed as a curriculum vitae (“The New, All-True CV”), Sneed uses one recurring device I enjoyed quite a bit, “the time-stop ending.” A story with a “time-stop ending” concludes unexpectedly, avoiding the usual, extended denouement. The reader is left to construct the ending herself, suggesting there are, in fact, no easy, moral answers to Sneed’s stories, that reality could work out any number of ways. The Virginity of Famous Men is about patriarchy, the pitfalls and pratfalls of a societal structure that leaves older, successful men as its silent beneficiaries, women and (to a lesser extent) younger men as its victims. But this isn’t a political book. This is about real people, living real lives, many struggling with romantic relationships or the lack thereof. In The Virginity of Famous Men, Sneed gives readers a heady display of literary talent—skill broad enough to pull off drama and comedy in equal turns, deep enough to do so with seemingly effortless style and grace. http://www.thenervousbreakdown.com/kb...

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mary Hawley

    This riveting short story collection by Christine Sneed is populated with unique, well-drawn characters facing comic, tragic, or tragicomic situations, each story a world unto itself. Sneed explores wide-ranging themes including celebrity, infidelity, and the infidelities of celebrities; marriage, parenthood, and other questionable commitments; an experimental, hilarious approach to job applications; the shadow politics of a secretive government agency and the shadowy presence of a ghost with a This riveting short story collection by Christine Sneed is populated with unique, well-drawn characters facing comic, tragic, or tragicomic situations, each story a world unto itself. Sneed explores wide-ranging themes including celebrity, infidelity, and the infidelities of celebrities; marriage, parenthood, and other questionable commitments; an experimental, hilarious approach to job applications; the shadow politics of a secretive government agency and the shadowy presence of a ghost with a crush. For fans of Sneed's fabulous novel Little Known Facts, the title story in this collection is an extra treat: another chapter in the life of Will Ivins as he deals once again with the gigantic force of his father, the famous actor Renn Ivins. Laced with humor, compassion, and sometimes a tinge of despair, these stories and the questions they raise will linger long afterward like, well, a ghost with a crush.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Pignataro

    This is a wonderful collection of stories. Some are funny ("The New All True CV," "Roger Weber Would Like To Stay"), some are not ("The First Wife," "Beach Vacation"). "Older Sister" is an especially strong story that I won't soon forget. But all the stories here are filled with heart and humanity, which is pretty much true of anything Christine Sneed writes.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    It's rare that I plow through a book of short stories in a way that I do a novel, but this book was the exception. I owe it to the author, Christine Sneed, a master craftswoman, who can make the conflicts of otherwise ordinary characters a matter of urgency. I was amused by how each story sparked my empathy as well as my disdain, and sometimes, my disgust. The blind senior citizen who wanted to win back his girlfriend, the college girl who couldn't remember her sexual adventures, the needy mothe It's rare that I plow through a book of short stories in a way that I do a novel, but this book was the exception. I owe it to the author, Christine Sneed, a master craftswoman, who can make the conflicts of otherwise ordinary characters a matter of urgency. I was amused by how each story sparked my empathy as well as my disdain, and sometimes, my disgust. The blind senior citizen who wanted to win back his girlfriend, the college girl who couldn't remember her sexual adventures, the needy mother jealous of her promiscuous son's appeal. Each story shines a light on the worst of people, yet somehow solicits the readers' affection. Unlike so many fiction writers, Sneed never passes judgement on her characters' faults, and instead offers a journey through humanity in a way that almost reminds me of another time, when people's primary challenge was managing their shortcomings. It's a wonderful book in which to disappear, a great holiday read and gift that, once read, lingers long after.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rocco Versaci

