What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us

What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us

by Laura van den Berg

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780976717775
Publisher: Dzanc Books
Publication date: 10/01/2009
Pages: 194
Product dimensions: 5.46(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.56(d)

About the Author


Laura van den Berg was raised in Florida and earned her MFA at Emerson College. She is the recipient of scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference and the winner of the 2007 Dzanc Prize. Her fiction has appeared in The Indiana Review, The Literary Review, American Short Fiction, One Story, StoryQuarterly, and The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2008.

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What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
wightknyte More than 1 year ago
These stories have a perfect mix of the strange and the intimate ordinariness of character lives. Some have more bizarreness than others, but always the right amount. The best aspect of these stories, though, is the subtlety of the emotions. The emotion is always there, and you can always feel exactly what the message is through what the character is feeling, but it isn't crassly articulated. Pressed, I'm not sure I could articulate it myself. Instead, I just sat back after reading each story and knew I got it (whether or not what I got was what was intended).
tension72 More than 1 year ago
None of the stories are cheery or uplifting.The characters in each story are just trying to survive. They are not your typical characters and the settings are not either. You find yourself getting lost in the stories and the characters become close friends. You savoir every word and have the foresight to know that soon it will all end. You finish one story and then feel like you couldn't possibly like the next story as much as the last, but you do. You finish the book and you feel like going back to the the beginning and doing it all over again. I have never lost myself so throughly in a story or book and thought I might never went to come back to reality again. I look forward to more stories from her.
TiBookChatter More than 1 year ago
How do I share the feeling that I am feeling right at this moment? Well, let's give it a shot. There are many wonderful stories in this collection and although each story contains its own set of memorable characters, they are all tied together by a common thread, people who are searching for that special "something" that sets them apart from the rest. The world is filled with people yet if you take a moment to really reflect on people in general, you'll see how different and unique each person can be. This is what I noticed with this collection. The author takes normal people, puts them in unusual situations or locales and then we see what they do with the cards that are dealt them. To me, this is an incredibly personal journey. A journey of discovery, yes, but it almost felt as I was lurking in a corner somewhere within these people's lives. Listening to their conversations, anticipating their next move, etc. It's a wonderful feeling to escape life for a minute and to just observe someone else. My intent was to finish this book in one day. You can surely do that as it's very short, but why would you? After reading the first story, you'll figure out ways to make it last, as you won't want it to end. I've been reading it for several weeks now and although I've finished it, I still find myself flipping through its pages. What I especially appreciate, is that these stories are so different from what I've read before. Many of the stories center around monsters. Yes, Bigfoot and Loch Ness to name a few. Imaginary beings and things such as a tunnel leading to the other side of the world. Reading this book is almost like being a kid again. For a brief while, you can immerse yourself in the story and not think about what is real and what isn't it. I can't pick a favorite story as they were all wonderful in different ways. There's science and art and the beauty of language and foreign places. Oh, and the writing is wonderful too. I caught myself re-reading sections just because they were so well-written. You'll just have to take my word for it. The book is great and it deserves a spot on your shelf.
tibobi on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The Short of It:What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us is a gem of a little book. Filled with stories about women who don¿t settle, yet struggle to find their place in society. Honest and thoughtful in her delivery, van den Berg creates a world where beauty exists in everyday things.The Rest of It:How do I share the feeling that I am feeling right at this moment? Well, let¿s give it a shot.There are many wonderful stories in this collection and although each story contains its own set of memorable characters, they are all tied together by a common thread, people who are searching for that special ¿something¿ that sets them apart from the rest. The world is filled with people yet if you take a moment to really reflect on people in general, you¿ll see how different and unique each person can be. This is what I noticed with this collection.The author takes normal people, puts them in unusual situations or locales and then we see what they do with the cards that are dealt them. To me, this is an incredibly personal journey. A journey of discovery, yes, but it almost felt as I was lurking in a corner somewhere within these people¿s lives. Listening to their conversations, anticipating their next move, etc. It¿s a wonderful feeling to escape life for a minute and to just observe someone else.My intent was to finish this book in one day. You can surely do that as it¿s very short, but why would you? After reading the first story, you¿ll figure out ways to make it last, as you won¿t want it to end. I¿ve been reading it for several weeks now and although I¿ve finished it, I still find myself flipping through its pages.What I especially appreciate, is that these stories are so different from what I¿ve read before. Many of the stories center around monsters. Yes, Bigfoot and Loch Ness to name a few. Imaginary beings and things such as a tunnel leading to the other side of the world. Reading this book is almost like being a kid again. For a brief while, you can immerse yourself in the story and not think about what is real and what isn¿t it.I can¿t pick a favorite story as they were all wonderful in different ways. There¿s science and art and the beauty of language and foreign places. Oh, and the writing is wonderful too. I caught myself re-reading sections just because they were so well-written. You¿ll just have to take my word for it. The book is great and it deserves a spot on your shelf.This book was a Barnes and Noble Discover pick and I have to say that I¿ve never been disappointed with one of their picks and this is her first book!Source: This copy was sent to me by the author, Laura van den Berg.
kmaziarz on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This debut collection of short stories shines. Van Den Berg¿s protagonists, mostly young women, are on quests ranging from the absurd to the dangerous. Often they are reeling under the impact of a life tragedy and using their quests or projects¿playing Bigfoot in a theme park; searching for a rare, nigh-extinct flower near Loch Ness; swimming for long distances in the oceans off Madagascar¿as a way through the grief to the other side. Each story is highly polished and finely crafted, and each character¿quirky and damaged as they all are¿is believable and sympathetic. Standouts include ¿Where We Must Be,¿ ¿Goodbye My Loveds,¿ and the title story.
lkernagh on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Laura van den Berg's debut collection of short stories is a stunning examination of how loss impacts life changes. To say that all of the main characters of the eight short stories are female and have experienced loss of a family member in some manner - by death, separation or merely drifting apart - would be too simplistic a connection. Not only have the narrators encountered loss that they are trying to understand, their lives are impacted by others that have encountered recent losses and life changes of their own. The stories are multifaceted layers of characters and events that resonate pain, and hope for the future, while depicting coping mechanisms employed to face these life changing events. Each narrative, while searching for answers sweeps the reader along with travels to exotic locales in the quest for answers to larger world puzzles - deforestation impact on the lemur population of Madagascar, searches for the mythical creatures Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster and the search for a rare flower.I finished all stories in one short afternoon and was saddened to find myself at the last page of the last story. I can only say that I hope to see further stories by van den Berg published in the near future.
cameling on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Don't read this book if you're looking for stories with happy endings. On the other hand, do read this if you want to read about everyday people who have a strong belief in something, a mythological creature, perhaps, such as the Loch Ness Monster or Mokele Mbembe, or perhaps a magical tunnel that leads to another world. The common theme in the stories is that of loss. Each one of the central characters in the stories have suffered a loss of some kind in their past, be it the loss of parents,friend, husband, or boyfriend. They are stories of the coping mechanisms that each employs to move forward with their lives. Some will find new inner strength, perhaps loaned by a new fish, a tribal mask, an endangered flower, or in believing in a fabled monster. All will grow in quiet, resolute acceptance.
LPieroni More than 1 year ago
Van den Berg's stories, true to the collection's title, have elements in water running throughout. Hannah Tinti's claim that she "finds the tension between science and magic and walks it like a tightrope" is very misleading. Her stories, while utilizing exotic travels to Africa ("The Rain Season") and South America (title story and "goodbye my loveds") and the people and creatures that dwell there , should not be confused for "magic". Her main characters, all female, carry the same voice regardless of who they are, what age they are, and how they are feeling. Van den Berg seems to lack the ability to fully form her characters, and instead they seem to be mere versions of herself. And she must be boring. Van den Berg utilizes exotic places, animals, and customs to try to hide the fact that the stories and characters themselves are flat, underdeveloped, trite, and dull. Her attempts to display "the human condition" are often cliched and overdone. An older woman haves an affair with a younger man, a failed actress wanders to a strange place trying to find herself, many women nurse broken hearts, and so on. For more of this review, and other reviews, go to: laurareviewsbooks.blogspot.com
WillToeffort More than 1 year ago
I started reading Laura van den Berg's "What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves" at Barnes and Noble. As soon as I got home, I read the rest of it. Characters become obsessed with scientific quests; partners are unfaithful. Interesting stories for mature readers.
gmameme More than 1 year ago
This book is filled with so much symbolism and imagination! All the water leaving us is a horrific idea, yet what would happen if we could let go and just float? A facinating read, funny, touching characters all faced with monumental decisions and no good solutions... water has varying weight, depth and boyancy and the human spirit can rise or fall dpending on a turn of a page, or not. Again, I am not fond of the short story, yet the two books I have just finished (Olive Kitteredge being the other) are just that. This one left me stunned at the author's ability to see into the human condition and it made me more hopeful even as I felt the devistation of impossible circumstances. It is just this unique characteristic that causes humans to forge on even in the face of disaster. All of us are faced with difficult choices, with the best of intentions and little more than hope to guide us, we must choose, and then live by that choice. Even in the face of adversity mankind moves forward. While this book may seem depressing at times, it soars in the end. Take the time to let it flow over you. Congratulations to Laura van den Berg!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I picked this up on a lark and am so glad I did. The first and last stories were easily the standouts, especially in terms of originality and captivation. The downside is that the stories almost began to feel like a template after a while, with each one being being like the last. In the author's effort to create a theme it was almost a little too much. However, with that said, I still couldn't put it down and defintely would recommend it to others looking for something a little different but something also plaintive and somber. A great first effort by this author. I look forward to seeing what she'll do next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago