Months and Seasons

Months and Seasons

by Christopher Meeks

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Product Details

BN ID: 2940013079304
Publisher: White Whisker Books
Publication date: 09/02/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 506 KB

About the Author

Christopher Meeks has had stories published in several literary journals, and a collection of his stories came together as "The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea." He is author of two recent novels, "The Brightest Moon of the Century" and "Love At Absolute Zero." He has had three full-length plays mounted in Los Angeles, published four children’s books, reviewed theatre for seven years for Daily Variety, has had two screenplays optioned and another win the Donald Davis Dramatic Writing Award. Mr. Meeks teaches fiction writing at UCLA Extension, English at Santa Monica College, and Children’s Literature at the Art Center College of Design.

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Months and Seasons 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is Christopher Meeks second book of short stories and I'm now sorry that I haven't read his first, which is an award winning collection. I read these 11 stories through the first time for pleasure and it was that. I like them a lot. The characters here, whether humourous, tragic, or mildly absurd are likeable, believable, and not always predictable. Like ordinary people, but with quirks that make them memorable. I haven't had a collection of short stories stay with me as vividly for quite some time. Even better, when I looked back through them I realized that there's not a weak one in the bunch. The author clearly edited himself, choosing and arranging this group of stories carefully. I've always preferred longer short stories so I wasn't surprised that 'The Sun is a Billard Ball' at 32 pages in length would appeal to me. Or the 25 page 'Breaking Water'. But even 'Catalina' at only 3 pages is a solid and emotionally powerful account of a man's unexpressed grief . I read it several times because what the author doesn't say is as telling as what he does. This is the sign of a good writer. In the first of these three stories, the uncertainties and fears of impending illness and diagnosis are palpable, the tension is familiar and real. In the third a Greek American man, advised by an acquaintance to spend the day on Catalina Island, is angry and judgmental until 'he is surprised to see that the dry hills leaping from the water were like the Chora Sfakion in Crete. His friend must have known.' There's a wide range in age and emotional experience of his characters. Whether it's a seven year old who's afraid of water in the more lyrical 'The Wind Just Right' or a seventy-eight year old playwright losing his home and life's work to wildfires in 'The Old Topanga Incident', Meeks is capable of seeing and writing from very different perspectives. He shows great versitility too by writing in the voice that most suits each story. His use of the first person singular for the main character of 'The Holes In My Door' lets us into the depression and obsessive fears of this recently seperated man who's slipping into paranoid behaviour. Any other perspective would not have had the same power. The use of the second person in the 'Topango' story work well too. 'You open the door' to shouting firemen,'you run down two flights of stairs', 'you grab the play, the only copy', 'you wonder whether you can make it through this'. The urgency and loss are keenly felt by the reader, it's perfect. I especially enjoyed the title story 'Months and Seasons'. The main character is determined that the love of his life will have the name of one of the months or seasons of the year. He won't even date someone who doesn't fit the bill. This tale about putting limits on our own fate is touching and funny. When a woman at a party introduces herself as 'August' I laughed out loud. Meeks creates believable female characters too as in the final story 'Breaking Water', where a model must reshape her entire life after heart surgery. Her inability to get pregnant causes her husband to abandon her, but not until after she has recovered from surgery. He doesn't want to look bad after all. We are rooting for her at every new turn in her life. This is a great collection of stories that I look forward to reading again. Highly recommended. There's icing on the cake here too with 'The Hand', an excerpt from 'The Brightest Moon of the Century' at the end of the book. This novel in the form of related short stories will cover 30 years in the life of a young Minnesotan named Edward. The first of these stories made me want to know more about what happens to Edward. Given this writer's gifted sense of storytelling, I expect this new book will be a winner too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For those readers fortunate enough to have read Christopher Meeks' first short story collection - THE MIDDLE-AGED MAN AND THE SEA - and discovered the idiosyncrasies of Meeks' writing style and content, rest assured that this new collection - MONTHS AND SEASONS - not only will not disappoint, but also it will provide further proof that we have a superior writer of the genre in our presence! Meeks is an observer of the human condition, and that does not mean his view is lopsided or focused on only one realm of characters. True, he does create characters that have strangely vulnerable aspects that alter the way they interact with those around them. But in the end, these are people we pass in the street or sit next to on the bus, or notice in the strange places of Southern California like malls, funky parties - or just 'around' the neighborhood or cities. But his strange creations have just the right amount of 'normalcy' that in our eyes could make them part of the unnoticed woodwork: in Meeks' eyes (and pen) they become extraordinary seeds for terrific stories. In the opening story 'Dracula Slinks into the Night' a dysfunctional couple attends a silly Halloween party where the husband's aversion to dancing leads to a fall that oddly mutates the couple's differences. 'Why not dance?' Meeks writes, 'We're merely blobs of water and minerals procreating to create what? It was a world run over with gas-guzzlers and pollution and cattle prods for semen.' In 'The Sun is a Billiard Ball' we watch the interaction of two couples' lives: one couple is dealing with the husband's discovery of bloody stools while the other couple is facing the spectre of HIV testing, and the manner in which their lives intersect is one of the examples of the Chaos Theory. In 'The Holes in My Door' a recently 'separated' man finds gunshot holes in his garage door and reacts by investing in his own gun and shoots himself in the foot - much the way his bonding with his ex-wife (an obsession that colors all of his thoughts) was punctured by his own behavior. There are other stories of infidelity and the remorse of cheating and regretting. The title story concerns movie extras and their cruising. Cody, the lead character, is looking for the perfect match (such as girls with names like Summer or May). 'Cody believed in belief. He was like the late Danish philosopher Soren Kirkegaard, except he was working in America on a movie set with giant power cables and topless women. He and Soren were awed by faith. Cody couldn't explain why he believed names were important, for example, but they were. He just knew. There were things beyond science'. In 'The Wind Just Right' Meeks dives into a mother/daughter relationship that has more similarities in fears and phobias than either understands. In 'Breaking Water' we meet fashion model Merrill, post op for obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy that changes her career options, but delivers other opportunities. ''We're just 'beings toward death', right? Martin Heidegger said we're all looking for an authentic life before the inevitable happens. We're supposed to face death and have a healthy anxiety towards it'.' In excerpting little passages from this book this reader hopes to convey the spectrum of experience gained from reading Christopher Meeks. He writes with a blend of hilarious humor, significant angst, philosophical bents in the manner many people inhabit 'beliefs' to continue their lives in this somewhat discombobulated world, and offers us fresh views of ordinary people whose lives for even a few moments become extraordinary. Other readers will find personal favorite stories and passages - it is that kind of book, one that has little chunks of life to which we call all relate and find both kindred spirits and avoidable folks with suggestions on how to cope with them. There
zibilee on LibraryThing 24 days ago
Months and Seasons, the second short story collection from Christoper Meeks, is a exceptionally entertaining and thought provoking offering from a gifted writer. The stories are often curious and clever, while hiding unexpected pockets of wisdom and philosophy. Through the use of an inventive method of storytelling, we meet people who struggle with the realities of existence in an often confusing world, trying to put the semblance of order to events that, for them, defy explanation. Here are curmudgeons and uptight husbands, grieving fathers and deceptive lovers, characters that could be people you know, enmeshed in the conflicts of the everyday. Many of the stories have clever asides dealing with controversial subjects like war, the economy, and violence. Though some of the stories are playful and comical, others deal with more frightening and murky subjects like mental illness and impending death. From the wildly absurd to the quiet fears we all harbor, the emotional range in this collection is impressive.I enjoyed the more serious stories, as they showed tremendous insight into the way that people rationalize and cope with tragedies beyond their usual scope. One story that dealt with a set of characters who were plagued with doubts about their health had a palpable layer of tension running through it, and left me uncomfortably eager to see who would escape tragedy. All at once I was breathing a sigh of relief, while at the same time realizing that there was more uncertainty to come. Another, that dealt with a man whose mind was slowly unraveling, was genuinely chilling in it's conclusion. It was easy to see the downward spiral of madness in the character, who seemed so benign in the beginning. My favorite story was the bittersweet tale called Breaking Water. It was heartbreaking, and I found that the author is just as talented at writing from a woman's perspective as a man's. One of the stories was decidedly offbeat, reaching a finale that could be interpreted in several different ways, from laughable incredulity to a more somber revelation.As a collection of stories, I found this book to be well balanced and gratifying. There was a pleasant mix of humor and seriousness that seemed to encompass a huge variety of emotions, from fear and suffering to acceptance and glee. At the very end of the book, the author included the first chapter of his work in progress, a novel written in short story form that follows a young man throughout his complicated life. I found this chapter to be very well rounded, and the main character to be someone who I would like to get to know better. There was a fullness to this story I really enjoyed, and I will be looking forward to reading this novel when it comes out. I had not read the first collection of Meeks' short stories, called The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea, but I was pleasantly surprised by this book, and am now quite curious about that book as well. All in all, an interesting read. Bonus points for the insanely cute cover.
DevourerOfBooks on LibraryThing 24 days ago
¿Months and Seasons¿ is a particularly refreshing book of short stories. I don¿t think I¿ve ever read a book of short stories whose characters and situations seem so varied, even though most were males in the United States. Even the narration style was varied, alternating between first- and third-person, even a story in second-person narration, which is fairly unusual.From the very first story, I felt close to the protagonists. It was as if a friend or close acquaintance was recounting a night, day, week, or year from his or her life. The characters all seemed quirky and easy to relate to. Meeks is very talented in being able to flesh out his characters in very few pages. Actually, perhaps a better analogy than a friend or acquaintance telling you the story, they seemed like stories one might overhear on a train or in an airport. They were stories that did not always give you a large degree of background on the characters, but still made them seem like real people.Overall, I think this is a lovely story collection and it is one that I can definitely recommend.
