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Not a Chance: Fictions

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Ranging in location from St. Germain and Mexico City to a coldly bucolic New England, these individually wrapped dreams record the struggle of contemporary consciousness for placement and connection. Treat’s narrators--American, female, mostly single--are cultural refugees given to obsession and passionate longing. In the complex title story, a woman attempts to imagine Ranging in location from St. Germain and Mexico City to a coldly bucolic New England, these individually wrapped dreams record the struggle of contemporary consciousness for placement and connection. Treat’s narrators--American, female, mostly single--are cultural refugees given to obsession and passionate longing. In the complex title story, a woman attempts to imagine her friend’s love affair, succeeding with such vividness that woman and friend begin to merge. In “Radio Disturbance” a character gradually becomes so attached to her therapist’s voice that she insinuates herself into the woman’s home. These are haunting, intricately textured fictions that will lift you high above familiar ground.


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Ranging in location from St. Germain and Mexico City to a coldly bucolic New England, these individually wrapped dreams record the struggle of contemporary consciousness for placement and connection. Treat’s narrators--American, female, mostly single--are cultural refugees given to obsession and passionate longing. In the complex title story, a woman attempts to imagine Ranging in location from St. Germain and Mexico City to a coldly bucolic New England, these individually wrapped dreams record the struggle of contemporary consciousness for placement and connection. Treat’s narrators--American, female, mostly single--are cultural refugees given to obsession and passionate longing. In the complex title story, a woman attempts to imagine her friend’s love affair, succeeding with such vividness that woman and friend begin to merge. In “Radio Disturbance” a character gradually becomes so attached to her therapist’s voice that she insinuates herself into the woman’s home. These are haunting, intricately textured fictions that will lift you high above familiar ground.

30 review for Not a Chance: Fictions

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ben

    It’s damn appropriate that my first review after a long break from said activity is for a book by the individual who may have been the most helpful (and downright nicest) in making my first transition to serious goodreadin’ an easy one. We are incapable of knowing most of the small but consequential factors that combine and interact to affect our fates, but I know enough to say that if Jessica wasn’t so damn nice and engaging when I first tested out the kooky cultural waters of the GR World, I c It’s damn appropriate that my first review after a long break from said activity is for a book by the individual who may have been the most helpful (and downright nicest) in making my first transition to serious goodreadin’ an easy one. We are incapable of knowing most of the small but consequential factors that combine and interact to affect our fates, but I know enough to say that if Jessica wasn’t so damn nice and engaging when I first tested out the kooky cultural waters of the GR World, I could easily be one of those non-voters/non-reviewers who only use GR to keep track of books. (You know, one of those others….) So, you know, frequent goodreader and all, I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise that in her stories Jessica dives into -- and spends some time playing in -- the heads of nutcases. You have the benefit of perceiving events through odd -- but very real and human -- angles, often in humorous ways. Or, as the narrator in the short-story Honda so eloquently states, “The truth is, sometimes you just want to let loose some zoo animals to tromp on the petunias and munch on the roses.” Yet the stories don’t shy from the consequential darkness that comes from viewing life honestly. "That was the summer I saw a man die.” is the start to my favorite story in this collection, The Summer of Zubeyde, which is also one of my favorite stories of all-time. The entire time I read it, I had a resonance of feeling -- a knowing -- that the main character was having a powerful, indescribable, yet exact experience that I’d had before, somewhere, that I couldn’t quite pin down. It was one of those feelings that can’t be described by some German word or anything else; the kind of unique feeling you can only get through hearing the experience of another. It was dark, and painful, and inspiring; it was everything I could ever want from a story. But really I loved this whole damn book. And what better way to describe that love than through Jessica’s own words, straight from one of her stories. “What is love after all, but an image we carry inside ourselves?"

  2. 5 out of 5

    MJ Nicholls

    Tremendously entertaining and quietly disturbing “fictions” (or stories, as they used to call ‘em) from another sneakily talented Goodreads dallier. Opening with ‘Ants,’ in which the narrator’s boyfriend ingests four or five of the titular insects as a secret pleasure, the story opens up into a darkly dissolute tale of a homosexual love affair between two teenagers in St.-Germain, with some of the sparkiest dialogue of the collection. Tortured romance, estrangement and melancholy longing are the Tremendously entertaining and quietly disturbing “fictions” (or stories, as they used to call ‘em) from another sneakily talented Goodreads dallier. Opening with ‘Ants,’ in which the narrator’s boyfriend ingests four or five of the titular insects as a secret pleasure, the story opens up into a darkly dissolute tale of a homosexual love affair between two teenagers in St.-Germain, with some of the sparkiest dialogue of the collection. Tortured romance, estrangement and melancholy longing are the kernel of many of these fictions, as in the title story where the narrator investigates a doomed Mexican romance, and the achingly honest ‘His Sweater,’ where yearning and estrangement has become a (financially) dangerous form of mania. The excellent novella ‘Honda’ is the most “experimental” of the stories (this being an FC2 publication)—a surreal and lyrical series of shorter fictions whose characters, images and storylines develop in canny ways, reminiscent of the witty sleight-of-hand of Señor Barthelme. Among the stories in a more realist mode include ‘The Summer of Zubeyde’ and ‘Nicaraguan Birds,’ both presumably more autobiographical in content and more thoughtful and serious in tone. Lightly and darkly humorous, full of dreamy and desperate characters, this collection is fabulous fodder for the literate lost-soul (i.e. the serious reader) in your life (i.e. you).

  3. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    What I loved best about these stories was that they made me so uncomfortable at times. I often found myself laughing out loud one minute, and then widening my eyes in shock right after. I loved the feeling of being inside the heads of the female protagonists. Can’t a lot of us relate to some of their thoughts and/or feelings? The difference is that we may not act on them, while these women do. This is just the type of collection I love. The women are deviant, perhaps not "all there". The list of What I loved best about these stories was that they made me so uncomfortable at times. I often found myself laughing out loud one minute, and then widening my eyes in shock right after. I loved the feeling of being inside the heads of the female protagonists. Can’t a lot of us relate to some of their thoughts and/or feelings? The difference is that we may not act on them, while these women do. This is just the type of collection I love. The women are deviant, perhaps not "all there". The list of road kill in "Honda" still makes me giggle when I think about it. Reading this collection helped me rediscover my love for the short story. I’ve been reading a lot of novels lately, and had forgotten how satisfying a good short story can be. Fortunately for me, Jessica Treat’s book was full of them.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    Jessica Treat has been a wonderful GR friend, so it was with a little trepidation that I ordered two of her story collections and began to read them, ending with this paperback. Would I like the stories? And if I didn't, could I rate it fairly? There was no need to worry; Treat's work is good, very good. She lets characters begin when they are ready and end when they are through, no matter how long or short their stories are. That, right there, is a rare talent, especially with short story col Jessica Treat has been a wonderful GR friend, so it was with a little trepidation that I ordered two of her story collections and began to read them, ending with this paperback. Would I like the stories? And if I didn't, could I rate it fairly? There was no need to worry; Treat's work is good, very good. She lets characters begin when they are ready and end when they are through, no matter how long or short their stories are. That, right there, is a rare talent, especially with short story collections. And, because Jessica allows the people in her stories breathing room, sometimes they run. One such character runs right past short story into novella. And I'm so thankful that running is allowed. "Honda" is my absolute favorite Treat work, and having it right in the center of the collection centers things. Of course, I am biased towards the novella. I like untrustworthy narrators. I am a sucker for purposeless Willa Wonka-types; gadding about on nothing but the fumes of imagination and whim. But lickable wallpaper? That's nothing to this character. This narrator doesn't go under while swimming in a pool of chlorinated reality and notice that, "Hey!, after a while, when coming up for breath my eyes no longer focus on lights without giving them glowing halos." No, to this character lights are things with saintly rings, always have been, and that is the definition of a light. And don't try to argue. Everything is bent at odd angles and the reader sees through that kaleidoscope of reason. "But what was Mrs. Postbox up to? A robust lady with white hair, she reminded me of my grade-school teacher. It might have been her, except that Mrs. Barlow had died some time ago. Still, it is my philosophy that there is a finite number of individuals. If you look at people, really study faces, you begin to see how similar everyone looks to each other. I remember when I was first visited by this revelation...I saw that everyone in the diner, every single person, reminded me of someone I'd seen before. I would have sworn I'd actually already met every single one of them, except that this was a town I'd never been to before, and that kind of thinking isn't logical. There was even a woman who looked like me. When I looked at her, I saw that I was staring at myself...I went into the bathroom to check myself in the mirror, just to see that I wasn't her...She and her companion laughed. They laughed too much for my comfort. I had wanted to see her face when she looked at me-what would she do when she saw it was her own self she was looking at? But she kept her eyes on her friend...she was trying hard to avoid it-the shock of recognition, which is what I call it." To see through this character's glasses is uncomfortable and strangely enjoyable. And I thank Jessica for letting me borrow them. Edit 12/8/2011: I am upgrading this to five stars. Blame it on "Honda." God, I think about that story so often...and that is why this needs another star from me. These stories have such staying power.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Dave Russell

