They stop too soon. Overall then this is a widely varied collection of bizarro short fiction. Some of the stories offer wonderful insight into male issues while others wallow annoyingly in the minds of terrible men who only think they have a problem, while still others set up a fantastic world but are ultimately boring due to lack of conflict.
by Adam Marek
If you are intrigued by any of the stories mentioned, I would advise getting a copy from the library since they will be quickly read, and you can return it when done. Definitely feel free to skip around in this collection. Check out my full review , featuring quotes! I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Sep 03, Stacie Cregg rated it really liked it Shelves: I received this book through Goodreads's First Reads program. In this book are fourteen sixteen, if you count the bonus stories in the back of the most inventive, disturbing, and entertaining short stories I've ever read. Many of the stories are simply bizarre: A group of men hunt the flesh of humans to feed to the patrons of their zombie restaurant. A little boy finds a splinter in his toe; upon I received this book through Goodreads's First Reads program.
A little boy finds a splinter in his toe; upon extraction, it turns out to be an entire fork. Other stories add the uncertainties and comedies of everyday human life into the mix: Another man, after learning that he has testicular cancer, brawls with a giant lizard monster rampaging through the city.
Yet another man is annoyed to find there's a wasp nest in his backyard, only this is a world where the insects are all robotic. The stories are all very fun to read and very imaginative without being so weird that the reader gains nothing from reading them. Each story balances the fantastic, grotesque, and strangely hilarious with the dullness and drama of everyday life, creating a rich and unique experience for every reader.
Thanks for the book! Dec 30, Erica rated it liked it Shelves: I can see why the publishers at ECW thought to give me this collection when I told them that I'm a huge fan of Etgar Keret; Adam Marek cites Keret as one of his inspirations in the BackLit interview included in this edition. Marek's stories gravitate much more to the grotesque than Keret's, however they maintain a similar balance of the mundane and the fantastic.
Instruction Manual for Swallowing lacks some of the emotional resonance of Keret's works, however it is an enjoyable and disturbing fo I can see why the publishers at ECW thought to give me this collection when I told them that I'm a huge fan of Etgar Keret; Adam Marek cites Keret as one of his inspirations in the BackLit interview included in this edition. Instruction Manual for Swallowing lacks some of the emotional resonance of Keret's works, however it is an enjoyable and disturbing foray into the absurd. The stories are weird, fantastic and touchingly human.
Apr 14, Cait Poytress marked it as to-read Shelves: A mixture of quirky tales that are as fun as they are disturbing, each giving the reader the thrill of never quite knowing what the next page will bring. A gem for fans of short stories, a pin to burst boredom, and a surefire way of reading yourself into a smile. Aug 19, Boomz rated it liked it Shelves: A bunch of spooky tales combined ordinary life with fantastical element, most of which begin promisingly but ends weakly.
Mar 04, Muna rated it it was amazing. Strange and captivating short stories. The best I've read lately and I could not put the book down. A dark and hilariously twisted collection of stories that constantly surprised, entertained touched and sometimes revolted me. Involving all sorts of genres but all surreal or dark and about relationships in a way, either metaphoricaly or at their darker, usually hidden edge. It made me laugh out loud or left me at the end of my seat. My personal favourite is 'The centipedes wife' it did not go the way I expected, and it takes a great writer to make me sympathise for a giant, monstrous yet oddly A dark and hilariously twisted collection of stories that constantly surprised, entertained touched and sometimes revolted me.
My personal favourite is 'The centipedes wife' it did not go the way I expected, and it takes a great writer to make me sympathise for a giant, monstrous yet oddly polite centipede! Secondly I would choose 'Testicular cancer vs. Thirdly, 'Cuckoo' for it's twists, complexities and compelling plot. Bonus mentions go to 'Robot wasps' for it's inventive and satirical look at the future and also the title story for it's initiative creativity. Nov 09, Jim rated it really liked it. These are very modern stories.
By that I mean Marek favours slices of life and vignettes to your more traditional beginning, middle and ending approach but I don't see this as a bad thing—I'm very fond of this style of writing—but I can see others feeling short-changed. For example, in the first story a man goes into a pet shop to discover that the pets there are sold by their volume. The shopkeeper is an amiable sort and when the customer asks what his biggest pet is he's taken to see the forty These are very modern stories.
The shopkeeper is an amiable sort and when the customer asks what his biggest pet is he's taken to see the forty-litre baboon. The two discuss the market for voluminous pets and the man demonstrates how he ascertains a pet's volume a large tank of water is involved ; the shopkeeper is most annoyed when it turns out that the baboon is only thirty-nine litres.
After this detour the customer discusses his needs and seems about ready to settle for a Madagascan nightingale lemur when the story ends. In the second story a woman learns that she has thirty-seven foetuses inside her and we watch the lengths she has to go to to keep all thirty-seven. These stories are presented deadpan but there's a lot of dark humour here. A man is injured in a forest and is cared for by a giant talking centipede that fights the urge to eat him because he smells like his now dead wife the centipede's not the man's.
