Stay Up With Me

Stay Up With Me

Tom Barbash / Aug 21, 2019

Stay Up With Me A deeply humane piercingly funny and already widely acclaimed new short story collection that features men and women we all know or might be navigating a world made unfamiliar by a lapse in judgmen

  • Title: Stay Up With Me
  • Author: Tom Barbash
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 343
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • A deeply humane, piercingly funny, and already widely acclaimed new short story collection that features men and women we all know or might be, navigating a world made unfamiliar by a lapse in judgment, a change of fortune, by loss, or by love.The stories in Tom Barbash s evocative and often darkly funny collection explore the myriad ways we try to connect to one another aA deeply humane, piercingly funny, and already widely acclaimed new short story collection that features men and women we all know or might be, navigating a world made unfamiliar by a lapse in judgment, a change of fortune, by loss, or by love.The stories in Tom Barbash s evocative and often darkly funny collection explore the myriad ways we try to connect to one another and to the sometimes cruel world around us The newly single mother in The Break interferes with her son s love life over his Christmas vacation from college The anxious young man in Balloon Night persists in hosting his and his wife s annual watch the Macy s Thanksgiving Day Parade floats be inflated party, while trying to keep the myth of his marriage equally afloat Somebody s Son, tells the story of a young man guiltily conning an elderly couple out of their home in the Adirondacks, and the young narrator in The Women watches his widowed father become the toast of Manhattan s mid life dating scene, as he struggles to find his own footing.The characters in Stay Up with Me find new truths when the old ones have given out or shifted course In the tradition of classic story writer like John Cheever and Tobias Wolff, Barbash laces his narratives with sharp humor, psychological acuity, and pathos, creating deeply resonant and engaging stories that pierce the heart and linger in the imagination.

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    About "Tom Barbash"

      • Tom Barbash

        Tom Barbash is the author of the award winning novel The Last Good Chance and the non fiction book On Top of the World Cantor Fitzgerald, Howard Lutnick, and 9 11 A Story of Loss and Renewal, which was a New York Times bestseller His stories and articles have been published in Tin House, McSweeney s, Virginia Quarterly Review, and other publications, and have been performed on National Public Radio s Selected Shorts series He currently teaches in the MFA program at California College of the Arts He grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and now lives in Marin County, California.


    1. I LOVED these short stories! The first story, "The Break" was so engaging & enjoyable, that when it ended, I knew I was in good hands. I could sit back and enjoy the rest of the ride. I'm thrilled to have discovered Tom Barbash! I highly recommend reading him! He writes with gentle humor --while his stories explore the complexities and consequences of every day lives.loss, loneliness, struggles with trust, failing marriage, regret, resentment, infidelity, and growing up. Many of the stories [...]

    2. The characters in Tom Barbash’s collection of 13 stories have a bad case of the “D’s: depression, dysfunction, disorder, divorce and even death. They are “regular folk” who you would likely meet on any given day, and not even be aware of what’s going on behind their façade. But Mr. Barbash masterfully reveals their inner life.In a short story collection, every reader will gravitate toward his or her favorites, and so it is here. In The Break, a divorced writer obsessively interferes [...]

    3. I was very impressed with this excellent collection of short stories by Tom Barbash. I had never heard of this author before but I read a review of this book somewhere (can't remember where) and I ordered it immediately. There isn't a bad story in the lot. All of them are great and thought-provoking. Mr. Barbash has a way of dealing with issues of intimacy and its dance of distance and pursuit that is evident in many of the stories. Most all the stories give the background of the characters' liv [...]

    4. cool, clear, wonderful collection of stories, about family ties and connections and things going wrong. Set in New York and New York state mainly, they reminded me of Cheever and occasionally Carver - yes that good - although more academic/middle class than Carver. Occasionally you think 'first world problem' but so what? It's hard to pinpoint why they work so well, but maybe it's because of their accuracy and precision: pared back but still complex, moving but not manipulative. Highly recommend [...]

    5. "The Break" A mother interferes with her son love life, thinking that he is too young to be dating. Despite the fact that he is an adult, she cannot fathom the thought of him falling love. While her husband does not see anything wrong with their child growing up, she still sees her son as the boy that she groomed and raised. The joy of motherhood stings her in more ways than one, eventually she would have to warm up to her son seeing girls. However her erratic behavior leads to her marriage fall [...]

    6. In and out of being brilliant, these short stories vaguely recall Raymond Carver.The characters examine the fault lines in their most intimate relationships revealing unhealthy attachments, jealousies and a simmering, quiet desperation. I don't like the characters one iota, but they can be uncomfortably relatable and it should be mentioned that this author writes beautifully. I'm not rating this one high simply because there was a real disconnect with the bourgeois characters, the skiing and res [...]

    7. This is a really rich and varied collection, masterful in its restraint. It allows the reader the insights, and the characters' misapprehensions and misunderstandings make them seem so human. Some of these stories could be in a Cheever collection--"Balloon Day," for instance--while others (e.g. "Birthday Girl") demonstrate Barbash's technical daring. And amid all these car crashes and breakdowns and delusions, there's the sweet, funny "Letters from the Academy," which almost killed me. These are [...]

    8. You can also read the review on my blogStay Up With Me is terrific short story collection, sometimes moving, sometimes humorous, tremendously well-written, and incredibly compelling. Each of the 13 stories in this collection hit me in a different place; they mostly made me feel, think and definitely reconsider some things and I think I would love to read a full-length novel about the characters in most of the stories. It kinda reminds me of Carver’s short stories and I love Carver.But let me t [...]

    9. I'd rate this 4.5 stars.I'm not honestly sure where I heard about this book, but wherever it was, I'd like to say thanks. Stay Up With Me was a pretty terrific short story collection, sometimes moving, sometimes humorous, tremendously well-written, and incredibly compelling. Each of the 13 stories in this collection hit me in a different place; they made me think and made me feel, and I think I would love to read a full-length novel about the characters in most of the stories.My favorite in the [...]

    10. Tom Barbash is a familiar name in most of the top literary journals "Stay Up With Me" is a great representation of his work. Barbash's style is minimalist he relies on nuanced characters to drive his stories rather than action or plot. He is more concerned with how people manage the aftermath of big events rather than the events themselves. The familiar theme in many of the stories in this collection is self-deception and Barbash returns to that again and again, but from all sorts of different a [...]

    11. A good collectionTom Barbash's collection of 13 stories has been nominated for the 2015 Folio Prize. Each of the stories has one central viewpoint, sometimes given in third person and sometimes first. The main characters vary in age and gender but in almost every case they tend to be dealing with some form of loss - sometimes romantic loss, but often grief over the loss of a parent or a child. However that makes the collection sound more downbeat than it is. While some of the stories are quite m [...]

    12. I’m really mixed about this. Individually, quite a few stories in this collection really worked for me – actually, all except maybe two. Yet I didn’t feel wowed by the collection as a whole. Interestingly, my gut reaction to the collection was to assume that Barbash was an early 20-something who was in or who just completed a creative writing program. But then, when I looked into his bio, I was obviously way off base. He’s an experienced journalist and one who has shown himself quite abl [...]

    13. I admit that usually short stories are not for me. Even so, I like to give it a try from time to time and I tend to find authors that make me fall in love with their work. For that reason and since Tom Barbash is so much praised, I wanted to give a try to the Stay Up With Me collection.Unfortunately, I didn't find any connection with the stories and the characters. All of them all started with good premises that made me curious and anxious to keep reading but then there was always something miss [...]

    14. I'd originally come upon this book from a list entitled "The Most Depressing Modern Fiction" or something to that effect, and being a downbeat guy with a mild obsession with the cynical and the depressive in modernity, I picked it up.Now, it's a solid read. Barbash tells his stories well and the depressive dread is skillfully delineated. But he does have a few weaknesses, namely his propensity for ending his stories on the symbolic and the metaphorical. These aren't bad ways to end a story per s [...]

    15. I have to admit that my opinion of the collection was not very high when I was a couple of stories into the book. Neither of them had a spectacular or action-filled or poignant ending, and I found myself wondering what the point was.A couple of more stories later, I began to understand that the author was illustrating the humanity and ongoing struggle of the characters in such a well-crafted manner that it was easy to miss. In my opinion, each story is about life in a different way, and each of [...]

    16. It's rare for a collection of this many stories with a consistent theme to maintain quality throughout. In each, there is an element of varying degrees of PTSD, with central characters dealing with traumatic loss or upheaval. There is usually another close relative or friend, the catalyst of the pain, but these are inwardly constructed. New Yorkers are prominent, with outwardly enviable lives. There are no economic or social disasters for any of them -- their struggles are emotional. Very fine.

    17. Highly recommend. Short stories (or at least the ones I read) tend to be populated with lost, sad characters. Barbash's collection has no shortage of these, but most of them are struggling, moving forward, and you leave them with some hope. Many of the stories touch on themes of intentions; "Paris" stands out as a unique exploration in this vein and a story I'll want to re-read.

    18. 3.75. I really enjoyed most of these stories. I think the collection deserves more attention from me, though, as I am certain these stories are deeper than they seem at face value. There were clearly themes that were threaded throughout, so I'm looking forward to book club discussion .

    19. Very nice, cohesive collection of stories. A few of them managed to knock the wind out of me. Glad I picked it up.

    20. One hell of a read! What the stories in this nifty little collection lack in narrative thrust, they more than make up for in sheer brevity!

    21. I'm not a fan of short stories but every now and then I try again with another collection. Many of the short stories in this collection were about difficult parent and child relationships and also adults who had experienced very difficult childhoods. Many of them were set in upstate New York (in winter) and I think all of the characters were lonely or depressed. There were thirteen short stories in this collection but I only found one of them, the last one (The Women), to be completely rounded. [...]

    22. I quite like “The Break” and “Somebody’s Son”, one star each for them. The rest of the short stories are boring or forgettable or just plain weird. The writing was not bad, but I am afraid this book is not for me.

    23. Collection of short stories (mostly set in the Northeast) about people longing for connection. A variety of narrators & POV, albeit the book skews white male in many ways via its characters & narrative.

    24. The two stories I did read were decent: interesting, fairly well-written. But I think this is where I stop picking up short story collections, because it's really not working for me.

    25. I often read short stories alongside a novel, something concise and manageable to serve as a change of pace from my main read. The stories in Stay Up With Me fulfil this role perfectly: several are poignant and melancholy; one or two are painfully amusing; all are very enjoyable indeed.This collection consists of thirteen stories, some of which have already appeared in literary journals and publications (including McSweeney’s and the Chicago Tribune). As with other collections I’ve reviewed, [...]

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