posthumose on LibraryThing 24 days ago
This is Christopher Meeks second book of short stories and I'm sorry that I haven't read his first, which was an award winning collection. I read these 11 stories through the first time for pleasure and it was that. I like them a lot. The characters here, whether humourous, tragic, or mildly absurd are likeable, believable, and not always predictable. Like ordinary people, but with quirks that make them memorable. I haven't had a collection of short stories stay with me as vividly for quite some time. Even better, when I looked back through them I realized that there's not a weak one in the bunch. The author clearly edited himself, choosing and arranging this group of stories carefully. I've always preferred longer short stories so I wasn't surprised that "The Sun is a Billard Ball" at 32 pages in length would appeal to me. Or the 25 page "Breaking Water". But even "Catalina" at only 3 pages is a solid and emotionally powerful account of a man's unexpressed grief . I read it several times because what the author doesn't say is as telling as what he does. This is the sign of a good writer. In the first of these three stories, the uncertainties and fears of impending illness and diagnosis are palpable, the tension is familiar and real. In the third a Greek American man, advised by an acquaintance to spend the day on Catalina Island, is angry and judgmental until " he is surprised to see that the dry hills leaping from the water were like the Chora Sfakion in Crete. His friend must have known." There's a wide range in age and emotional experience of his characters. Whether it's a seven year old who's afraid of water in the more lyrical "The Wind Just Right " or a seventy-eight year old playwright losing his home and life's work to wildfires in" The Old Topanga Incident", Meeks is capable of seeing and writing from very different perspectives. He shows great versitility too by writing in the voice that most suits each story. His use of the first person singular for the main character of "The Holes In My Door" lets us into the depression and obsessive fears of this recently seperated man who's slipping into paranoid behaviour. Any other perspective would not have had the same power. The use of the second person in the "Topango" story work well too. "You open the door" to shouting firemen,"you run down two flights of stairs", "you grab the play, the only copy", "you wonder whether you can make it through this". The urgency and loss is keenly felt by the reader, it's perfect.I especially enjoyed the title story "Months and Seasons". The main character is determined that the love of his life will have the name of one of the months or seasons of the year. He won't even date someone who doesn't fit the bill. This tale about putting limits on our own fate is touching and funny. When a woman at a party introduces herself as "August" I laughed out loud. Meeks creates believable female characters too as in the final story "Breaking Water", where a model must reshape her entire life after heart surgery. Her inability to get pregnant causes her husband to abandon her, but not until after she has recovered from surgery. He doesn't want to look bad after all. We are rooting for her at every new turn in her life. This is a great collection of stories that I look forward to reading again. Highly recommended.There's icing on the cake here too with "The Hand", an excerpt from "The Brightest Moon of the Century" at the end of the book. This novel in the form of related short stories will cover 30 years in the life of a young Minnesotan named Edward. The first of these stories made me want to know more about what happens to Edward. Given this writer's gifted sense of storytelling, I expect this new book will be a winner too.
LisaLynne on LibraryThing 24 days ago
Short stories are a good way to get a sense of a writer, seeing how he or she handles a number of different plotlines, looking at the way stories develop, the way characters are presented and the patterns that emerge over the course of the book. months and seasons is very different from the recent collections I reviewed by Jhumpa Lahiri and Sana Krasikov. His characters are quirky and unpredictable and the stories are refreshingly modern. From Halloween parties in LA to a summer camp in northern Minnesota, his characters never seemed to do the expected thing.In perhaps my favorite of the stories, "Breaking Water," a former fashion model finds her life making several dramatic shifts. She is recovering from open heart surgery when her husband announces he wants a divorce, their marriage weakened by infertility and infidelity. In the aftermath, she goes to art school, hoping to find some new path for herself. She expects a new lover to be horrified by her scar, but he finds it "the coolest scarification" he's ever seen; she has to remind him that it isn't body art. Her actions and his reponses are unexpected but authentic - people often don't do what you expect them to.Along similar lines, the characters in "The Sun is a Billiard Ball" don't react to their health crisis in typical ways. Albert has seen the telltale signs, but even though his father died from prostate cancer, Albert has refused to see the doctor, pretending the symptoms will go away. Waking up from a one night stand with Jazz, Wade gets a nasty shock. Still, weeks later, he seeks Jazz out and not only stands by her but wants to continue their relationship.In "A Shoe Falls", a man wakes up and decides he wants out of his marriage. He's tired of his wife and her shoe fetish and their bickering. He finds his efforts thwarted when his wife is suddenly agreeable...and that just makes him grumpier.The book is fairly short and some of the stories are only a page or two in length, but the book is still an enjoyable read. Christopher Meeks is a writing teacher and playwright, and has previously published another book of short stories, The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea.