The History of Vegas

The History of Vegas

3.6 3
by Jodi Angel

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"Flawless" ("JT Leroy"); "thoroughly enjoyable read" (San Francisco Chronicle); "wonderful, terrible, dangerous stories" (Pam Houston). Jodi Angel's collectionnow in paperbackreceived widespread acclaim encapsulated by the Buffalo Daily News: "She's got gripping tales to tell, and each comes across as that rare bird of fictionthe utterly fresh


"Flawless" ("JT Leroy"); "thoroughly enjoyable read" (San Francisco Chronicle); "wonderful, terrible, dangerous stories" (Pam Houston). Jodi Angel's collectionnow in paperbackreceived widespread acclaim encapsulated by the Buffalo Daily News: "She's got gripping tales to tell, and each comes across as that rare bird of fictionthe utterly fresh story." The teenaged characters face situations spiraling out of their control, and each totters between disaster and grace. "This precarious world is putty in Jodi Angel's nimble hands," hails the Los Angeles Times. Written with raw directness and understanding that makes these ten stories impossible to forget, The History of Vegas is a must-read debut.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Jodi Angel's first collection of fiction, "The History of Vegas," is a promising beginning and a thoroughly enjoyable read. Though the title may bring to mind the opulent Las Vegas of yesteryear, that vision is only the backdrop to a grittier, almost film noir present, where only aging gangsters remember the good old days.

These 10 stories are mostly populated by street-smart adolescents trapped in a continual "now," but no matter how smart they are, they lack the experience needed to keep them from being devoured by a hungry, heartless world.

In essence, Angel is writing a kind of abbreviated naturalism, the kind of fiction that writers like Raymond Carver and Larry Brown honed to perfection. Angel excels at it as well, whether the setting is the urban jungle of Las Vegas, the dirt roads of the lonely, expansive West or even the seemingly placid suburbs. " -San Francisco Chronicle Book Review "

This precarious world is putty in Jodi Angel's nimble hands. Really bad parenting lurks in the corners of most of these stark stories, the kind that makes clever survivors out of innocent children. In "Portions," a teenager serves as substitute mother to her grossly overweight little sister, who is threatened with suspension from school if she does not show up for swim class. Rather than solve the problem in an adult way, big sister teaches her sibling the fine art of binging and purging.

In "The History of Vegas," a 17-year-old boy is caught in the middle when his mother lures her sister away from a violent husband. In Angel's world, children are frequently used as human shields — white flags of purity held up as a last defense against completely sordid lives. Several stories have coffee cans filled with life savings or next month's rent lurking in the corner. They inevitably end up empty, and not for the right reasons. Angel's metaphors are often the only tentative details that tether her characters to the real world: "I felt Husso's hand slide off my back like a fish sinking from the surface of a pond," thinks a character in "Supplement. "There were clouds stacking up against the mountains and the sky had dulled." The future, according to Jodi Angel, does not often look possible, much less bright." -Los Angeles Times Book Review

Angel's tales are, each and every one, brutal kicks to the gut, harsh and voyeuristic reminders that the world is a messed-up and dangerous place where even the absolutions of youth offer little sanctuary. -San Diego Union-Tribune

Product Details

Chronicle Books LLC
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 7.75(h) x 0.50(d)

Meet the Author

Jodi Angel won a skateboard in a writing contest at age seven. She lives in Northern California and teaches creative writing at UC Davis.

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The History of Vegas 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
marybradford More than 1 year ago
I think that the other reviewer didn't actually read the stories with any kind of insight into characters and situation. The writer seems to put the weight of the ending of the stories onto the reader, and if you are unwilling to piece together the probably outcomes then you will probably feel slighted. The writing is stark and direct. Do not base your interest in this book on the reviews from other writers---base it on your desire to read great characterization and stories that are realistic, sad, and plausible for characters who exist in marginal lives where the bar has been set very low. I think the other reviewer of this book has been misguided and is not a very deep reader.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A sharp cut into the lives of young adults left to decide their own fate, History of Vegas tells the truth like few authors do. 'Whistle Pig' asks you to sympathize with characters some may consider seedy or headed to disaster. But you find yourself following their course with compassion and understanding that once reflected on can leave you uncomfortable. The stories grow to become a part of you. They stay in your mind for days, like questions unanswered or that song you just can't remember the name of. If you aren't brave enough to question your own judgement and expand your vision, don't read 'History.' But, if you are brave and honest and ready to see life, beautiful, real and bleeding, you will love this book.
Selimahill More than 1 year ago
If you are lured by the one word review by JT Leroy as I was stop just don't buy this crap, I have not read the whole review but I'm sure the gist of it was not 'flawless'. The Characters are vague, brief, empty and above all forgettable. Each chapter is between 10 and 20 pages and each is a seperate story, all irrelevant and uninteresting, each has a strong build up to something, which is either blatantly disgusting (This coming from a Burroughs fan) or the chapter conveniently (For the writer) ends just before what the whole thing was leading to. This is just sad on the writers part as it's obvious she just doesn't have the bravery or language to finish the picture, instead just leaving you with a little trailing tension you hope through out the read will lead to something good. I WANT MY MONEY BACK!