This Close

This Close

Jessica Francis Kane / Jun 25, 2019

This Close A graceful moving new collection by the author of The Report How close can we come to love success happiness forgiveness An older woman irritated with her wealthy young neighbor s yard improvemen

  • Title: This Close
  • Author: Jessica Francis Kane
  • ISBN: 9781555976361
  • Page: 422
  • Format: Paperback
  • A graceful, moving new collection by the author of The Report How close can we come to love, success, happiness, forgiveness An older woman, irritated with her wealthy young neighbor s yard improvements, offers a corner of her lawn to a Croatian immigrant who wants a vegetable garden A recent college graduate living in New York City finds himself in a strangely entangleA graceful, moving new collection by the author of The Report How close can we come to love, success, happiness, forgiveness An older woman, irritated with her wealthy young neighbor s yard improvements, offers a corner of her lawn to a Croatian immigrant who wants a vegetable garden A recent college graduate living in New York City finds himself in a strangely entangled friendship with his dry cleaner and her son A daughter accompanies her father to Israel, where, seeing a new side of him away from her mother, she makes an unusual bargain.Through thirteen stories, some stand alone, others woven with linked characters, Kane questions the tensions between friendship and neighborliness, home and travel, family and ambition In writing filled with wit and humor and incredible poignancy, she deftly reveals the everyday patterns that, over time, can swerve a life off course.

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    About "Jessica Francis Kane"

      • Jessica Francis Kane

        JESSICA FRANCIS KANE is the author of The Report Graywolf, 2010 , a finalist for the 2010 Flaherty Dunnan First Novel Prize from the Center for Fiction and a Barnes Noble Discover pick She is also the author of the story collection Bending Heaven Counterpoint, 2002 , which was published in the US and the UK Her stories have been broadcast on BBC radio and have appeared in many publications, including Granta, Virginia Quarterly Review, McSweeney s, The Missouri Review, and Michigan Quarterly Review Her essays and humor pieces have appeared in Salon, McSweeney s Internet Tendency and The Morning News, where she is a contributing writer She lives in New York with her husband and their two children.


    287 Comments

    1. I have hesitated to put down my thoughts on "This Close" as I found it very difficult express them properly. Simply this is a splendid book. In this respect, although the collection of short stories covers very different ground, it is identical to "The Report" by the same author.The stories themselves are written with a tender realism deftly moving beyond the melodramatic or contrived to share moments of other peoples lives that could be your life. My favourite stories were the ones dealing with [...]


    2. I loved this short story collection about people "this close" to meaningful relationships, but never quite connecting. Mothers and sons, fathers and daughters, husbands and wives, friends and neighbors, all longing for someone to understand them, but seeming to always fall a little short. There is a lot of grief and loss and sadness in this collection, but glimmers of hope do shine through. A beautiful and moving read.


    3. In Jessica Francis Kane’s latest story collection, characters are *this close* to making a meaningful connection, but they veer too near or too wide. Virtually every one of these short stories are about ill-defined relationships that intrinsically contain a fatal flaw, which may be in the omission of an action, a connection, an ability to move forward or to evolve with the situation.The 12 stories are written sparsely in deceptively simple prose, exhibiting the push-pull of relationships betwe [...]


    4. There’s a complete congruence of mood and sensibility between American independent movies and some American modern short stories. If Jessica Francis Kane was a movie director she could have made For Ellenor Wendy and Lucyor You Can Count on Me, and if the directors Kenneth Lonergan, So Yong Kim or Kelly Reichardt were short story writers they would have written This Close. The tragic tranquillity of these movies and stories, the sense of actual lives being lived with no guns, no explosions, no [...]


    5. JFK is sort of a scary writer. Because she is so gentle with those sharp blades. Every one of her stories made me catch my breath. But This Close absolutely deserves all the breathless praise it is getting.The skill in this collection is undeniable, but so subtle you forget that that is what JFK is doing -- writing. These stories are not really read they are administered, sort of like from a drip. And after a few doses you understand addiction. That kind of scary.