    One pitfall I sometimes see in short story collections is a “sameness” in the stories that makes them indistinguishable in memory; happily—and impressively—this is not a problem in "The Virginity of Famous Men." Each of Sneed’s stories invites us into the uniquely troubled lives of her characters, and the collection as a whole demonstrates a wide range of narrative voices. This collection frequently had me laughing out loud, so sharp are Sneed’s powers of observation and ability to capture the d One pitfall I sometimes see in short story collections is a “sameness” in the stories that makes them indistinguishable in memory; happily—and impressively—this is not a problem in "The Virginity of Famous Men." Each of Sneed’s stories invites us into the uniquely troubled lives of her characters, and the collection as a whole demonstrates a wide range of narrative voices. This collection frequently had me laughing out loud, so sharp are Sneed’s powers of observation and ability to capture the details of human nature in words. Some of her sentences are so finely hewed, in fact, that they’re like cut diamonds. As a teacher of creative writing, I’m always on the lookout for stories that brilliantly capture characters’ inner and outer lives, and "The Virginity of Famous Men" is filled with them. I will definitely be seeking out her other books.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Randy Richardson

    I've read all of Christine Sneed's published works, starting with her first collection of short stories, "Portraits of a Few of the People I've Made Cry," and continuing with her two novels, "Little Known Facts" and "Paris, He Said." A tremendously gifted storyteller, Christine is constantly exploring the complexities of the human condition in ways that make you both laugh and cry, sometimes simultaneously. Her latest, "The Virginity of Famous Men," is perhaps her best yet. It is her second coll I've read all of Christine Sneed's published works, starting with her first collection of short stories, "Portraits of a Few of the People I've Made Cry," and continuing with her two novels, "Little Known Facts" and "Paris, He Said." A tremendously gifted storyteller, Christine is constantly exploring the complexities of the human condition in ways that make you both laugh and cry, sometimes simultaneously. Her latest, "The Virginity of Famous Men," is perhaps her best yet. It is her second collection of short stories, a form that suits her well. The stories are insightful and thought-provoking and beautifully crafted. If you are a fan of the short story, pick up a copy of this book and take the time to read it, from cover to cover. Then tell all of your friends to do the same. It's that good. Really, it is.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I received this book as a Goodreads Giveaway. I was completely absorbed by each story. The characters were so genuine, and seemed so honest in their thoughts and feelings as they came to grips with their choices and their relationships with one another. Even though the stories occasionally got dark, some were also funny and uplifting, so there was a nice balance. Sneed is a very gifted in the short story genre. These stories made me look at the situations presented in a completely different way I received this book as a Goodreads Giveaway. I was completely absorbed by each story. The characters were so genuine, and seemed so honest in their thoughts and feelings as they came to grips with their choices and their relationships with one another. Even though the stories occasionally got dark, some were also funny and uplifting, so there was a nice balance. Sneed is a very gifted in the short story genre. These stories made me look at the situations presented in a completely different way than I was expecting to each time, and the whole book was very readable.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    Christine Sneed's latest publication is her best so far. She is at her best when she explores situations and emotions that we all know in some way: loneliness, love, living with our choices. More than this, her compassion for her characters allows us to inhabit their lives, however briefly, and leave with a better understanding of our own. Story by story I found myself thinking of friends, colleagues and relatives to whom I simply must recommend this book. I am eagerly looking forward to Sneed's Christine Sneed's latest publication is her best so far. She is at her best when she explores situations and emotions that we all know in some way: loneliness, love, living with our choices. More than this, her compassion for her characters allows us to inhabit their lives, however briefly, and leave with a better understanding of our own. Story by story I found myself thinking of friends, colleagues and relatives to whom I simply must recommend this book. I am eagerly looking forward to Sneed's next publication.

  29. 5 out of 5

    June

    Some brilliant (even though predictable) stories (the first four in the collection), the title story doesn't work the best for me. Stories of infamous (less privileged) people seem to ring the brighter bell (e.g.: Five Rooms, Whatshisname, Clear Conscience, Words That Once Shocked Us). In terms of narrative style, some are highly original though, "The New, All-True CV" appeals to me much stronger than "Roger Weber Would Like to Stay".

  30. 4 out of 5

    Paul Wilner

    Christine Sneed is one of our finest contemporary writers, and this collection is a quantum leap forward for her already excellent work. My question and answer with her, for the website of Zyzzyva magazine, is linked below: http://www.zyzzyva.org/2016/09/01/qa-... Christine Sneed is one of our finest contemporary writers, and this collection is a quantum leap forward for her already excellent work. My question and answer with her, for the website of Zyzzyva magazine, is linked below: http://www.zyzzyva.org/2016/09/01/qa-...

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.