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To write short stories, you need to be a bit of a magician You need to pull characters out of a hat, breathe life into them, and weave a spell around the willing reader Maile Meloy has that gift Her 11 transfixing short stories are the only way you d want them effortless, genuine, and sometimes unpredictable.In all these stories, the characters are faced with a choice not unlike Robert Frost s Two Roads Diverged One choice usually takes them in a stable direction the other freedom and risk These ordinary people parents, children, doctors, lawyers, ranchers, wives, plant workers get to the cusp of their moral quandary and then choose one way or other.Take her short story The Children A man facing a midlife crisis is about to tell his eminently intelligent wife that he is about to leave her for a younger woman With great suspense, we wait for the revelation to come But he ultimately realizes that he was doomed to ambivalence and desire A braver man, or a cowardly one, would simply flee A happier or complacent man would stay and revel in the familiar, wrap it around him like an old bathrobe He seemed to be none of these things and could only deceive the people he loved Or take the first story, Travis, B A shy Logan, Montana rancher with a limp from childhood polio meets a young teacher Beth Travis who is reluctantly traveling miles twice a week to teach an adult education class He drives miles to pursue her and then goes home unfulfilled with just the ghost of his yearning.Then there s The Girlfriend a mourning father confronts the girlfriend of the man who raped and killed his young daughter He had thought his faith in order was gone, but it wasn t true He had sought consolation in knowing and arranging the facts But in the end, he really doesn t want to know.One the ending story, O Tannenbaum A Montana family Everett, Pam, and their young daughter are driving home with a Douglas fir tree on Christmas eve and stops to pick up two stranded skiers with the fortuitous names of Bonnie and Clyde The push pull of the threat of disorder and the steady thrums a promise of having everything Everett wanted, all at once.Taut, disciplined, and filled with moral force, this collection deserves its designation from The New York Times Book Review as one of the 10 Best Books of 2009. Meloy s stories are flawless the writing is clear and economic, the settings and plot and characters conjured with minimum fuss Altogether perfect pieces largely about adultery, and breaking marriages or maybe not , but also about childhood incidents looming later, murder, rape, stalking and industrial accidents The collection is aptly titled the stories usually take the reader into a situation where a decision is about to be made, and often leave them with the outcome still in the balance In Girlfriend a surgeon s wife complains about her husband who she suspects is having an affair to a friend who of course is the one hubby is seeing behind her back The wife s friend is expecting the husband to leave his wife and come live with her and the husband turns up as they are discussing his infidelities At the end your sympathies slide from the wife to the friend and you re not sure what will happen Same is true for most pieces here So if you re looking for closure you won t like this book.I m not sure why I haven t given it 5 stars but maybe it s the New Yorker where 3 were published perfection, a sort of sheen is created, beautiful but maybe a little impenetrable They certainly emotionally involve you but no flesh is torn in the process, no jagged edges rip into you Which I like in a book jagged edges I mean I did really like the last one, which I think I read before it was in Granta O Tannenbaum a Christmas tree is involved in which a family pick up two hitchhikers and first think they might be criminals they re called Bonnie and Clyde , then it ends up with the possibility of wife swapping, and the sexual tension is fantastic Everett thought there must be a smell in the car from the kiss, an electricity But the husband said nothing All the while, Everett felt both the threat of disorder and the steady, thrumming promise of having everything he wanted, all at once. A lovely collection Mostly about different versions of desire, often adulterous desire, but also about growing up, about children s perceptions of adult desire, and their own first experiences of it Many of these perfectly bittersweet stories of love, loss, and lust are set in a slightly sepia toned Montana, whose atmosphere suits Meloy s tone perfectly In fact, her most exotically located story, Augustin, set in South America, is maybe her weakest I m not sure that this is a huge book, and I hesitated to give it my highest rating for that reason But I found the writing so deft, and the thematic cohesion so perfect the title says it all, indeed , without ever being dull or repetitive, that I enjoyed every second of reading this, even when some of the moments were very painful.Highly recommended to all who enjoy short stories, and even those, like me, who usually don t A worthy American companion to Alice Munro. Eleven short stories built around the theme laid out in the title These short stories in themselves and as part of the whole address love, loneliness, desire, and especially the emotionally conflicted mind A few of these short stories were nearly perfectly orchestrated, flawed, but in the same way that all people and situations are flawed some were slightly less impactful for me one was a complete miss Perhaps in part because the theme was so consistent, the collection as a whole was less appealing to me the further I read The best of this book read as sincere and relate able, with a quiet introspection about it The one misstep for me an Argentine misstep or rhythm less flamenco dancing proportions came off as melodramatic, which I think may have colored my feeling of the all the stories to follow The feeling of authenticity is what I enjoyed about many of these stories so when that was lost the entire construction began to lose it s form. I enjoyed this entire collection of short stories There was not a single dud in the bunch, as far as I was concerned, and I honestly can t remember the last time I thought that about a book of short storiesmaybe when I was reading Alice Munro High praise, I know, but genuine I m having a hard time articulating what I liked about them, but they feel so self assured and effortless So many short stories seem the opposite trying too hard, just soeffortful These seem like they somehow sprang into existence, suddenly and gracefully My brain is too foggy these days to focus for long on any one thing, so I thought I d try a book of short stories These are really good normally I don t like to read too many in a row by the same author, but I m reading these one after the other in quick succession. I love the title of this book, and it fits each and every story Though, I wish, perversely perhaps, the phrase hadn t been used in one of the later stories The Children it was better, I think, to have the poem it s from used just as the epigraph In each story, there is the surface story, and then there is at least one other layer that causes you to reflect after you ve finished the story, causing you to wonder what might have been, if only this one thing had not happened or happened differently I especially love the younger characters in these stories the lonely ranch hand in Travis, B., the soon to be high school sopho in Red from Green, the male main character of Lovely Rita the last line of the story is a killer and, maybe most of all, the little girl in Nine These are stories I could read again and still find something new and startling in them, despite their outward ease and simplicity. I usually don t go for collections of short stories usually the themes are so similar immigrants have it hard, people cheat on their spouses, music is cool, that after the first few stories, I m bored Also, there s no plot egging you along, making it easy to put the book down But I couldn t put this book down The prose is gorgeous, the stories are simple and memorable I read it in a day If you re going to read one book of short stories, make it this one Or Olive Kittredge But this one is really good too. Well crafted and self assured, wonderful stories Reminds me of Alice Munro because her stories are of ordinary people and their ordinary lives, but she sees them with an extraordinary clarity. A friend of mine asked me to read this book as it had received good reviews but she wasn t impressed with it She wondered what I would think So here it is From the title, Both Ways Is The Only Way I Want It I made the assumption that it was a book about relationships, a non fiction book And even though my usual reaction to pop psychology self help books is a gag reflex, it probably would have been better than what this book turned out to be It is a book of fictional short stories about the non realization of love, betrayal of love, love expressed as anger, unkindness, inappropriate sexual desires, adultery I found it to be very negative and unimportant The I read the less I liked it A trash read without the trash One story started out interesting with the dead grandmother showing up at the front door, but it turned out prosaic and depressing If you want depressing non realization and non resolution in short story form then this might be the book for you. ^DOWNLOAD E-PUB ⇻ Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It ⇻ Award Winning Writer Maile Meloy S Return To Short Stories Explores Complex Lives In An Austere Landscape With The Clear Sightedness That First Endeared Her To ReadersMeloy S First Return To Short Stories Since Her Critically Acclaimed Debut, Both Ways Is The Only Way I Want It Is An Extraordinary New Work From One Of The Most Promising Writers Of The Last DecadeEleven Unforgettable New Stories Demonstrate The Emotional Power And The Clean, Assured Style That Have Earned Meloy Praise From Critics And Devotion From Readers Propelled By A Terrific Instinct For Storytelling, And Concerned With The Convolutions Of Modern Love And The Importance Of Place, This Collection Is About The Battlefields And Fields Of Victory That Exist In Seemingly Harmless Spaces, In Kitchens And Living Rooms And Cars Set Mostly In The American West, The Stories Feature Small Town Lawyers, Ranchers, Doctors, Parents, And Children, And Explore The Moral Quandaries Of Love, Family, And Friendship A Ranch Hand Falls For A Recent Law School Graduate Who Appears Unexpectedly And Reluctantly In His Remote Montana Town A Young Father Opens His Door To Find His Dead Grandmother Standing On The Front Step Two Women Weigh Love And Betrayal During An Early Snow Throughout The Book, Meloy Examines The Tensions Between Having And Wanting, As Her Characters Try To Keep Hold Of Opposing Forces In Their Lives Innocence And Experience, Risk And Stability, Fidelity And DesireKnowing, Sly, And Bittersweet, Both Ways Is The Only Way I Want It Confirms Maile Meloy S Singular Literary Talent Her Lean, Controlled Prose, Full Of Insight And Unexpected Poignancy, Is The Perfect Complement To Her Powerfully Moving Storytelling