The Rise & Fall of the Scandamerican Domestic: Stories

  • Title: The Rise & Fall of the Scandamerican Domestic: Stories
  • Author: Christopher Merkner
  • ISBN: 9781566893381
  • Page: 165
  • Format: Paperback
  • The Rise Fall of the Scandamerican Domestic Stories Christopher Merkner is a Shirley Jackson for the contemporary Midwest where the ties of family and community intersect darkly with suburban American life In these stories an enraged village gaslight
    Christopher Merkner is a Shirley Jackson for the contemporary Midwest, where the ties of family and community intersect darkly with suburban American life In these stories, an enraged village gaslights unsuspecting vacationers and a young man delays a impending confession, fondling the nostrils of his mother s pet pig Sharp and uneasy, for these inheritors of tradition,Christopher Merkner is a Shirley Jackson for the contemporary Midwest, where the ties of family and community intersect darkly with suburban American life In these stories, an enraged village gaslights unsuspecting vacationers and a young man delays a impending confession, fondling the nostrils of his mother s pet pig Sharp and uneasy, for these inheritors of tradition, that which binds them most closely offering stability and identity and comfort are precisely the qualities that set them back, pull them down, burden, limit, and ruin them Merkner s first short story collection provides a voyeuristic vantage point on fractured lives He has the striking ability to turn the familiar into the uncanny and morph the comfortable into the weird, and, clearly,he s at home in that strange realm In most of the stories, we witness lives at the moment an individual s identity begins to fray, sometimes slowly and sometimes swiftly These changes are both painful and thought provoking to witness through the book s unrelenting first person perspective At times Merkner s prose evokes unease, but often it encourages a chuckle, and his plot twists will leave even the most seasoned reader surprised In each story, even those that only run for three pages, the tension mounts deliciously, many times with no foreseeable relief The true beauty of these tales lies in their delicate endings, which manage to both tie up loose ends and leave everything hanging, so that they are simultaneously satisfying and mysterious Such complexity makes great reading for lovers of short fiction, and for all who wish to witness a new master at work BooklistChristopher Merkner teaches creative writing at West Chester University His work has appeared in Black Warrior Review, Cincinnati Review, Fairy Tale Review, Gettysburg Review, New Orleans Review, and Best American Mystery Stories He and his wife and kids live in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

    • The Rise & Fall of the Scandamerican Domestic: Stories >> Christopher Merkner
      165 Christopher Merkner
    • thumbnail Title: The Rise & Fall of the Scandamerican Domestic: Stories >> Christopher Merkner
      Posted by:Christopher Merkner
      Published :2019-07-23T14:57:23+00:00

    About Christopher Merkner


    1. Assistant Professor of English at West Chester University, Christopher Merkner is the author of THE RISE FALL OF THE SCANDAMERICAN DOMESTIC STORIES CHP 2014 He lives with with his wife and children in Denver, Colorado.


    349 Comments


    1. There are so many talented writers publishing today, and it's not easy to stand out in such a large pack. Merkner does. He is developing into one of our most original voices in contemporary American literary fiction. In a deceptively simple but loaded prose style reminiscent of Grimm's fairytales, he pulls you in to his domestic tales, where his quirky point of view works best. No one looks at the world as he does. Here is a humorous "taste" of his observation on mall pizza:"Strange breadless pi [...]

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    2. This is an astoundingly good debut book of short stories. There is a coherence to the collection - most of the stories are about parenting and, if not parenting directly, the complications and anxieties in families, and there is a similar tone and voice to many of the pieces - but each piece is distinct, and startling on its own. Most of the stories, which range in length from very short stories to much longer pieces, are funny, strange, and at the same time very moving. The final story, "Last C [...]

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    3. In his debut collection, Merkner presents a darkly funny set of stories that look closely at heartland American culture and reflect it back with devastating accuracy. In “Time in Normallstorg,” for example, violent war games at a child’s birthday party are not only condoned but encouraged as a means to develop the killer spirit from an early age, and the one parent who complains gets beaten up (and more) by the party’s adult hosts. In “Last Cottage,” the permanent residents of a comm [...]

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    4. Excellent style, definitely different. The stories are gripping and the horror of them hangs on to you. "What is the point?" was my question after finishing the book. Worth reading in any case.

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    5. Couldn't finish. Could not get past the first story. Images I don't want are still revolving in my head, which tells me he is a brilliant writer, just not for me at this time.

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    6. Going through “The O. Henry Prize Stories 2015”, edited by Laura Furman, I was really taken by the story “Cabins” by Christopher Merkner. So taken, I just had to read more by Merkner. A search of uncovered “The Rise & Fall of the Scandamerican Domestic: Stories”, Merkner’s short story collection, published by Coffee House in 2013. I felt a certain kinship with Merkner. We were both raised in the northern Illinois/southern Wisconsin area; we are both of Scandanavian descent; as [...]

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    7. Christopher Merkner doesn’t waste time revealing his sensibilities. He kicks things off with the first-person narrator of “Of Pigs and Children” worried about how he’s going to explain how he “accidentally gaffed” his uncle in the temple “with one of my musky bucktails on a very simple and heaving backcast.” He needs to explain what happened to his mother but she’s distracted by her Vietnamese potbelly pig. The story of Uncle Ackvund’s demise comes to us in bits and pieces an [...]

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    8. I'm giving this two stars and not one, only because the writing itself was fine. There were a few lines that would have been passably good if it wasn't found in this collection. But I found this to be many things. Depressing, bleak, needlessly grotesque. And boring--god, so boring. I would not have read this outside the context of a college assignment.

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    9. Some great stories with an original voice. Merkner, at times, feels like the surrogate son of Donald Antrim and that’s a good thing. The final story, Last Cottage, is a classic.

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    10. PLOT - In his short story collection, The Rise & Fall of the Scandamerican Domestic, Christopher Merkner uses humor and satire, to peel apart relationships and family dynamics, with a heavy emphasis on people living in the midwest with scandinavian heritage. LIKE- The Rise & Fall of the Scandamerican Domestic came my way via the book fair at the 2016 AWP Conference. I love small presses and discovering new authors. My method was to go up to a booth, in this case the booth for Coffee Hous [...]

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    11. My favorite stories in this collection: "Of Pigs and Children," "Tomtens," "We Have Them to Raise Us," and "Last Cottage."

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    12. A mixed bag of short stories. I really liked the first and last of the stories ("Of Pigs and Children" and "Last Cottage") but was less enthused with most of the rest.

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    13. Had to give up. Seems gratuitously weird and shocking.

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    14. The degree to which Merkner relies on shock value and "weird for the sake of being weird" fuckery to distract from the quality of his writing is profoundly annoying.

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