Something in My Eye: Stories

Overview

"I was drawn to Michael Jeffrey Lee's line-up of loners and drifters, imperiled children, and haunted psychos neither because I want to hang out with these bad boys, nor because I plan to cross the street when I see them coming, but because the invitation to inhabit their minds, to see the world through their eyes, and to watch their often unsettling stories play out in space and time enables Lee to do all sorts of extremely interesting things with consciousness and language."—Francine Prose, judge for the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction

... See more details below
Paperback (Original)
$14.16
BN.com price
(Save 11%)$15.95 List Price
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (10) from $1.99   
  • New (3) from $6.17   
  • Used (7) from $1.99   
Something in My Eye: Stories

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.99
BN.com price
(Save 31%)$15.95 List Price

Overview

"I was drawn to Michael Jeffrey Lee's line-up of loners and drifters, imperiled children, and haunted psychos neither because I want to hang out with these bad boys, nor because I plan to cross the street when I see them coming, but because the invitation to inhabit their minds, to see the world through their eyes, and to watch their often unsettling stories play out in space and time enables Lee to do all sorts of extremely interesting things with consciousness and language."—Francine Prose, judge for the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction

Michael Jeffrey Lee's stories are bizarre and smart and stilted, like dystopic fables told by a redneck Samuel Beckett. Outcasts hunker under bridges, or hole up in bars, waiting for the hurricane to hit. Lee's forests are full of menace too-unseen crowds gather at the tree-line, and bands of petty crooks and marauders bluster their way into suicidal games of one-upmanship. In Something In My Eye, violence and idleness are always in tension, ratcheting up and down with an eerie and effortless force. Diction leaps between registers with the same vertiginous swoops, moving from courtly formality to the funk and texture of a slang that is all the characters' own. It's a masterful performance, and Lee's inventiveness accomplishes that very rare feat-hyper-stylized structure and language that achieve clarity out of turbulence, never allowing technique to obscure what's most important: a direct address that makes visible all those we'd rather not see.

Michael Jeffrey Lee lives in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he earns his living as a typist, waiter, and nightclub singer. A frequent contributor to Conjunctions, he is also an associate fiction editor at the New Orleans Review. He is at work on a novel.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The world of Lee's debut collection of short stories is grotesque and absurd: its atmosphere seems calculated to be noxious to human health-moral, spiritual, and psychological. The winner of the 2010 Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction, and graced with Prose's generous foreword, Lee's stories are consciously experimental in form and content. The title story is an impressionistic address to a lover whose failed suicide attempt has left her in a coma; in "Warning Sign" the roommate and lover of a mass-murderer exploits the prurience of the media; in "Whoring" three men go "a-whoring" to push away the specter of their mutual attraction, resulting in disease and decay. The range of genres is wide, with satires of country music lyrics, Kafkaesque parables about the anxiety of the living to avoid death, and a disturbing dialogue between a murderer in hell and his victim in heaven. Lee cannot be faulted for literary ambition, but he can be faulted for lines like "I came from a place of no history to a place where history has no place for me," which encapsulates the pretentious tone of the collection. Lee is very successful in creating a dream-like, emotionally disconnected state throughout, with intentionally stilted dialogue and plots that tend to revolve around forms of symbolic gestures, physical violence, or sexual deviance. The range of characters, however, is limited to angst-ridden loners and the psychologically disturbed, as though Lee is striving to win intellectual bona fides based on sheer weirdness alone. Lee's stories hit one note effectively, but ultimately fail to offer anything more than self-serious ruminations on death and perversion.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From the Publisher
"Ten of the 15 stories in this collection were previously published in literary journals and anthologies. Lee’s stories are intriguing and highly original, with a bent toward the weird, both in character and worldview. He is a master of voice, portraying the lives of men who are lost, lonely, and disturbed. He also has a penchant for the telling phrase. This line from the title story gives a taste of the narrator’s despair: 'I came from a place of no history to a place where history has no place for me.' His stories display the kind of humor that produces laughs and guilt at the same time. Lee’s chosen techniques are often brilliant. For the story 'Contemporary Country Music,' about a war veteran’s first night home from the war, Lee uses five voices, but all the narration is in the second person, and the result is a tour de force of short fiction writing. The work of a promising author worth watching, this collection belongs in any library with a short-fiction readership."
—Ellen Loughran, Booklist

“Reading Lee’s debut collection feels a bit like watching a black-and-white film by Jim Jarmusch. In both cases, down-and-out characters with odd, off-kilter ways of verbalizing their experience are filtered through the lens of a narrator/director who could very well have “something in his eye.”
—Sue Russell, Library Journal

“The range of genres is wide, with satires of country music lyrics, Kafkaesque parables about the anxiety of the living to avoid death, and a disturbing dialogue between a murderer in hell and his victim in heaven. . . . Lee is very successful in creating a dream-like, emotionally disconnected state throughout, with intentionally stilted dialogue and plots that tend to revolve around forms of symbolic gestures, physical violence, or sexual deviance.”
Publisher’s Weekly

“Lee also utilizes a variety of structures that, once encountered, you can’t imagine the story told any other way.”
—S. Hope Mills, ForeWord Reviews

“I was drawn to Michael Jeffrey Lee’s line-up of loners and drifters, imperiled children and haunted psychos neither because I want to hang out with these bad boys, nor because I plan to cross the street when I see them coming, but because the invitation to inhabit their minds, to see the world through their eyes, and to watch their often unsettling stories play out in space and time enables Lee to do all sorts of extremely interesting things with consciousness and language.”
—Francine Prose

I am scared by these stories. But, as Jean Cocteau’s Belle tells her Beast, J’aime avoir peur. I like to be scared. These dark and beautiful tales offer a terrible thrill, a creepy adventure into the land of fairy-tale madmen. In Lee’s world, they’re just some bummed out regular guys, rendered in the most mealy and exquisite prose. I like to be scared by them, by this talent.
—Kate Bernheimer

"Relevant, startling and irresistible, Michael Lee's own unique brand of black humor makes for an extraordinary experience."
—Rikki Ducornet

Library Journal
Reading Lee's debut collection feels a bit like watching a black-and-white film by Jim Jarmusch. In both cases, down-and-out characters with odd, off-kilter ways of verbalizing their experience are filtered through the lens of a narrator/director who could very well have "something in his eye." Selected by Francine Prose as the winner of the 2010 Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction, this intriguing set of stories is about as far from McCarthy territory as one could imagine; it's refreshing that such a dissimilar perspective could receive this commendation. Indeed, stories is too generic a term for the work here, which includes "Contemporary Country Music: A Songbook," a series of strangely unmusical song lyrics in which a family melodrama is embedded, and "Five Didactic Tales," for which the all-encompassing moral is "You never know." VERDICT These stories may initially seem to resist emotional engagement, yet the adventurous reader will be unexpectedly moved by their characters, like the lonely 14-year-old boy hoping to be picked up by a truck driver and the dwarf awaiting hurricane rescue from a New Orleans bar, who would really prefer to maintain his perch on the counter.—Sue Russell, Bryn Mawr, PA
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781936747054
  • Publisher: Sarabande Books
  • Publication date: 1/31/2012
  • Series: Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael J. Lee: Michael J. Lee lives in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he earns his living as a typist, a waiter, and a nightclub singer. A frequent contributor to Conjunctions, he is also an Associate Fiction Editor at the New Orleans Review. He is at work on a novel.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)