Limbo, and Other Places I Have Lived: Stories

Limbo, and Other Places I Have Lived: Stories

5.0 2
by Lily Tuck
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

In an elegant and penetrating first short-story collection, Limbo, and Other Places I Have Lived, Lily Tuck's characters travel to unknown, exotic places and, while there, find themselves deeply immersed in observation — of the natives, the local customs, the foreign landscape — in an effort to discern some elemental truth about who they themselves

See more details below

Overview

In an elegant and penetrating first short-story collection, Limbo, and Other Places I Have Lived, Lily Tuck's characters travel to unknown, exotic places and, while there, find themselves deeply immersed in observation — of the natives, the local customs, the foreign landscape — in an effort to discern some elemental truth about who they themselves are. Instead, these women meet with disorientation, confusion; they are disappointed by the people closest to them — lovers, husbands, family members. Finally, they arrive at the sometimes heartbreaking but ultimately optimistic realization that the answers they seek lie not in other people or places but within themselves.

Limbo, and Other Places I Have Lived is a brilliant collection from a writer of exceptional poise and insight.

Editorial Reviews

Boston Globe
“These are beautiful, moving stories that reverberate in the mind.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Elegant”
Hartford Courant
[Lily Tuck is] an elegantly economical stylist able to evoke complex internal meltdowns with a simple stoke of the keys.
These fourteen stories are set in locales as diverse as Peru and Vietnam, Nevada and Paris. Collectively, they seem to be saying that however far one travels, it is impossible to escape oneself. Three of the pieces involve car crashes resulting in fatalities. Alas, bad things become less shocking as these stories succeed one another. The female narrators could easily be the same woman of indeterminate age—young in vanity, middle-aged in disillusionment—and generally passive, depressive and self-absorbed. They drift out of bad marriages and into marriages no better, visit grisly points of interest—Donner Pass, the Nagasaki Museum—and try, with unrealistic hopefulness, to keep a conversation going with men who are, by and large, fanny-grabbers. The best story of the bunch is "L'Esprit de L'Escalier," a phrase that has come to mean the clever remarks we wish we had made, and which here has wider implications of regret.
—Penelope Mesic <%END%>
Publishers Weekly
Tuck (Siam; The Woman Who Walked on Water) efficiently and eloquently chronicles the lives of women who undergo both geographical and emotional displacement in these 14 short stories. The characters end up in Peru, France, Italy, Southeast Asia and various North American locales, usually in the throes of unsatisfying relationships or suffering from nostalgic regret. Tuck's globe-trotting adds more than just splashes of exotica; she employs the varied settings to underscore a sense of dislocation. Her protagonists (principally Americans) associate with the locals and negotiate foreign customs and history while reflecting on their own pasts, which frequently include failed relationships with men. In "Next of Kin," a newly married woman ruminates on the elderly man who crashed his car into the church on her wedding day, the obsession obscuring the growing rift between her and her husband. A woman goes to California to visit her former college roommate in "Horses," and her insecurities surface during a swimming outing with her old friend's lover and his daughter. Alone in Paris, in "Rue Guynemer," a woman finds that she has a more vivid image in her head of the World War I pilot for whom her street is named than of her ex-husband. Tuck's style is simple, unembellished, and mixes a range of narrative voices. Though the stories can feel underdeveloped, and a few of the plots resemble each other too closely, these are fine-boned, intelligent, meticulously observed fictions. A talented writer, Tuck honestly explores the ways in which women yearn for and seek out better lives. (Jan. 4) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Tuck (Siam; The Woman Who Walked on Water) efficiently and eloquently chronicles the lives of women who undergo both geographical and emotional displacement in these 14 short stories. The characters end up in Peru, France, Italy, Southeast Asia and various North American locales, usually in the throes of unsatisfying relationships or suffering from nostalgic regret. Tuck's globe-trotting adds more than just splashes of exotica; she employs the varied settings to underscore a sense of dislocation. Her protagonists (principally Americans) associate with the locals and negotiate foreign customs and history while reflecting on their own pasts, which frequently include failed relationships with men. In "Next of Kin," a newly married woman ruminates on the elderly man who crashed his car into the church on her wedding day, the obsession obscuring the growing rift between her and her husband. A woman goes to California to visit her former college roommate in "Horses," and her insecurities surface during a swimming outing with her old friend's lover and his daughter. Alone in Paris, in "Rue Guynemer," a woman finds that she has a more vivid image in her head of the World War I pilot for whom her street is named than of her ex-husband. Tuck's style is simple, unembellished, and mixes a range of narrative voices. Though the stories can feel underdeveloped, and a few of the plots resemble each other too closely, these are fine-boned, intelligent, meticulously observed fictions. A talented writer, Tuck honestly explores the ways in which women yearn for and seek out better lives. (Jan. 4) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Fourteen stories from Tuck (Siam, 1999; The Woman Who Walked on Water, 1996) aim often at intricacy in design but bear the stamp of the mass-produced. In "La Mayonette," for example, about two families on a rural vacation in France, tone (curiously distant) and symbolism (a pattern in the wallpaper, a long-ago trip to Egypt) are asked to reveal-well, a woman's unhappiness, but unhappiness so much without apparent real cause as to be unmoving. The exotic is used also to make more of things than they are in "L'Esprit de L'Escalier," about a boyfriend, a car accident, and a lunch with Alberto Moravia, all told in an inexplicably parodic style ("You could tell right away by the way Massimo said his Rs that Massimo was not from Rome. Massimo was from the north, from Turin. Massimo knew a lot of people"); and it's used again in "Rue Guynemer," about an American woman staying in Paris to recover from a divorce ("At the time when she discovered that her ex-husband was having an affair . . . she was both hurt and angry"), a story that name-drops its way (Scott and Zelda, Fran�oise Sagan, Stein and Toklas) to an unearned ending. Characters get almost to the edge of gaining roundness, substance, or depth, but a thinness in the soil keeps them from growing. In "Verdi," a woman on a dude ranch is preoccupied by the Donner Party (". . . she felt alone. Really alone"); an incipiently religious young girl and her pretty mother wait out WWII in Lima ("Limbo"); and a woman isn't sure how to act when she joins a father and daughter who swim naked ("Horses"). "Second Wife," "Next of Kin," and "Hotter" (set in Laos) are stories of the woe that is in marriage, while "The View from Madama Butterfly's House" isan oddly artificial tour-told by "we"-of the Nagasaki Museum. Published previously in the New Yorker and elsewhere, tales that will seem more empty to some than to others. Author tour

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060934859
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
12/24/2002
Series:
Harper Perennial
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
192
Sales rank:
1,078,903
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.43(d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >