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Reviews of You Have a Friend in 10A by Maggie Shipstead

You Have a Friend in 10A

Stories

by Maggie Shipstead

You Have a Friend in 10A by Maggie Shipstead X
You Have a Friend in 10A by Maggie Shipstead
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    May 2022, 272 pages

    Paperback:
    Apr 2023, 272 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Rebecca Foster
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About this Book

Book Summary

From the Booker Prize nominee and New York Times bestselling author of Great Circle, a piercing, irresistible first collection of short stories exquisite in their craft and audacious in their range.

A love triangle plays out over decades on a Montana dude ranch. A hurdler and a gymnast spend a single night together in the Olympic village. Mistakes and mysteries weave an intangible web around an old man's deathbed in Paris, connecting disparate destinies. On the slopes of an unfinished ski resort, a young woman searches for her vanished lover. A couple's Romanian honeymoon goes ominously awry, and, in the mesmerizing title story, a former child actress breaks with her life in a Hollywood cult.

In these and other stories, knockout after knockout, Maggie Shipstead delivers another "extraordinary" (New York Times) work of fiction and seals her reputation as a writer of "breathtaking range and skill" (Kirkus Reviews). Rich in imagination and dazzling in its shapeshifting style, You Have a Friend in 10A excavates the complexities of love, sex, and life in ways unsparing and hilarious, sharp-eyed and tender.

The Cowboy Tango

When Mr. Glen Otterbausch hired Sammy Boone, she was sixteen and so skinny that the whole of her beanpole body fit neatly inside the circle of shade cast by her hat. For three weeks he'd had an ad in the Bozeman paper for a wrangler, but only two guys had shown up. One smelled like he'd swum across a whiskey river before his truck fishtailed to a dusty stop outside the lodge, and the other man was missing his left arm. Mr. Otterbausch looked away from the man with one arm and told him the job was already filled. He was planning to scale back on beef-raising and go more toward the tourist trade, even though he'd promised his uncle Dex, as Dex breathed his last wheezes, that he would do no such thing. Every summer during his childhood Mr. Otterbausch's schoolteacher parents had sent him to stay with Uncle Dex, a man who resembled a petrified log in both body and spirit. He had a face of knurled bark and knotholes for eyes and a mouth sealed up tight around a burned-down ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

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Shipstead released three novels before this collection of her stories appeared. However, she had been writing and publishing short stories all along: The 10 in this volume all first appeared in literary magazines or on websites between 2009 and 2017. In the acknowledgments, she reveals, "this book came out of years spent learning to be a writer, a process that will never be complete." In a way, then, reading this book is like following along with an apprenticeship. Perhaps that explains why there is not much in the way of thematic cohesion. She's experimenting with topics and structure here, so there is more variety than continuity...continued

Full Review (621 words)

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(Reviewed by Rebecca Foster).

Media Reviews

Minneapolis Star Tribune
Brilliant, funny, and occasionally alarming ... Shipstead seems to move effortlessly from plane to plane, bringing trademark eloquence and humor to each landscape she chooses.

BookPage
[You Have a Friend in 10A] gives readers the inspiring experience of charting the maturation of one of America's finest authors...The finest stories in You Have a Friend in 10A show that perpetual grief may not necessarily lead to great lives, but it can produce scintillating fiction.

Good Housekeeping
A collection of tightly woven, sharply drawn short stories that explore love, longing, destiny and human entanglement. Each story is a fresh discovery and an exciting surprise, and you won't want to miss a single one.

The New York Times
Immersive ... [Shipstead] likes to ground her fiction in reality and has a penchant for research, with an ear tuned to social codes and niche terminology ... There is a generous spirit beneath Shipstead's controlled, sometimes finicky style.

The Guardian (UK)
It's a rare writer who can create a world as convincingly over a few pages as in a 600-page novel; Shipstead's fluency in both forms is testament to the skill she modestly casts as a work in progress.

Booklist (starred review)
Acclaimed author Shipstead turns her considerable talent to the short story, offering readers this sweeping collection crafted over the course of a decade...the resulting collection is an effortlessly transporting and piercing journey...Reaching across decades and set in a diverse array of locations both domestic and exotic, Shipstead's latest will find a home on bookshelves next to the work of Andre Dubus III, Jane Smiley, and Richard Russo.

Library Journal (starred review)
In this follow-up to her Booker short-listed Great Circle, Shipstead displays luminous, exacting language as she demonstrates her flair for creating distinctive characters... essential for fiction lovers.

Publishers Weekly (starred review)
[A] daring, wide-ranging collection...Shipstead demonstrates a remarkable ability to interlace the events of ordinary life with a mythological sense of preordained destruction. Both formally inventive and emotionally complex, this pays off with dividends.

Kirkus Reviews
This collection of short stories, mostly written in grad school at the Iowa Writers Workshop and all previously published in literary journals, takes us backward rather than forward. Experimenting with a range of styles, subject matter, and effects, the collection is uneven...good writing and funny observations about sex are found throughout...Not the next novel we were waiting for.

Reader Reviews

Cathryn Conroy

Ten Short Stories: Diverse Settings, Fresh Characters, Surprising Plots Focused on the Dynamics of Sexual Power
This literary collection of short stories by Maggie Shipstead should win an award for diversity of settings. The 10 stories take place on a Montana dude ranch, a Midwestern college, Paris, a small California town off the Pacific Coast Highway, the ...   Read More
Eyuel

summary , Information about the book .
A hurdler and a Gymnast spend a single night together in the Olympic village. Mistakes and mysteries weave an intangible web around an old man's deathbed in Paris, connecting disparate destinies. On the slopes of an unfinished ski resort, a young ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Short Story Writing: Practice for Publishing Novels?

Person from neck down facing forward and with hands on laptop keyboard Maggie Shipstead was known as a novelist before releasing her first short story collection, You Have a Friend in 10A. A number of its stories date back 10 or more years, though, some having been written while she was a student at the Iowa Writers' Workshop and a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford. The individual stories originally appeared in publications such as Guernica, Tin House and VQR (the Virginia Quarterly Review). So, what goes into the decision to publish a novel or a short story collection first?

For authors, short stories can be a way to practice all the skills that go into novel-writing, such as dialogue, scene-setting, characterization, plotting and the use of voice. A piece can be finished, polished and published ...

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Read-Alikes

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