    6. What Kane does with this collection contradicts so many expectations of the short genre. It's pretty genius. Likely specialists and critics will spend countless hours debating over the work's shortcomings and merits. I hope to be a spectator. Kane's characters occupy the tension-laden middle ground of characters just about to face their antagonists. But they never proceed deeper. Additionally, several of the of the stories only masquerade as short stories when, in fact, they're really interrupte [...]


    7. I'm not *really* a short story person though I always like the more once I'm in them than I think they will. I love collections where characters appear in more than one story and this fit the bill. Kane is a great writer and a great storyteller.


    8. A collection set in contemporary times, tender portraits of worn-down women who yearn for connection, yet feel adrift.My NPR review:npr/2013/03/14/1737300


    9. I gave it 4 stories then gave up. They're not terrible, just mediocre and the best one is flash length, go figure.


    10. So satisfying, these stories. Dense and thoughtful. The stand-alones and the interlinked were equally strong. I could have read a dozen more. Come on, Jessica, write another novel.



    11. Beautiful and precise, full of poetry Delicate and melancholy stories about the beauty of effort and the human condition. I especially loved the last few stories about John and Hannah.


    12. These short stories permeated with sadness, though they were mostly simple tales of familial relationships. I liked how some of the stories’ characters linked. The story ‘Next in Line’ was especially moving in its portrayal of loss and grief - it punched me in the gut.


    13. Squeeze your thumb and forefinger together. Then move them apart half an inch. The first gesture of closeness indicates intimacy; the other, a close call, a near miss, a slight falling short.This is the emotional half inch explored by the stories in Jessica Francis Kane's fine This Close.Characters flirt with opportunities and disasters, understanding and misperception. Small nuances, crossed signals and blind spots nudge events one direction or the other.In the opening story, a young man in New [...]


    14. This Close; Stories by Jessica Francis KaneEvery Saturday I read a short story. I have spent the last few months reading a story a week out of This Close. There are twelve short stories, told with a bit of heartache and tenderness. Some of the stories are connected and others stand alone. Kane's stories are snapshots that bring you up close and personal as the reader looks into the windows of people's lives.We come this close to happiness, love and death on a daily basis. The stories of This Clo [...]


    15. I received this book for free from First Reads.This collection of short stories showcases simple, every day experiences. It is not extravagant or complex, but beautiful in its simplicity and understanding of the every day. My personal favorite story is about a first time mother dealing with the grief of losing her child. Through the grieving process she believes that somehow her toddler was cursed by a woman she had encountered in a CVS pharmacy, and spends many afternoons in the same store as [...]


    16. How close can we come to love, success, happiness, forgiveness?An older woman, irritated with her wealthy young neighbor���s yard ���improvements,��� offers a corner of her lawn to a Croatian immigrant who wants a vegetable garden. A recent college graduate living in New York City finds himself in a strangely entangled friendship with his dry cleaner and her son. A daughter accompanies her father to Israel, where, seeing a new side of him away from her mother, she makes an unus [...]


    17. To be honest I really did not like it. I thought the book in general was too close to home for me as it seemed to deal with suburban life in all its mundane life. When I read I want to be transported to somewhere different, even far off. Not to the house next door.It advertises itself with dealing with relationships and to be fair the stories deal with relationships. However it is not romance or about troublesome relations with other human beings, but more about those that we encounter on a dail [...]


    18. “And yet I think a lot about whether it would’ve been harder to lose her later. She was only a toddler. We only had a few clues about who she was. She liked ice cream and spicy sausage and lemon wedges. She moved her hands when she ate, as if she were conducting. She had a fine sense of balance and enjoyed crowds. She always moved to music. She laughed a lot. But wouldn’t it be harder to lose someone you knew better? Is losing a toddler just losing a dream?One day I spent several hours in [...]


    19. I tried reading this collection with great expectations. Unfortunately, my expectations did not come to fruition. I found the collection bland and without much merit. The stories held no great truths, did not seem complete, and I finished many of them with a shake of my head. For instance, in American Lawn, there is an underlying competition between two neighbors and one of them gives some land to a Croatian immigrant so that he can farm it. To him, grass is just for goats so why even have a bac [...]