No explanation is given. This is just the way the world is. The same goes for the man who'd plagued by a nest of robot wasps. We do learn that the government has created other robotic insects so presumably the real ones have died out and this is their way of preserving the ecological balance of Nature but that's me just guessing. Most are hard to classify too. In 'Meaty's Boys' we are faced with a unique zombie apocalypse because these zombies can still interact with those who haven't "turned" and "nearly all retained the ability to get out their credit cards.
In 'Jumping Jennifer' a college girl apparently tries to commit suicide by jumping out of a window and all the story consists of is watching her friends deal with the tragedy. In 'Cuckoo' a married man befriends a sixteen-year-old girl convinced that she's his daughter all grown up even though his daughter is still with him and his wife and still a little girl.
In 'Boiling the Toad' a man sees his sweet girlfriend's sexual proclivities take an unexpected and unwelcome turn; the central metaphor is particularly powerful in this one because, it seems, a toad will hop out of a pan of boiling water but if you sit him in a pan of cold water and bring it to the boil he'll just sit there. The blurb on the cover from The Independent says: Other reviewers have mention Dahl which I can see or Kafka which is a bit of a stretch for me.
The fact is I could pick any one of these stories and find someone to compare it to but that really doesn't do the man justice. It's the fact that they were all written by the same man that I find interesting. He has a new book coming out next year and I would definitely be interested in reading more by him. May 14, Candace rated it it was ok.
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Though the stories in Instruction Manual for Swallowing range widely in the stories being told, there is a common feeling they share. In each story, the effort to be wildly imaginative seems forced and awkward. Marek's voice as a story teller is indifferent at best. He seems to care more about what he can force his characters to do to serve his desire to be a fantastical writer than develop them to respond with authentic emotions to the crazy surreal situations in which they find themselves. It Though the stories in Instruction Manual for Swallowing range widely in the stories being told, there is a common feeling they share.
It may simply be that I am not a good person to review this kind of writing, though I am certainly drawn to fabulist story telling. But I felt as if there was nowhere to arrive at the end of the tale. If these were photos, they might be interesting as a collection of curiosities as snapshots of the personages in "Freaks" or something , but as literature they are definitely not enough. Dec 30, Joel U rated it it was amazing.
When our pens bring on tomorrow And deliver the alchemic promises of paradise And the ruin of all human structure- Rot the purists. Rot the hand that hands you only fantasy, Where freedom binds us to a romantic moon, And upright values always have a willing partner. Rot the doomsayers who blot out your sun, Where reckless ambition shined on us, With a cloud of human folly and ruin. Talent in tales of tomorrow depends on more Than just the sun or the moon, It needs an Ass to bray at perfection, And a Fool t When our pens bring on tomorrow And deliver the alchemic promises of paradise And the ruin of all human structure- Rot the purists.
Talent in tales of tomorrow depends on more Than just the sun or the moon, It needs an Ass to bray at perfection, And a Fool to see the beauty in discord. This edition is instructive in that regard. Adam Marek is a master of the surreal and the absurd. The stories in this collection, his first, are imaginatively plotted and compelling to say the least. He has this uncanny talent of slipping unnoticed from the real to the netherworld of dreams, fears and black despair.
His politics is hot glowing, his vision about the future eerily a Adam Marek is a master of the surreal and the absurd. His politics is hot glowing, his vision about the future eerily attractive. Instruction Manual for Swallowing leaves us uneasy yet asking for more. May 25, Lizalou rated it it was amazing. So impressed with this collection.
We're thrown into a different world with each story but within a couple of sentences you're completely enthralled. You're then brutally lifted from that world and thrown into another, and another, and another. Sometimes the stories are predominantly gruesome and visceral, others are poignant and emotional, others are hilarious, and all contain elements of all of these things. Dec 02, Ross rated it really liked it. Adam Marek has a strange mind. It's great though, because this collection of short stories are bizarre and quite brilliantly warped.
From robot wasps, to sculptures in the Tate Modern coming to life, measuring animals by volume, massive centipedes and cats who like ipods - weirdness is ramped up to Thoroughly recommended if you're a fan of Stephen King's short story collections. Adam Marek has a way of just creeping you out! Apr 02, Adam Hampton rated it it was amazing.
Instruction Manual for Swallowing - Comma Press
Strange, surreal and honest. I loved these stories. Marek has artifice in the palm of his hand, and moulds it into a journey through both the conscious and subconscious mind. I'm a slightly different person for reading this collection. And better for it.
Mar 15, Ken rated it really liked it Shelves: I thought this was a nice collection of short stories Thank you for this first-reads copy also! Jan 20, Vincenzo Ravina rated it it was amazing Shelves: I haven't enjoyed a book this much in a long, long time. I love this book. The stories are strange and beautiful and funny and disgusting. Blurring the boundaries between reality and hallucination--from robotic insects and in-growing cutlery to a woman impregnated with 37 embryos--these fantastical tales offer a world where the body is fluid, the spirit is mechanized, and the beasts know more about humanity than the humans do.
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The Best Books of Check out the top books of the year on our page Best Books of Product details Format Paperback pages Dimensions x x 10mm Looking for beautiful books? Visit our Beautiful Books page and find lovely books for kids, photography lovers and more. Review quote "There's a transgressive thrill to Adam Marek's debut collection of short stories that's not simply a result of the potency of the subject matter. Book ratings by Goodreads. Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews.