Pleasant Drugs

Pleasant Drugs

by Kathryn Kulpa


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780922811625
Publisher: Mid-List Press
Publication date: 08/28/2005
Series: First Series Award: Short Fiction
Pages: 219
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

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Pleasant Drugs 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
EmScape on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Contrary to my belief upon buying this collection of short stories, they are not about drugs. Pleasant Drugs is actually a reference to a pharmacy/soda fountain in one of the pieces. The actual thread that ties the stories together seems to be the theme of lost love. The (mostly female) protagonists ruminate poetically about the one that got away, the one(s) that died, the one that is probably going to leave soon, etc. If the prose wasn't so beautiful and vivid, the effect would be completely depressing. Another thing all the stories had in common was that I didn't want them to be over. Kulpa draws such sympathetic, interesting characters, I wished they each had a book's worth of story. I would especially like to read more about Mr. Lillicorp, an erudite ex-professor/current drunk who takes an abused little person home from the circus. "...One tries to stay within the law as much as possible; outside the law one is apt to encounter gentlemen with colorful nicknames and irregular grammar," he states on page 163. He also makes a comment about the earth swallowing him up, finally something not his fault. I laughed out loud at that. What a lovely pun! Generally, I like for short stories to have more resolution than these do; as I said, they all left me wanting more; but if that's more up your alley, I would certainly recommend you pick up a copy of this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The title of Kathryn Kulpa¿s prize-winning collection, Pleasant Drugs, is a stroke of genius. The characters in these tightly written, magical, and reachable stories choose a variety of pleasant drugs to soften the blows of harsh experience (drink, pot, conformity, fantasy). They are decent folks, just about all of them, so it¿s easy to identify, and when you think about even one of your own unresolved issues with others or with yourself ¿ and remember the various safe places you have wanted to go with them ¿ it¿s no wonder the collection won the Midlist Prize for Fiction. The book as a whole is about us, rendered with tremendous understanding and sparkle. The stories are the sweet fruit of a lifetime of writing. Kulpa¿s first professionally published story appeared in Seventeen in 1994, and she has published work in a variety of magazines and journals over the last twelve years. Her story ¿How the Light Walks¿ received the Florida Review Editor¿s Award in Fiction, and ¿Los Gatos Bus¿ was honored with a supplementary award in the Bridport Prize International Writing Competition. Two other stories, ¿Insensates¿ and (the crown jewel) ¿Mr. Lillicrop¿s Shining Moment,¿ were nominated for Pushcart Prizes.
Guest More than 1 year ago
By Anne Kumar--The Newport Mercury Most people have some kind of 'drug' in their life. It could be a woman you fantasize about meeting and talking to, a man who has left your life that you are trying to find, or even someone who brings adventure into your life. In her book of short stories, 'Pleasant Drugs,' Kathryn Kulpa explores a variety of these situations through the eyes of characters of all ages. The young girl hides behind books from her parent's fights and sometimes the world. An old man with a good heart tries to swallow his sorrows with too many gulps of whiskey. Young people bumble through relationships. Women stay with men because it's comfortable. A man searches for the girl he drove away. College-age men and women look for love in all the wrong places. Some of the stories seem commonplace, as if you're sure you have a friend who had the same experience. In the short span of each story, Kulpa uses her words carefully and purposefully to create characters and situations that seem real. 'Maintaining' is the story of a woman named Elizabeth working in a drug and alcohol treatment center. Events circle around her. Her boss is dealing with the death of a client. A woman is upset with her boyfriend who is supposed to be taking classes, and patients are coming in and out, looking for help, or denying that they need it. But Elizabeth is less than affected by it. She tries to do the right thing but is not always successful. She even gets asked out by one of the men who attend class at the clinic. In 'Pleasant Drugs and Terminal Liquors,' a married man who nearly lost his family because of his drinking faces the battle between booze and his family again. It's not obvious at first where the strain on their relationship comes from, but the hold liquor has on him quickly becomes evident. A twentysomething couple struggles through a relationship that happened almost by accident in 'Insensates.' Linda and Barclay meet when she is applying for a job and shortly after are living together because of convenience. But serious decisions and a holiday fight force them to evaluate their relationship and decide if it's worth continuing. But no matter the ages of the characters or the situation they find themselves in, each story weaves several themes into one short tale. The stories all contain a similar element - characters are confronted by whatever 'drug' is consuming their thoughts or their lives. Your drug may be in the book.