The thirteen interrelated stories of Shakespeare’s Kitchen concern the universal longing for friendship, how we achieve new intimacies for ourselves, and how slowly, inexplicably, we lose them. Featuring six never-before-published pieces, Lore Segal’s stunning new book evolved from seven short stories that originally appeared in the New Yorker (including the O. Henry Prize–winning “The Reverse Bug”).
Ilka Weisz has accepted a teaching position at the Concordance Institute, a think tank in Connecticut, reluctantly leaving her New York circle of friends. After the comedy of her struggle to meet new people, Ilka comes to embrace, and be embraced by, a new set of acquaintances, including the institute’s director, Leslie Shakespeare, and his wife, Eliza. Through a series of memorable dinner parties, picnics, and Sunday brunches, Segal evokes the subtle drama and humor of the outsider’s loneliness, the comfort and charm of familiar companionship, the bliss of being in love, and the strangeness of our behavior in the face of other people’s deaths.
A magnificent and deeply moving work, Shakespeare’s Kitchen marks the long–awaited return of a writer at the height of her powers.
|Publisher:||New Press, The|
|Product dimensions:||5.20(w) x 8.00(h) x (d)|
About the Author
Lore Segal was born in Vienna and educated at the University of London. The author of Other People’s Houses, Her First American, and Shakespeare’s Kitchen (all published by The New Press) and other works, she is a regular contributor to the New Yorker, the New York Times Book Review, the New Republic, and other publications. Between 1968 and 1996 she taught writing at Columbia University’s School of the Arts, Princeton University, Bennington College, Sarah Lawrence College, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Ohio State University, from which she retired in 1996.
Table of Contents
Money, Fame, and Beautiful Women 3
An Absence of Cousins 25
The Talk in Eliza's Kitchen 46
Garbage Thief 71
At Whom the Dog Barks 83
A Gated Community 98
Fatal Wish 105
Other People's Deaths 137
Reverse Bug 151
By Joy Surprised
Leslie's Shoes 186
Yom Kippur Card 205
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Picked this up after hearing a Lore Segal piece ¿The Reverse Bug¿ featured on the New Yorker fiction podcast. That story is in this collection, and it is far better than all of its companions. Unfortunately I couldn¿t relate to these characters and the stories are downright boring for long stretches.
Disconnected characters--not easy to identify with writing style--nothing special---lacks vibrancy. I would not recommend the book--does not lead to lively discussion--would not read other books by this author.
Shakespeare's Kitchen is a collection of thirteen interconnected short stories. The theme that runs throughout the collection is one of human need. A need to be loved, to have friendships and to belong to someone or something. Is there a plot? No, not really. At times, I felt as though I was watching a bad episode of Seinfeld. I did not enjoy the protagonist, Ilka Weisz, and did not see much in her emotional growth. My main turnoff to Ilka come fairly early in the book. In the second short story, An Absence of Cousins, we clearly see her loneliness and her need to belong; however, she is rude and dismissive of secondary character, Gertie Gruner, who is just looking for the same. The secondary characters were just that. I could find no relevance for their inclusion in the stories and would have preferred them to be absent altogether. Ms. Segal's writing style was okay. There were several times where I felt that the writing faltered - sentences just did not 'roll' off the tip of my tongue and I found the banter (intellectual or not) that occurred between the characters irritating. She did have some insights about how one navigates through life; however, not enough to hold my interest. I would recommend to those who have read Lore Segal in the past.