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In Andrew Biss s superb collection of short stories The Impressionists there are six stories.The first one is called Big Girl and is about Peggy who weighs in at a colossal 276 pounds It is uncanny the way Andrew Biss has got so completely into the mind of an overweight woman and so accurately conveys her angst At the end of the story I felt a sincere empathy with her and her plight, so brilliantly does Andrew Biss portray her That he can convey such angst both with wit and empathy is remarka In Andrew Biss s superb collection of short stories The Impressionists there are six stories.The first one is called Big Girl and is about Peggy who weighs in at a colossal 276 pounds It is uncanny the way Andrew Biss has got so completely into the mind of an overweight woman and so accurately conveys her angst At the end of the story I felt a sincere empathy with her and her plight, so brilliantly does Andrew Biss portray her That he can convey such angst both with wit and empathy is remarkable That she quotes from Nietzsche, Henry David Thoreau, Confucius, William Shakespeare, Andre Gide and Quentin crisp is a reflection of the erudition of the author, I think Yet these quotations are woven so seamlessly into the story that they do not seem out of place.The story contains some swear words, which I wouldn t normally like, but in this story Peggy is justified in expressing her feelings in this way and if you read this brilliant story and you definitely should, then you will see that they are perfectly justified within the context of the story.This lead story reminds me of A Ball of Fat by Guy de Maupassant and like that story it is worth the price of the book, a meagre couple of pounds or dollars, all by itself The other five stories in the collection are a bonus and what a bonus they are.The second story is called The Replica It starts off in the first person by speaking about the replica in the mirror Then she begins describing her husband Then it describes her life as a writer in the third person I didn t like the constant shift between first and third person and ultimately I found this a depressing and dispiriting story It is a story lacking Andrew s characteristic wit and charm He is strongest when writing in the first person.With the third story A Small Act of Vandalism the wit reasserts itself Malcolm has his mother s ashes in a little porcelain box and he describes them as a bit like instant coffee, you might say, only without the flavour This is another story skilfully told in the author s authentic voice He makes you really care and empathise with Malcolm and the dilemma in which he was placed A really lovely story, lovingly told.The fourth story, One Night Only is about a serial killer interviewing himself prior to his execution It is funny in a gruesome way Again the authentic voice of the author shines through this gritty story.The fifth story is Organ Failure, which is set in a funeral home This is a short, dark little story in which it is impossible to empathise with the woman telling the story.The final story in the collection is WYWH, which is another very accomplished story, very witty and very poignant Like all short story collections it is a mixed bag, but a mixed bag ranging all the way from good, through excellent to masterly.Replica and Organ Failure are good.A Small Act of Vandalism, One Night Only and WYWH are excellent.Big Girl is a masterpiece.I like the way Andrew Biss, writing in the first person is able to express the feelings and emotions of an overweight woman, a young man, a serial killer and a middle aged woman and to you cause you to empathise with them and to see them as real, individual people This is a rare talent I highly recommend this collection in a word WOW Aptly named book of Excellent set of short stories I couldn t even begin to give a rundown Each story is VERY different and all of them worth a look The constant theme through out is introspection and every character voice is different Well done and a GREAT way to spend an afternoon in the sun This is a Reading Good Books review.At approximately 13,000 words, this is a short one In fact, I read it off my computer instead of on my B N nook But it was still a very good read.The Impressionists consists of six short stories about social issues such as self image, domestic abuse, family relationships, alcoholism, and crime All of them are told in the first person As short as they are, the stories are all hard hitting and touching.A couple of them deal with the self confidence or l This is a Reading Good Books review.At approximately 13,000 words, this is a short one In fact, I read it off my computer instead of on my BN nook But it was still a very good read.The Impressionists consists of six short stories about social issues such as self image, domestic abuse, family relationships, alcoholism, and crime All of them are told in the first person As short as they are, the stories are all hard hitting and touching.A couple of them deal with the self confidence or lack thereof of women Big Girl is about Peggy who bought a self help book As the title suggests, she is a big girl Even though the book is telling her that it s okay and being fat makes heraccepting of people, Peggy calls bull and buckles under the societal pressures It is a rather candid keeping it real piece The Replica is about an abused wife reflecting on how she ended up the way she is now Every morning, she looks at herself in the mirror and she sees a shell, a shadow of what she was She used to have dreams and a love of life Now, she depends on medication to numb everything out WYWH Wish You Were Here is about a woman who found a new identity online In her real life, she s still grieving over the loss of her son many years ago It showed that through the Internet, she is able to pretend she is someone else as many of us often do, I m sure to distract herself from the pain of reality That one was really heart wrenching.The rest of the stories center a little bit on crime And punishment One Night Only was very interesting A serial killer, about to get the lethal injection, spends his final moments interviewing himself Organ Failure is a woman talking to a corpse at a funeral viewing She was there when the person in the coffin died She found that person unconscious, in a pool of vomit And finally, A Small Act of Vandalism , it is about a troubled man with a secret He keeps his mother s ashes in a sealed jar but his memories are harder to bottle up.What I loved the most about these stories are the voices All of them are very different The author did a fantastic job of giving them distinct personalities They have their own troubles and basically, what we are reading is their internal monologue I loved how it flowed neatly and the stories are just so solid Very, VERY well written.Rating 4 5.Recommendation To anyone who has time to spare Really, it took me less than an hour to read through all six stories And they are good ones This was a very disturbing set of short stories, disturbing mostly because they all feel real in one way or another You can basically picture any normal average person experiencing these situations so at times it was rather hard to continue to read Big Girl Very sad and I m sure it s agonizingly true for many people out there I almost didn t finish the story but then honestly felt like it was my duty to finish it just out of support for those people who deal with these kinds of confidence is This was a very disturbing set of short stories, disturbing mostly because they all feel real in one way or another You can basically picture any normal average person experiencing these situations so at times it was rather hard to continue to read Big Girl Very sad and I m sure it s agonizingly true for many people out there I almost didn t finish the story but then honestly felt like it was my duty to finish it just out of support for those people who deal with these kinds of confidence issues The Replica A woman who realizes she s basically become her own doppelganger by not taking control of her own life and allowing someone else to do it for her A great commentary on how the general populace want to blame someone else for where their life is rather than taking responsibility for their own decisions in those circumstances Deciding not to take the reins of your life is a decision in and of itself that must be dealt with A Small Act of Vandalism A man having to deal with the consequences of his actions towards his late Mother A very poignant and tragic story of what people are willing to do, go through and live with when it comes to someone we love unconditionally One Night Only A man living out his final moments on death row like it s a reality show with him as the star guest Fascinating, I loved him recounting how it started and escalating to the point he was caught due to him getting lazy I also really appreciated that he expressed regret for at least one of the individuals on his list Goes to show you even serial killers can have moments of humanity Organ Failure My favorite of them all A woman who takes her life into her own hands by not reaching out to protect the one who has been her biggest enemy, even in his most desperate hour I feel like I can relate to this woman Not because I ve done the same thing as she has, but because I ve been with people who ve made me feel like that would ve been the only way out I m one of the lucky ones though, I m sure this happensoften than people realize or want to give credit to WYWH This one made me depressed More because of the poor woman feeling like she needs to be someone else rather than what happened in the past with her son I felt like this type of story is probablycommon that people think.I will be looking for additional work by this author Although most of it was depressing and sad, it s realistic and hard hitting which I prefer ( READ KINDLE ) ☣ The Impressionists ♠ The Private Confessions of Perfect StrangersA collection of six poignant, sometimes heart wrenching, sometimes heart warming and frequently witty first person short stories from award winning author Andrew BissThey say never judge a book by its cover but it s something many of us are apt to do at some point or another Judging a person by their appearance is equally unwise, as none of us can know the personal turmoil behind the public fa ade of a perfect stranger But what if we couldEach of these stories juxtaposes the public face with the private, conflicted person behind it Big Girl An overweight young woman named Peggy appraises her recently purchased self help book, The Bigger the Better The Replica An abused wife reflects on her past and deconstructs the emergence of the replica that now haunts her presentA Small Act of Vandalism Malcolm, a gentle, middle aged soul with a troubled mind, keeps his mother s remains sealed in a small porcelain box What he keeps hidden among his memories, however, isn t so easily containedOne Night Only Denny, a prisoner on death row in an Alabama State Penitentiary, spends his final moments reviewing his career as a serial killer in an interview with himselfOrgan Failure A woman in the viewing room of a funeral home addresses the body of her lover in the coffin before herWYWH Eileen, a reclusive, middle aged divorcee, still haunted by the loss of her son, discovers a new life in the virtual worldApproximately , words pp Contains mature language The Lambs of London sometimes heart wrenching Gangbanged, Forced & Fucked sometimes heart warming and frequently witty first person short stories from award winning author Andrew BissThey say never judge a book by its cover but it s something many of us are apt to do at some point or another Judging a person by their appearance is equally unwise My Husbands Girlfriend as none of us can know the personal turmoil behind the public fa ade of a perfect stranger But what if we couldEach of these stories juxtaposes the public face with the private The Immoral Majority conflicted person behind it Big Girl An overweight young woman named Peggy appraises her recently purchased self help book Edera (Edera, The Bigger the Better The Replica An abused wife reflects on her past and deconstructs the emergence of the replica that now haunts her presentA Small Act of Vandalism Malcolm I Know a gentle Screenwriters on Screenwriting middle aged soul with a troubled mind Mann und Maus keeps his mother s remains sealed in a small porcelain box What he keeps hidden among his memories Island of a Thousand Mirrors however Destructions Ascent (Dragon Ridden Chronicles, isn t so easily containedOne Night Only Denny Secrets Bound By Sand (Dragon Ridden Chronicles, a prisoner on death row in an Alabama State Penitentiary Americas Next Top Model Book 5 spends his final moments reviewing his career as a serial killer in an interview with himselfOrgan Failure A woman in the viewing room of a funeral home addresses the body of her lover in the coffin before herWYWH Eileen The Quiet Adventurers In North America a reclusive SEX STORIES middle aged divorcee Diverting Devotion still haunted by the loss of her son Winning Becomes You discovers a new life in the virtual worldApproximately Animals Home Alone words pp Contains mature language