    20. The stories in THIS CLOSE are about contemporary people in unexceptional settings, and they are fascinating. I aspire to write stories like this. Many of them have a quality I find most impressive and elusive: no huge event takes place, and yet the interactions of the characters as they deal with small issues make for a gripping read.The first two stories in the collection, "Lucky Boy" and "American Lawn", especially demonstrate this feat. Both are about characters who find themselves trapped in [...]


    21. A collection of thirteen short stories written by Jessica Francis KaneShe picks topics so mundane and normal then turns them into a whirlwind of events.About ordinary, quiet people, with the same hopes and dreams as everyone else but in different situations, making mountains out of mole hills. I totally enjoyed this book. Easy reading, nice style. Each story with its own message and lesson to tell. From superstitions, as in "Next in Line" to relationships, emotions, family and the inner life and [...]


    22. DON’T borrow This Close from a library, don’t borrow it from a friend buy your own copy to dog ear, to return to on train rides and rainy days; to hold a bright blue spot on your bookshelf that catches the eye. You’ll reach for it more than you realizeN’T let the straightforward nature of the stories deceive you. The words seem so cleanly chosen, so obvious on the page, but you will get to the end of each story and wonder when you started holding your breath.Read the rest of the review a [...]


    23. A slim book of simple stories, generally focusing on two themes: The passive resentments that flare up between neighbors (and between family members); and the longing for connections with strangers and passing acquaintances, that don't quite work the way you want them to. "American Lawn" seems to be a favorite about the subtle competitions that develop between neighbors, but I thought "The Essentials of Acceleration" was a more striking story about a woman's refusal to participate in the camarad [...]


    24. Not many short story collections are entirely wonderful. One or two stories, while not necessarily UNenjoyable, usually feel like filler. And yet, Jessica Francis Kane's new collection is quite near perfect. It left me wishing for one more story, which likely means that the length of the book is exactly right. Twelve stories, some related and some standalone, navigate the yearning for connection and the complex interior lives that we all have. (My full review appears on Glorified Love Letters.)


    25. 3.5 I read and loved her first novel, The Report, so when I saw this new book of stories by her I just had to pick it up and read. Her stories deal with women, ordinary everyday women, they could be your neighbors, they could be your friends and they all have the same problems we do. They death with infidelity, they deal with death and they are worn down by life. Some of these stories have interlocking chapters, some have a few of the same characters and Kane treats them all with compassion and [...]


    26. Sharp, deceptively "normal" stories--by which I mean they're about ordinary people trying to navigate life in all its messy complexity, yet they pack an emotional punch. Several of the stories are linked, which gives the reader the joy of revisiting certain characters from different angles and at different times. This collection was longlisted for the Frank O'Connor prize, which--once you've dived into it--is not a surprise at all.(As an unrelated note, it also has one of my favorite covers in q [...]


    27. I found the stories in this collection remarkably moving. They are, for the most part, focused on ordinary people living ordinary lives, but this doesn't mean the stories are simple or ordinary. Their power comes from the way the author chooses to observe these lives, the details she pulls forward and highlights, the ways in which the characters are presented as both beautiful and flawed. In a publishing world flooded with too much escapist fantasy, this book is refreshing - straightforward, yet [...]


    28. This was a lovely and moving collection of short stories mostly about simple everyday kinds of things - about neighbors and families and parents and children and the complexities of those relationships. Some of the stories connected with each other in terms of characters, but many were also stand-alone. The stand-alone story called "Next in Line" was amazing and wrenching and real in its depiction of grief. That one will stick with me for a really long time.


    29. Similar to between friends, a spare novel that explores peoples emotional interiors with scalpel precision. The title gives us a hint that many of the relationships we engage in, no matter how long or intimate, fully help us understand or know another. Probably why the story on the woman who loses a child is so much more fulfilling than the others in that there is a sense of coming full circle.


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