Voices in the Night : Stories

by Steven Millhauser

Paper Book, 2015




New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2015.


"A new collection of sixteen stories that explore disturbing, magical, and delightful phenomena in everyday American life, and the deepest and darkest desires that we keep hidden from even ourselves"--

User reviews

LibraryThing member Beamis12
Quirky, twisty, things taken to the max, out of all proportion. A very different style of writing. I really took to the mermaid story, with out culture and trend setting, people following blindly, I could almost see this happening. A few strange tweaking of old favorite tales, makes this a collection to ponder, think and savor.… (more)
LibraryThing member Big_Bang_Gorilla
Being a collection of stories from the masterful Millhauser. The first half of the book consists almost entirely of stories which treat of Millhauser's signature theme: ordinary communities beset by disquieting, otherworldly phenomena which, whilst not quite frightening, are anything but reassuring. The second half of the book's stories are more diverse, perhaps a bit more experimental, somewhat more variable in quality, but welcome for all that because of the new territories being explored. Aside from not particularly caring for the arrangement of the stories, to me they also, almost inevitably, lack the depth and power of Millhauser's novels. These short pieces are never less than good, but one does hope for another novel someday.… (more)
LibraryThing member Itzey
Voices In The Night (Short Stories)
by Steven Millhauser

The Pulitzer and Story Prize winner, Steven Millhauser, has created sixteen new short stories that will thrill readers of his previous works.

Several stories view the private musings of ordinary people in an unorthodox way. At times you are in a small town that seems to be infected with something supernatural and extraordinary. In other instances you feel the weight of spiritual reflection as a person struggles to define religion and faith.

Family relationships are explored and raw emotions surface. The face that is seen by the world doesn't always reflect what the person feels or is thinking. The reader shares the confusion, disappointment, fear, anxiety, despair, hopes and hopelessness.

My favorite stories draw on popular fables and the new perspectives will dazzle and amaze. You meet Rapunzel and her Prince like you have never seen them before. Millhausen presents an anecdotal event in the life of Paul Bunyan. that will have you in stitches.

A couple of stories seemed to drag the narrative along too long. The message was there long before the story ended.

Overall I found it to be a wonderful read that was savored one story a night; a delight I looked forward to each evening.

One story, The Place, had a startling effect on my psyche. It touched a familiar yearning in my being and I found myself magically transported to treasured memories.

I was granted access to the digital review copy of Voices in the Night in Edelweiss by Random House.
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LibraryThing member SheTreadsSoftly
Voices in the Night: Stories by Steven Millhauser is a very highly recommended collection of 16 short stories. Get this collection! I enjoyed every story, although, naturally, I do have several favorites. Millhauser is a master at the art of writing short stories. He toyed with my emotions and created an almost unbearable tension in some stories or retold well known stories or fables in others.

Miracle Polish: A man buys a bottle of Miracle Polish from a door to door salesman and discovers that when used his mirrors give his image a fresh glow, "like a man who believed in things."

Phantoms: Explanations and case studies of phantoms that are being seen in a town. The presences can look like anyone and always look at people before swiftly turning away.

Sons and Mothers: A man visits his mother after a long delay.

Mermaid Fever: "The mermaid washed up on our public beach in the early morning of June 19, at approximately 4:30 a.m., according to the most reliable estimates. At 5:06 a.m. the body was discovered by George Caldwell, a forty-year-old postal worker who lived two blocks from the water and was fond of his early-morning swim."

The Wife and the Thief: "She is the wife whose husband sleeps. She is the wife who lies awake, listening to the footsteps below."

A Report on Our Recent Troubles: A report on the recent rash of suicides in a town. "We can nevertheless agree that something began to reveal itself in March of this year, about six months ago. At that time three incidents occurred, apparently unrelated, which made a strong impression on the town without seeming to point in a direction."

Coming Soon: A man moves to a small town, but change continues. "The city was a lost cause, what with the jammed-up traffic, the filthy subways, the decaying neighborhoods and crumbling buildings. The future lay in towns - in small, well-managed towns."

Rapunzel: The fairy tale is retold "...she dislikes the perpetual tugging at her scalp. She wishes they could find another way. But the tower has no door, there is no stairway..."

Elsewhere: "That summer a restlessness came over our town. You could feel it on Main Street, you could feel it at the beach." "At times it seemed to us that another place, an unknown place, was trying to emerge from within our town. It burrowed in the earth below our cellars, rose up silently in the corners of living rooms, trembled in the air above our rooftops."

Thirteen Wives: A man recounts the differences between his thirteen wives.

Arcadia: "Are you tired of life's burdens? Welcome to Arcadia, a peaceful woodland retreat founded over one hundred years ago to meet the needs of a very special clientele. Located on more than 2,000 acres of gently rolling spruce and pine forest, Arcadia offers a variety of comfortable and affordable accommodations suited to every taste." "Here in Arcadia we will show you the way. The way is hard for some and easy for others, but it is the only way and you will know it when you see it."

The Pleasures and Sufferings of Young Gautama: A tale of Buddha when he was a young man.

The Place: "It was always known as the Place. Even as children we knew there was something wrong with a name like that you couldn't get a grip on it, the way you could get a grip on JoAnn's Diner, or Indian Lake, or the Palace Cinema out on South Main. It was as if whoever had named it hadn't thought very much about it, or hadn't been able to make up his mind. Later, as we grew older, we thought the very wrongness of the name was what was right about it. It was like an empty room you could put things in. Still later, we no longer thought about the name at all. It was part of what was, like summer and night."

Home Run: A satire of sports announcer language

American Tall Tale: The story of Paul Bunyan and his lazy brother, James.

A Voice in the Night: The story of the Biblical Samuel and a young boy in 1950 who is taken with the story and waits for the Lord to call him.

Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Knopf Doubleday for review purposes.

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