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When the Nines Roll Over and Other Stories

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A tour de force of imaginative storytelling from the critically acclaimed author of City of Thieves and The 25th Hour and co-creator of the HBO series Game of Thrones In When the Nines Roll Over , David Benioff (The 25th Hour, City of Thieves) uses humor and rich characterizations to explore the sometimes thrilling, sometimes pathetic emotional lives of a diverse set of A tour de force of imaginative storytelling from the critically acclaimed author of City of Thieves and The 25th Hour and co-creator of the HBO series Game of Thrones In When the Nines Roll Over , David Benioff (The 25th Hour, City of Thieves) uses humor and rich characterizations to explore the sometimes thrilling, sometimes pathetic emotional lives of a diverse set of characters. Over the course of eight stories, we are introduced to a host of young people on the cusp of discovery and loss. As he evokes the various states of agony and pleasure--humiliation, rebellion, camaraderie, and desire--Benioff displays a profound understanding of the transformative power of a single moment and how sadness can be illuminated by a humorous flip side. When the Nines Roll Over confirms the promise of a gifted writer emerging as a storytelling force.


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A tour de force of imaginative storytelling from the critically acclaimed author of City of Thieves and The 25th Hour and co-creator of the HBO series Game of Thrones In When the Nines Roll Over , David Benioff (The 25th Hour, City of Thieves) uses humor and rich characterizations to explore the sometimes thrilling, sometimes pathetic emotional lives of a diverse set of A tour de force of imaginative storytelling from the critically acclaimed author of City of Thieves and The 25th Hour and co-creator of the HBO series Game of Thrones In When the Nines Roll Over , David Benioff (The 25th Hour, City of Thieves) uses humor and rich characterizations to explore the sometimes thrilling, sometimes pathetic emotional lives of a diverse set of characters. Over the course of eight stories, we are introduced to a host of young people on the cusp of discovery and loss. As he evokes the various states of agony and pleasure--humiliation, rebellion, camaraderie, and desire--Benioff displays a profound understanding of the transformative power of a single moment and how sadness can be illuminated by a humorous flip side. When the Nines Roll Over confirms the promise of a gifted writer emerging as a storytelling force.

30 review for When the Nines Roll Over and Other Stories

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ron

    There are eight short stories in this small book, mainly set in New York City. Don't let the length fool you because these little guys are full of substance. All are unrelated to one another, mostly. But I'd also say they can be called related by the people that make up the stories. Each person in here has a need, or a want, whether it be for another, or a desire, or the greed inherent in life. Break them down, and in one form or another they are mostly about love, and that feels on par. The fir There are eight short stories in this small book, mainly set in New York City. Don't let the length fool you because these little guys are full of substance. All are unrelated to one another, mostly. But I'd also say they can be called related by the people that make up the stories. Each person in here has a need, or a want, whether it be for another, or a desire, or the greed inherent in life. Break them down, and in one form or another they are mostly about love, and that feels on par. The first three shorts were okay. I could go back to find why these three didn't strike me as the later ones did, but I don't think I'll need to. The last half of this book is where Benioff gift for story-telling really shines. I recalled the sort of feelings when reading City of Thieves, at least in part. The plots were far different from that gem of a book, but still. In the fourth story, a man seeks the girl he'd known all of one day by accident, but after fourteen years, the memory of her returns as a constant. Is it real love, or seeking the memory of his glory days? Another story records the daily diary of a guy waiting it out in his backyard fallout shelter. Is he the smart one, or simply the fool? The final story becomes a one person viewpoint remembering his story of loss in the midst of the AIDS epidemic that's particularly poignant and also devastating. And there I found another link in these stories. The twist of an ending, or the change of the viewpoint offered to the reader. After considering, each story felt far more real and personal because of it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    Many know David Benioff as one half of the team that created the stellar Game of Thrones HBO series adaptation. And no problem, that show is awesome and it's one of the most impressive film adaptations I've seen of fiction. But I originally was a fan of Benioff's work as an author, with both of his fantastic novels (the New York crime drama The 25th Hour and the WWII coming of age adventure, City of Thieves) on my list of favorites! Now I've finally completed the author's short list of fiction w Many know David Benioff as one half of the team that created the stellar Game of Thrones HBO series adaptation. And no problem, that show is awesome and it's one of the most impressive film adaptations I've seen of fiction. But I originally was a fan of Benioff's work as an author, with both of his fantastic novels (the New York crime drama The 25th Hour and the WWII coming of age adventure, City of Thieves) on my list of favorites! Now I've finally completed the author's short list of fiction work with this solid collection of short stories. Each story is a slice of life tale, not featuring large moments of action, but instead focusing on each character at a critical turning point in their lives or at a time when they have to make the hard decisions. As usual, Benioff writes with a poetic ease and injects each story with a tangible atmosphere. One of my favorites in the collection was "De Composition," about a man struggling with his sanity after hunkering down in a survival bunker during the end of the world. I love how Benioff is intentionally vague with what is possibly a major reveal, leaving it up to the reader to interpret. Others I really enjoyed included "Garden of No," about a young waitress/wannabe actress in Hollywood about to hit her big break, and the heartbreaking final story, "Merde for Luck," that follows a gay couple in New York City as they struggle with AIDS during the mid-90's. "So many die without our caring, decline to silence in rooms beyond hearing. We honor the dead and abhor the dying." As much as I love Game of Thrones, I hope that Benioff returns to write more awesome books; he's up there on my list with Scott B. Smith as being overdue for another great novel!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Loes Dissel

    David Benioff is a master storyteller. After City of Thieves I wanted to read more. This is a fine, modern collection of short stories. Five stars for the last one Merde for Luck.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mindy

    This is my first book of short stories and the only reason I picked it up was for a challenge. I chose David Benioff because he is the author of one of my favorite books, City of Thieves. I was so pleasantly surprised. I didn't think I would enjoy reading short stories but these were all fascinating. It is kind of a bummer when you're really enjoying certain characters and the story just ends, because Mr. Benioff can write some amazing characters. I loved every one of the stories in this book, b This is my first book of short stories and the only reason I picked it up was for a challenge. I chose David Benioff because he is the author of one of my favorite books, City of Thieves. I was so pleasantly surprised. I didn't think I would enjoy reading short stories but these were all fascinating. It is kind of a bummer when you're really enjoying certain characters and the story just ends, because Mr. Benioff can write some amazing characters. I loved every one of the stories in this book, but my favorite was The Devil Comes to Orekhovo.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Clair Belmonte

    Each story was a beautiful creation come to life, though some more than others. I read greedily for details and at times, felt it came much too easily. Characters remained lackluster, and I felt myself reading at the fast pace of the prose. Though this series of stories build scenes, the plots feel like I'm constantly trying to run and push the story to its conclusion; I'm forced to miss the roses growing in the corner of the scene for the sake of maintaining the story's movement. That being sai Each story was a beautiful creation come to life, though some more than others. I read greedily for details and at times, felt it came much too easily. Characters remained lackluster, and I felt myself reading at the fast pace of the prose. Though this series of stories build scenes, the plots feel like I'm constantly trying to run and push the story to its conclusion; I'm forced to miss the roses growing in the corner of the scene for the sake of maintaining the story's movement. That being said, each story brings a unique take, and the combination and order of each is enthralling. But unfortunately, I was never lost to the story - never forced to surrender, even at the most shocking and emotional moments. The modern style took over and left me feeling apathetic and detached.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Leftbanker

    The cream will rise to the top.” “No,” said Tabachnik. “It won’t.” Whatever was floating on top, it wasn’t cream.” There is no cream in this collection. I'm glad that I read City of Thieves first, because I wouldn't have bothered reading another book by the author of these stories. The cream will rise to the top.” “No,” said Tabachnik. “It won’t.” Whatever was floating on top, it wasn’t cream.” There is no cream in this collection. I'm glad that I read City of Thieves first, because I wouldn't have bothered reading another book by the author of these stories.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Barb

    interesting little glimpses into others' lives, one story reminds me of characters in city of thieves, glad i read it, the language is artistry, beautiful, but no beginnings and endings of plot- i still like resolutions. favorite quote: "The bad days came like Churchill's black dogs; they paced the corridor outside my bedroom, raking the carpet with their claws." interesting little glimpses into others' lives, one story reminds me of characters in city of thieves, glad i read it, the language is artistry, beautiful, but no beginnings and endings of plot- i still like resolutions. favorite quote: "The bad days came like Churchill's black dogs; they paced the corridor outside my bedroom, raking the carpet with their claws."

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sophi Link

    A couple of summers ago, my parents and I went to visit my brother in upstate NY and stayed in this rambling, half-renovated bed and breakfast across the train-tracks from the Hudson River. While I was there, the owner noticed me carrying around a book and started telling me all about City of Thieves. He insisted that I read it and, since he didn't have it on him at the time, got my parents' address and sent it on after we left. I only bring it up because it's always stuck in my head as one of t A couple of summers ago, my parents and I went to visit my brother in upstate NY and stayed in this rambling, half-renovated bed and breakfast across the train-tracks from the Hudson River. While I was there, the owner noticed me carrying around a book and started telling me all about City of Thieves. He insisted that I read it and, since he didn't have it on him at the time, got my parents' address and sent it on after we left. I only bring it up because it's always stuck in my head as one of the nicest things a stranger's ever done for me. I loved City of Thieves, and I love short stories, so I was excited to find this book at the library. However, as with a lot of collections of short stories, I found that some of them serve as a kind of proto-story for the novel that's coming, and they aren't necessarily satisfying on their own. Still, all of these struck me in some way, though "De Composition" and "Merde for Luck" were high spots. The overall mood is gloomy, somber, both realistic and sometimes fantastical. The writing is downright beautiful in places. I have to say, though, that I felt distant from nearly all of the protagonists. None of them really clicked for me, though again, there are sentences in this book that are undeniably perfect. The kind of sentences you want to pull off the page and wrap yourself up in. But as a whole, the book doesn't hit the spot. For one thing, I remember City of Thieves having a sense of humor that these stories miss out on. I wrote in my journal: "haunting and provocative, but they don't feel like refreshment."

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ali M

    I am a big fan of Benioff’s writing. His book, City of Thieves, was easily in my top five books of 2016. I had been saving this collection of short stories so as not to deplete my Benioff supply and while I am pleased to have read these stories I am somewhat deflated that I nothing else of his left to read. This collection of stories is eclectic. On the surface some of them are a little weird, but they are all profoundly personal and human. I think that is because Benioff is essentially writing I am a big fan of Benioff’s writing. His book, City of Thieves, was easily in my top five books of 2016. I had been saving this collection of short stories so as not to deplete my Benioff supply and while I am pleased to have read these stories I am somewhat deflated that I nothing else of his left to read. This collection of stories is eclectic. On the surface some of them are a little weird, but they are all profoundly personal and human. I think that is because Benioff is essentially writing about the could have beens, the what ifs, the fork in the road in the form of ordinary moments that can change the course of your entire life. And even if they don’t change your life, we all wonder about the ripple effects of our actions. There is an accessibility in Benioff’s stories because he is writing about the human condition and I love his writing style because it is spare and honest and broken down to essentials of what we feel and experience. I am still carrying all of the stories in this collection with me, even the ones that didn’t sit comfortably with me. That is a testament to his skill as a writer that he can make the reader take that discomfort and let it dwell in you and think about it long after you have turned the last page. I say read everything Benioff has written – you won’t be sorry!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Adam Floridia

    This is going to one of those reviews that's more of a placeholder in life than anything substantive about the actual book. As I would like to with all short story collections, I would have liked to review each story individually. Also, I would have liked to read them in more coherent time-chunks so that even individual stories weren't jumbled up in my head. Instead, I moved into a new house! Three weeks (and counting) of lifting, buying, moving, unpacking and marveling at it all. I finally have This is going to one of those reviews that's more of a placeholder in life than anything substantive about the actual book. As I would like to with all short story collections, I would have liked to review each story individually. Also, I would have liked to read them in more coherent time-chunks so that even individual stories weren't jumbled up in my head. Instead, I moved into a new house! Three weeks (and counting) of lifting, buying, moving, unpacking and marveling at it all. I finally have my own study! and once I figure out which box my camera is in, I may post a picture of my little slice of heaven.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kdevoli

    Okay this boy is some sort of genius wunderkind. First I read his last novel, one of my favorirte books of the year, City of Thieves. I'm still waiting for his first novel from the library so in the meantime I picked up this collection of short stories. Oh my. He captures people in such a real way. (By contrast, I had to put down Pat Conroy's latest because nothing about it felt genuine to me. And Pat Conroy is considered one of the greatest living writers.) The last story in the collection is a Okay this boy is some sort of genius wunderkind. First I read his last novel, one of my favorirte books of the year, City of Thieves. I'm still waiting for his first novel from the library so in the meantime I picked up this collection of short stories. Oh my. He captures people in such a real way. (By contrast, I had to put down Pat Conroy's latest because nothing about it felt genuine to me. And Pat Conroy is considered one of the greatest living writers.) The last story in the collection is a real doozy. When I was done I felt like my seat had fallen out of the bottom of an airplane.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    I was sent this by a friend (enemy?). Reading it felt like seeing someone with superpowers use those powers for evil rather than good. Benioff's stories are all told well enough. I followed what he was doing, the characters he was providing, etc. The problem is that he is constantly making his characters into objects of desire, sometimes in ways that are painfully tacky. A few of these scenes — there are several — read like they were written by someone in high school. The one story that I liked m I was sent this by a friend (enemy?). Reading it felt like seeing someone with superpowers use those powers for evil rather than good. Benioff's stories are all told well enough. I followed what he was doing, the characters he was providing, etc. The problem is that he is constantly making his characters into objects of desire, sometimes in ways that are painfully tacky. A few of these scenes — there are several — read like they were written by someone in high school. The one story that I liked most was The Devil Comes to Orekhovo. There was a disconnect reading a story about Russian characters written by an American, but it did capture some of the feel of other Russian literature that I've read, including some short stories.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lekeisha The Booknerd

    I love David Benioff. He's such a great storyteller, and always makes me long to see them onscreen. My favorites in this collection are When the Nines Roll Over - respectively, and The Barefoot Girl in Clover. All of these stories are written beautifully. The Devil Comes to Orekhovo makes me think of Russian fairy tales, and I didn't want it to end when it did. If you enjoy good story collections that make you think outside the box, this is a great one for your reading list. I love David Benioff. He's such a great storyteller, and always makes me long to see them onscreen. My favorites in this collection are When the Nines Roll Over - respectively, and The Barefoot Girl in Clover. All of these stories are written beautifully. The Devil Comes to Orekhovo makes me think of Russian fairy tales, and I didn't want it to end when it did. If you enjoy good story collections that make you think outside the box, this is a great one for your reading list.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Vladimir Putin

    I can't believe they invented Japanese numbers!! I can't believe they invented Japanese numbers!!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

    Ok, Game of Thrones final season aside, it's clear Benioff is a story teller. He has the ability to develop characters in a short amount of time. Though short, the stories are filled with sadness warmth, humor, nostalgia. You can read one at a time and come back to them every now and then or breeze through the whole book. Either way, you will leave each story feeling a certain way. Ok, Game of Thrones final season aside, it's clear Benioff is a story teller. He has the ability to develop characters in a short amount of time. Though short, the stories are filled with sadness warmth, humor, nostalgia. You can read one at a time and come back to them every now and then or breeze through the whole book. Either way, you will leave each story feeling a certain way.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Harika Bommu

    Bittersweet tales of life, death and everything in between. It's amazing how he captures life in it's true sense, especially the first story and the namesake of the book 'When the nines roll over'. Other favorite is the Devil comes to Orekhovo. The stories feel like a momentary glimpse into a persons life without much prior explanation and ends abruptly but leaves you brooding for a very long time. Bittersweet tales of life, death and everything in between. It's amazing how he captures life in it's true sense, especially the first story and the namesake of the book 'When the nines roll over'. Other favorite is the Devil comes to Orekhovo. The stories feel like a momentary glimpse into a persons life without much prior explanation and ends abruptly but leaves you brooding for a very long time.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jessie (Zombie_likes_cake)

    I don't even want to praise Benioff anymore since he has such great success with his work on "Game of Thrones" but he is such a good fiction writer on top of that. I loved (LOVED) his novel "City of Thieves" that I read a few years back and this was also a fantastic collection. The themes and plots these stories deal with are nothing special but Benioff's writing makes them that remarkable, I didn't want them to end. I can't even tell if it's just me or if everyone would enjoy his style this much I don't even want to praise Benioff anymore since he has such great success with his work on "Game of Thrones" but he is such a good fiction writer on top of that. I loved (LOVED) his novel "City of Thieves" that I read a few years back and this was also a fantastic collection. The themes and plots these stories deal with are nothing special but Benioff's writing makes them that remarkable, I didn't want them to end. I can't even tell if it's just me or if everyone would enjoy his style this much but I think his style, the way how he evokes characters and the situations they are in I just find fantastic and so enjoyable to read. I have been reading quite a few disappointing and underwhelming books lately so this was a well earned treat. 4.5* My top 3: 3) Neversink 2) The Devil comes to Orekhovo 1) The Barefoot Girl in Clover My least favorite which was still an interesting story: De Composition

  18. 4 out of 5

    Barry

    Collection of short stories by one of my favorite writers. They have elements of magical realism, and gritty reality all rolled into one. A story about a lion loose in New York, another about a boy stealing his father's car and meeting a young girl along the way, and my favorite, about a gay couple struggling with AIDS and the plethora of medications they have to take. A little gem of a book. Collection of short stories by one of my favorite writers. They have elements of magical realism, and gritty reality all rolled into one. A story about a lion loose in New York, another about a boy stealing his father's car and meeting a young girl along the way, and my favorite, about a gay couple struggling with AIDS and the plethora of medications they have to take. A little gem of a book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    I was hoping to love these stories as much as I enjoyed City of Thieves, but I just didn’t. I found them a little weird. I won’t buy a Benioff book without trying a sample first now, which is too bad because I thought he was my new go-to.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Will Chin

    If I could adopt the writing style and ability of a writer out there, it would be someone like David Benioff. Benioff has a brisk, confident way of telling a story that engages me as a reader. Even if the scope of the stories collected here is quite small — focusing on various characters living in and around New York City — the stories arrest your attention from the first line all the way to the last. No need for spaceships and dark lords in this one. Benioff’s characters are everyday folks that If I could adopt the writing style and ability of a writer out there, it would be someone like David Benioff. Benioff has a brisk, confident way of telling a story that engages me as a reader. Even if the scope of the stories collected here is quite small — focusing on various characters living in and around New York City — the stories arrest your attention from the first line all the way to the last. No need for spaceships and dark lords in this one. Benioff’s characters are everyday folks that tell stories that we can all relate to. One of the chief criticisms of short stories, one that I do not share, is that there aren’t enough pages to relate to the characters or the story at hand. Some people say that it’s like travelling through a country on board a bullet train. Everything goes by so quickly that you hardly have time to stop and admire the view. However, high-speed commutes are quite different from storytelling. Some stories are just not very long and work just fine as a 20-pager. The ones in this collection are just that: short, precise and to-the-point. A common thread runs through all the stories too, with all of them standing on the edge of potentially life-altering events. These are all moments we can closely relate to. Aside from one story, I enjoyed all the rest in this super readable collection. Once again, Benioff has proven to be a great writer beyond just his work on television (he is one of two creators of Game of Thrones). My favourites from this collection include: The Devil Comes to Orekhovo, The Barefoot Girl in Clover, Neversink and Merde for Luck. Not so hot about Zoanthropy, though. Highly recommended.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Robert Starr

    This was a nice collection of stories. Benioff is very good at writing small pieces that add up to more than they should. Consider his two novels: 25th Hour is just about one man's last night as a free man before going to jail. City of Thieves is about two soldiers on a mission to get a carton of eggs. Neither of these stories builds to anything spectacular, but in their simplicity, they take on a life of their own. Same here. None of these stories are about "big" things. They're about the little This was a nice collection of stories. Benioff is very good at writing small pieces that add up to more than they should. Consider his two novels: 25th Hour is just about one man's last night as a free man before going to jail. City of Thieves is about two soldiers on a mission to get a carton of eggs. Neither of these stories builds to anything spectacular, but in their simplicity, they take on a life of their own. Same here. None of these stories are about "big" things. They're about the little ones. And they're more powerful because of it. When Benioff's stories work, they built to powerful emotional climaxes (the last story here really got me). When they don't, they're merely well-written. Only one story here struck me as a dud ("Zoantrophy"), but even that one had some good ideas that just weren't fully explored. Benioff is busy doing his screenplays and his Game of Thrones (which never really appealed to me), but I hope he returns to his books because there aren't many who can actually pull off the high-wire act he does (Michael Chabon at his best, maybe).

  22. 4 out of 5

    Corny

    From the co creator of the TV series Game of Thrones comes an uneven short story collection which features single men and women in their teens and twenties. Each of the protagonists is facing an inflection point in his or her life. The author moves from run of the mill situations, a "star is born" remake in "Garden of No" to an outright science fiction piece " De Composition" where the protagonist has moved into a bomb shelter before a nuclear holocaust. (Maybe not so sci-fi!). I enjoyed "The Ba From the co creator of the TV series Game of Thrones comes an uneven short story collection which features single men and women in their teens and twenties. Each of the protagonists is facing an inflection point in his or her life. The author moves from run of the mill situations, a "star is born" remake in "Garden of No" to an outright science fiction piece " De Composition" where the protagonist has moved into a bomb shelter before a nuclear holocaust. (Maybe not so sci-fi!). I enjoyed "The Barefoot Girl in Clover" where a teenager steals a car and meets a cute girl with whom he spends some time and then tries to reconnect with her years later. However, my favorite is the final story, "Merde For Luck", a very poignant look at two gay men in the 1990's with some truly wonderful passages. Benioff is clearly experimenting here and he succeeds for the most part. Some stories like the opener which is the title story and Zoanthropy, another futuristic one, do not resonate for me but all are worth reading.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    3.6 - When the nines roll over (6.5/10) is about a record label executive which was good but I’m confused about the title. I like Beniof’s style of writing which instantly makes you feel like you know the character really well and you root for him immediately. The devil comes to orekhovo was good (7/10) and was similar to City of thieves. Zoanthropy was weird (3/10), about lions loose in NYC. Barefoot girl was good (6/10), about a young football player who meets a girl but does take his chance. De 3.6 - When the nines roll over (6.5/10) is about a record label executive which was good but I’m confused about the title. I like Beniof’s style of writing which instantly makes you feel like you know the character really well and you root for him immediately. The devil comes to orekhovo was good (7/10) and was similar to City of thieves. Zoanthropy was weird (3/10), about lions loose in NYC. Barefoot girl was good (6/10), about a young football player who meets a girl but does take his chance. De Composition was weird too about a guy who builds a bunker Garden of No was good (6 /10). About an actress who finally gets her break. Neversink was just okay (4 /10), about a guy who meets a girl that makes up a whole fiction about her dead father. Merde for luck was depressing (5/10), was about HIV.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    I feel weird giving this book a 5 star review. I can't think of anything intelligent to write about it. The writing is excellent and there's a good variety in the stories. At times the stories are a bit surreal and the characters are quirky (in a good way). If I have one complaint, it's that I wish some of the stories were shorter. The book was difficult to get through in one sitting because the stories have so much going on that it was hard to keep re-immersing myself in each plot. Sadly, this I feel weird giving this book a 5 star review. I can't think of anything intelligent to write about it. The writing is excellent and there's a good variety in the stories. At times the stories are a bit surreal and the characters are quirky (in a good way). If I have one complaint, it's that I wish some of the stories were shorter. The book was difficult to get through in one sitting because the stories have so much going on that it was hard to keep re-immersing myself in each plot. Sadly, this is probably going to be one of those books that sits on my shelf, never to be re-read again—these aren't the kind of stories that you can just pick up and get through in ten minutes on a whim.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Michael Harris

    Short stories aren't usually my thing, but after finding out the David Benioff was the novelist behind the 25th Hour, I went and bought his other work. Obviously some stories are stronger than others, but what struck me was Benioff's ability to create a world very quickly. There is a cinematic quality to the stories (which explains his career track). They are so descriptive that you can practically see the movie playing out in your head. The last story, about a couple dealing with AIDS, was espe Short stories aren't usually my thing, but after finding out the David Benioff was the novelist behind the 25th Hour, I went and bought his other work. Obviously some stories are stronger than others, but what struck me was Benioff's ability to create a world very quickly. There is a cinematic quality to the stories (which explains his career track). They are so descriptive that you can practically see the movie playing out in your head. The last story, about a couple dealing with AIDS, was especially powerful. I immediately bought the book he cited as its inspiration - How We Die by Sherwin Nuland.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

    8 short stories, each wildly different. Lots of experimental storytelling. The Devil Comes to Orekhovo, Zoanthropy and Merde for luck are really special. Benioff writes with almost the same narrative voice with each story so it can feel convoluted at times. He brings the same pacing from city of thieves but across a range of settings. I know we are lucky to experience his writing via game of thrones but I really wish this guy would produce more fiction, he is a remarkable storyteller

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jonnie

    In general, I have never been fascinated with short stories. It always seems like there is just a little bit more needed in the story. That is definitely what I felt with this book. The short stories were interesting and Benioff is a wonderful storyteller, but it felt like each story needed a couple of more pages to complete the story. However, if you are looking for another masterpiece like Cities of Thieves, be aware the writing in this book is engaging but the stories are cut short.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Maas

    Beyond good Just great tales. It reminds me of The Pier Falls - The Pier Falls had a greater variety of tales, but this one comes close, and man some of them are great. Any case great tales - I hope to do a full review shortly, but for now - this is an incredible collection and I recommend it to anyone. Beyond good Just great tales. It reminds me of The Pier Falls - The Pier Falls had a greater variety of tales, but this one comes close, and man some of them are great. Any case great tales - I hope to do a full review shortly, but for now - this is an incredible collection and I recommend it to anyone.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Chris Ambrogi

    Great book with solid short stories that are sure to entertain.. a page turner. 3 Stars because I didn’t find half of them to be anything fantastic. The final short, “Verde for Luck” deserves 5 stars and may be the finest, most powerful piece of writing Benioff has ever offered the literary world. Absolutely worth owning.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    I’ve never been much of a fan of short stories, but I picked this up as part of a reading challenge for a read-a-thon which included reading a book of short stories. The book kept my attention. All of the stories were good; a few of them were great, and I’ll continue to reflect upon them for a very long time. Recommend.

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