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Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It
     

Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It

3.3 33
by Maile Meloy
 

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One of the New York Times 10 Best Books of 2009-- now adapted into the feature film Certain Women, starring Kristen Stewart-- award-winning writer Maile Meloy's short stories explores complex lives in an austere landscape with the clear-sightedness that first endeared her to readers. Don't miss her new novel, Do Not Become Alarmed

Overview

One of the New York Times 10 Best Books of 2009-- now adapted into the feature film Certain Women, starring Kristen Stewart-- award-winning writer Maile Meloy's short stories explores complex lives in an austere landscape with the clear-sightedness that first endeared her to readers. Don't miss her new novel, Do Not Become Alarmed

Meloy's first return to short stories since her critically acclaimed debut, Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It is an extraordinary new work from one of the most promising writers of the last decade.

Eleven unforgettable new stories demonstrate the emotional power and the clean, assured style that have earned Meloy praise from critics and devotion from readers. Propelled by a terrific instinct for storytelling, and concerned with the convolutions of modern love and the importance of place, this collection is about the battlefields-and fields of victory-that exist in seemingly harmless spaces, in kitchens and living rooms and cars. Set mostly in the American West, the stories feature small-town lawyers, ranchers, doctors, parents, and children, and explore the moral quandaries of love, family, and friendship. A ranch hand falls for a recent law school graduate who appears unexpectedly- and reluctantly-in his remote Montana town. A young father opens his door to find his dead grandmother standing on the front step. Two women weigh love and betrayal during an early snow. Throughout the book, Meloy examines the tensions between having and wanting, as her characters try to keep hold of opposing forces in their lives: innocence and experience, risk and stability, fidelity and desire.

Knowing, sly, and bittersweet, Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It confirms Maile Meloy's singular literary talent. Her lean, controlled prose, full of insight and unexpected poignancy, is the perfect complement to her powerfully moving storytelling.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Though it might seem strange to praise a writer for the things she doesn't do, what really sets Meloy apart is her restraint. She is impressively concise, disciplined in length and scope. And she's balanced in her approach to character, neither blinded by love for her creations, nor abusive toward them. . . . She's such a talented and unpredictable writer that I'm officially joining her fan club; whatever she writes next, I'll gladly read it."
-Curtis Sittenfeld, The New York Times Book Review

"After two well-received novels, Meloy returns to the short story, the form in which she made her notable debut and to which her lucid style is arrestingly well suited. Many of these stories are set in Meloy's native Montana, and all are about domestic distress-about love, mostly, and the trouble stirred up by its often inconvenient insistence. Several are poised in the limbo of adultery, in the time between act and confession. Always true to her wide-ranging though consistently introspective characters, Meloy convincingly depicts the inchoate emotion that drives people, while also distilling meaning from it."
-The Atlantic

"If life is all about choices, as the saying goes, then what happens when we simply can't make up our minds about what's most important? In her second volume of short stories, Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It acclaimed; novelist Maile Meloy (Liars and Saints, A Family Daughter), who first stunned critics in 2002 with her debut story collection, Half in Love, cracks at our nagging desire to have it all (the answers, the romance, the payout, and, in one case, the late grandmother come back to life) in 11 tightly written, remarkably fluid narratives, most of which unfold in sleepy towns across Meloy's native Montana."
-Elle

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781594484650
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
07/06/2010
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
119,935
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Maile Meloy is the author of the story collection Half in Love, and the novels Liars and Saints, shortlisted for the 2005 Orange Prize, and A Family Daughter. Meloy’s stories have been published in The New Yorker, and she has received The Paris Review’s Aga Khan Prize for Fiction, the PEN/Malamud Award, the Rosenthal Foundation Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 2007, she was chosen as one of Granta’s Best American Novelists under 35. THer short stories were adapted into the 2016 film, Certain Women, starring Kristen Stewart and Michelle Williams. She lives in California.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Los Angeles, California
Date of Birth:
1972
Place of Birth:
Helena, Montana
Education:
M.F.A. in Fiction, University of California, Irvine, 2000

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Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
jbraetzke More than 1 year ago
As an avid reader of short story collections, I plowed through this book in too short a time. I was saddened when I realized I had reached the final story. Much like Maile Meloy's characters, I longed for something I knew was unattainable, yet against my better judgment put off completion to draw out the experience. Focusing on intimate familial and romantic relationships, both real and imagined, Meloy masters the art of creating characters both despicable and relatable. We are all fallible and Meloy points this out in the most gut-wrenching ways. I found during some of the stories, my emotional reaction was followed by an equally surprising physical reaction. I hesitate to recommend this book to every reader, as it points to all the poor choices made for us and by us which we are capable of, but I cannot stop myself from recommending it given the exceptional writing and Meloy's ability to deftly show an interior life and the outside world with equal insight and delicacy.
bigtimenookfan More than 1 year ago
I like to keep a short story collection on my Nook for times when I just have a few minutes to read. I ended up ignoring the other books I was reading until I finished this. I loved the characters in these stories and the choices they had to make.
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Frisbeesage More than 1 year ago
Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It is a collection of short stories mostly featuring men and women living in the fringes of the American West. They inhabit those small, western towns were people still have one foot in older, more simple ways and one foot edging into the fast-paced, more technological world. The stories are written in a plain, honest language that feels natural for the setting and characters. In general I'm not a big fan of short stories. They either draw me in and then leave me wanting more or they fail to capture my attention. Maile Meloy did a good job of making me feel immediately connected to the characters and also of creating a clear beginning and an end in her stories. I enjoyed the feeling of getting a brief glimpse into some of the most intimate moments of these ordinary lives. Books written with the flavor of life in the West are always a particular favorite of mine and she invokes the landscape and people with a tenderness and truthfulness that really drew me in. I did wish for a little more hope and happiness for her characters, but that's me always wanting a happy ending. I listened to the audio version of Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It. It is read by Kirsten Potter and Bronson Pinchot. They do a fine job of narrating the stories, using unembellished, plain-spoken voices and intonations as suits the people they are narrating. The short stories work nicely in the audio format.
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