    The subtitle of this collection is "Fictions," which I think is also the key element. The narrators of these stories all have an ineffable longing. They never truly know what it is they need (I'm not entirely sure the author does either. Isn't that the definition of ineffability?) They think they know, but only in the subjunctive mood ("if x happens, then I'll be happy...) In "Nicaraguan Birds" the narrator has a strange notion that it's another character, Karla, that has what she is looking for The subtitle of this collection is "Fictions," which I think is also the key element. The narrators of these stories all have an ineffable longing. They never truly know what it is they need (I'm not entirely sure the author does either. Isn't that the definition of ineffability?) They think they know, but only in the subjunctive mood ("if x happens, then I'll be happy...) In "Nicaraguan Birds" the narrator has a strange notion that it's another character, Karla, that has what she is looking for. But is that true or is it a fiction, a story she's told herself? What if she were to follow this story out to its conclusion and leave her husband for Karla? Would it bring her happiness or would the reality not fit the narrative? The narrator of "Not a Chance" must know how the story of her friend's love affair ends. However, the only ending she can find is the one she imagines, so that eventually her story merges with that of her friend. The reality becomes the fiction of the narrator. My favorite story of the collection (and it's one of the best things I've read in quite a while) the novella "Honda" concerns a woman who lives on illusions. She uses these illusion to fill up her lonely life. She is sort of a mixture of a Don Quixote and a small New England town version of Blanche Dubois. Her loneliness causes her to get involved in the lives of the people around her, with results that are both funny and appalling. In the end reality intrudes on fiction and she is left with nothing but her illusions. Dostoevsky said of Don Quixote that it is the saddest story ever told because in the end Don Quixote's illusions are crushed. Melanie's illusions aren't crushed--she still hangs on to them--but in the end we know they can't sustain her.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    I feel shockingly fortunate to have read this book right after the Susan Minot, because the contrast between them helped me clarify some of my thoughts and tastes regarding fiction, that I might not have figured out otherwise. Minot's Lust and Treat's Not a Chance actually cover a lot of similar themes. They both follow female characters in their romantic/sexual/etc entanglements with men, and both books get into what the back cover blurb on Lust calls "the truth about desire and loss." I thought I feel shockingly fortunate to have read this book right after the Susan Minot, because the contrast between them helped me clarify some of my thoughts and tastes regarding fiction, that I might not have figured out otherwise. Minot's Lust and Treat's Not a Chance actually cover a lot of similar themes. They both follow female characters in their romantic/sexual/etc entanglements with men, and both books get into what the back cover blurb on Lust calls "the truth about desire and loss." I thought one of Minot's stronger stories was the last one, "The Man Who Would Not Go Away," which had very similar subject matter to Treat's "His Sweater," one of my favorites of hers. Each was about a relationship in which the girl wanted more than she felt she could get from the boy, and both were written after the relationship was over and the couples were geographically separated. Each had the girl thinking she saw the boy all over the place around town, but Minot's story was just relatively good compared to the rest of her collection, while Treat's was actually great. The contrast between these two was like the difference between reading a friend's whiney email about her love life, and going to a blow-out retrospective at the Guggenheim that singes your brain and makes you recognize basic things around you that you hadn't seen before. My response to these two authors helped me understand what it is that I want from fiction: not to read a dull, faithful catalogue describing experiences from real life, but rather, something that looks strange and unfamiliar, even bizarre at first glance, but when you look closer you realize it's in fact a chillingly accurate portrayal of your very own experiences. This book is exactly like that, and that's why it's good. Reading these stories is like seeing someone wearing a Mexican wrestling outfit and feathered headdress panhandling on the subway, then looking closer and realizing it's your roommate. That's what I want! The unfamiliarity and inventiveness are what makes the truth interesting, and sort of truer. I don't really like most memoir or real straightforward fiction about people who're very similar to me, because that's boring. If I want to hear someone explain how consumed they were by passion, or how sad they were when their relationship ended, I can call a friend or reread my old diaries, without all the trouble of a trip to the library. I'm much more interested in the story of a woman leaving her husband and disappearing from a smoky cafe in Mexico City to an old hotel in Veracruz, or someone sleeping in her therapist's linen closet, or stealing a guy's dog, if these stories are not just random whatevers just for the sake of themselves and are actually going to show me something true -- of course like anyone, I am a narcissist and devoutly hope that everything will ultimately circle back to me, me, me, and to experiences I've had and recognize. But I do want a little coyness first, so I can feel the thrill of something unfamiliar and strange, before we get back to the all-important "me" part. That is to say, I guess I read partly to get out of my life, partly to understand it better. Good fiction -- like this -- helps me do both. My favorite stories in here were the title one and "His Sweater." While I loved its beginning, the novella "Honda" sort of lost me a bit towards the end, maybe because it reminded me too much of a Lorrie Moore novel I read years ago, but it was still good on the whole, and very funny. I think part of the problem I had with the novella is that the character started to seem a little too crazy after awhile. One of my favorite things about the stories in this book was how ruthlessly exploited the first person was, in service of describing characters who I guess were pretty nuts but didn't maybe seem so. You were really in these women's heads, and even when they did things that might not have made much sense in another context, there was an internal logic guiding all their actions which you understood, because you were in there with them. So what they did wasn't crazy, because even though it might not have been what you would do, you knew where they were coming from, and it was the exact same place you'd started. I'm a little nervous, because a lot of the comments other Booksters have made on here indicate that these stories are creepy or disturbing, which wasn't my impression at all, and here I've gone and written this rambly review about how I related to it so much. So I hope people don't all now think that I'm disturbed. Because I'm not. Anyway, in closing: this made me feel better after the Minot, like writing about desire and loss and relationships doesn't have to be tedious and dull after all. It also confirmed my suspicion that I shouldn't need to have a lot of obvious things in common with the people I read about in books, in order to feel interested in and connected to them. So, yeah: thanks, Other Jessica! Good work!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    I didn't know what to expect going into these stories. I've never actually had the honor of reading a published piece of work by someone that I had interacted with. Well, except for Stitchy McYarnpants, but that's off subject. I'm going to go ahead and write my review for both A Robber in the House and 'Not a Chance' though. Both books are amazing. I have always been a fan of the short story genre and actually Robber was my first foray into short short stories. Jessica/Chairy succinct writing s I didn't know what to expect going into these stories. I've never actually had the honor of reading a published piece of work by someone that I had interacted with. Well, except for Stitchy McYarnpants, but that's off subject. I'm going to go ahead and write my review for both A Robber in the House and 'Not a Chance' though. Both books are amazing. I have always been a fan of the short story genre and actually Robber was my first foray into short short stories. Jessica/Chairy succinct writing style draws the reader in, then spews them back out, straight into therapy. Seriously, her characters are perverse! I often felt a strange tug in my gut while reading a certain passage or hell, whole story, in the case of Honda. I had to remind myself fairly often that these women were uh, fictional (see title)and not analyze every single post of Chairy's looking for that person. This is a true testament to the term: 'sucking you in'. Chairy's characters remind me of this one woman that I used to see when I worked at the mall back in the day, the woman that sat on a bench across from Auntie Anne's Pretzels and would give me the ol' stink eye as I bought my pretzel dog, which then forced me to duck into Record Town until she found her next victim. Cheers, Chairy! I'm calling my therapist now.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    9/17--I saw some tiny ants today, all swarming around a piece of leftover food on the sidewalk. For a split second, I seriously considered bending down to put my tongue amidst the pile of ants. I imagined they'd feel like PopRocks or like the tiny little orange fish eggs they put on top of your sushi. And then the moment passed, and I kept walking. 9/19--Yesterday, I thought to myself, "That's some fine line." A fine line between being daring enough to do something outrageous and being chickenshit 9/17--I saw some tiny ants today, all swarming around a piece of leftover food on the sidewalk. For a split second, I seriously considered bending down to put my tongue amidst the pile of ants. I imagined they'd feel like PopRocks or like the tiny little orange fish eggs they put on top of your sushi. And then the moment passed, and I kept walking. 9/19--Yesterday, I thought to myself, "That's some fine line." A fine line between being daring enough to do something outrageous and being chickenshit enough to reach out your hand and barely touch the outrageous with soft and nervous fingertips. How many times have I ALMOST done that one thing? Infinity times? Already? But today I thought to myself, "I'm a sucker! I fell for her quirkiness, but she's fucking sick." Sick and alone. Almost done reading Honda, and I'm scared that Melanie M. will never find her way. What does the world do with these folks? (Don't answer that.) 9/21--At the end of the title story: Jessica Treat, you're torturing me. TORTURING ME!!! I want a happy ending. Just one. Or at least resolve something for me, would ya? SPOILER: I've rewritten the ending of Not a Chance for you. Wanna hear it? The friend walks into the bakery at Plaza Neza, and sitting at a table in the darkest corner is the woman she's been looking for, tattered clothes falling off her body. The friend rushes to her side!!! They are reunited and live happily ever after. (Ok, so maybe I'm living in denial. Reality doesn't allow for happy endings.) As a whole (thus far): A collection of betrayal by someone we know, treasure, trust. Can anything be more painful? Even death? 9/23--I am finished! An entire package of fantastic writing! Dead End struck me as quick and quirky--great! Zubeyde was sweet and real and perfect! Jessica Treat, there were times when I felt myself sitting beside you, resting on your shoulder as I read this collection. And other times I felt like I was reading over your shoulder, careful and quiet so you wouldn't notice me... Such a dismal cloud surrounding the sane and the insane--are we all a bit of both? I think there's no way we CAN'T be. Allow me to quote my favorite line, one that let me explore the depths of my own temporary insanity: "Grief has to go somewhere, be transformed into something, in order for it to disappear." p. 84. TRUTH! Ahhh, Chairy. I can't thank you enough for allowing me to read these stories. I'm VERY MUCH looking forward to your up and coming.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kirk

    Very disconcerting but thoroughly hypnotic book of stories about the mysteries of human misconnection. What I like best about the collection is the way each story applies the same device (first-person narration) to a scenario that---despite a range of settings and character types---revolves around observing another person who has disappeared from the narrator's life, leaving behind only the thinnest hints of motive. ("Radio Disturbance is the one third person). Sussing those motives usually beco Very disconcerting but thoroughly hypnotic book of stories about the mysteries of human misconnection. What I like best about the collection is the way each story applies the same device (first-person narration) to a scenario that---despite a range of settings and character types---revolves around observing another person who has disappeared from the narrator's life, leaving behind only the thinnest hints of motive. ("Radio Disturbance is the one third person). Sussing those motives usually becomes the plot motivator: the title story, "The Summer of Zubeyde," and "Walking" are particularly effective in exploring the obsessions that arise when we become absorbed in others' stories. Even when a literal search isn't the storyline ("Ants," "Dead End," an epistolary story; "His Sweater") there is a palpable sense that we're locked in our own powers of observation that are good for little but to leave us desiring deeper emotional intimacies. The centerpiece here is "Honda," a 60-page novella that's at once eerie and sad/tragic. As the cover art suggests, motion accomplishes little but to leave us in a blur---it's the opposite of Walt Whitman: seeking one place, we don't find each other, and under our bootsoles aren't the grassy leaves of community, only the cracked concrete of isolation and longing.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Alan

    this came in the post and I thought I'd just have a quick look, but started reading the first story and that was it, I abandoned the book I was reading and got thoroughly engrossed in these terrific stories. The set ups are often similar - a character (usually the unreliable narrator) gets obsessed by another, either a stranger or an ex partner, a friend, a co-worker or therapist to the point where they stalk them or try to insinuate themselves into their lives. Intriguing, unsettling, funny, th this came in the post and I thought I'd just have a quick look, but started reading the first story and that was it, I abandoned the book I was reading and got thoroughly engrossed in these terrific stories. The set ups are often similar - a character (usually the unreliable narrator) gets obsessed by another, either a stranger or an ex partner, a friend, a co-worker or therapist to the point where they stalk them or try to insinuate themselves into their lives. Intriguing, unsettling, funny, the writing carries you along: fresh and true. I'm looking forward to reading the new collection now. Thanks, Jessica.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Manny

    Just finished. I didn't appreciate all the stories equally much, but the ones I liked --- "Walking", "Not a Chance", "Nicaraguan Birds", "His Sweater", I really liked. It's a mark of how affecting I found them that I feel somewhat uncomfortable explaining just why I appreciated these more than the others. Normally, I'd wish I could write a fan letter to the author. For once, I can actually do that! But first, I'm logging on to Amazon and sending a copy to someone I haven't seen for too long. I t Just finished. I didn't appreciate all the stories equally much, but the ones I liked --- "Walking", "Not a Chance", "Nicaraguan Birds", "His Sweater", I really liked. It's a mark of how affecting I found them that I feel somewhat uncomfortable explaining just why I appreciated these more than the others. Normally, I'd wish I could write a fan letter to the author. For once, I can actually do that! But first, I'm logging on to Amazon and sending a copy to someone I haven't seen for too long. I think she'll like this book as much as I did.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sketchbook

    Loss of reality, displacement & mental disturbance are key motifs in these compelling tales of seemingly ordinary lives. But watch out--. Nothing is stable or simple or certain. An intimist, Jessica Treat believes, to quote filmmaker Robert Bresson, that "it is what goes on inside that is most important." She creates a vivid Bureau of 'Missing' Persons and takes us on a search for vulnerables who've plunged into psychological quicksand. Her writing has the pleasurable effect of an addictive drug: you lon Loss of reality, displacement & mental disturbance are key motifs in these compelling tales of seemingly ordinary lives. But watch out--. Nothing is stable or simple or certain. An intimist, Jessica Treat believes, to quote filmmaker Robert Bresson, that "it is what goes on inside that is most important." She creates a vivid Bureau of 'Missing' Persons and takes us on a search for vulnerables who've plunged into psychological quicksand. Her writing has the pleasurable effect of an addictive drug: you long for more.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Oriana

    Firstly, thank you so much Jessica, for this lovingly endorsed copy of your fabulous book. Secondly, what a cool, fabulous book! Because I am such a rebel, I always read short story collections out of order, kind of like how I always listen to CDs on shuffle. Does this make me an asshole, by refusing to participate in the artist's vision of how his/her work should be appreciated? Possibly. But in this case it really worked. Since many of these stories share themes and ideas, I think they build o Firstly, thank you so much Jessica, for this lovingly endorsed copy of your fabulous book. Secondly, what a cool, fabulous book! Because I am such a rebel, I always read short story collections out of order, kind of like how I always listen to CDs on shuffle. Does this make me an asshole, by refusing to participate in the artist's vision of how his/her work should be appreciated? Possibly. But in this case it really worked. Since many of these stories share themes and ideas, I think they build on each other in really interesting ways, no matter what order they're read in. I started, see, with "His Sweater", about a woman who has panicked and left, slipping away secretly, invisibly, to a strange town, possibly in a different country, and yet hopes constantly that he will figure it out, and come find her anyway. Then I read "Walking", which begins, "Not long ago I dreamt of him: I was walking down the street and suddenly he was right beside me." I know this story stars a different woman, missing a different man in a different way, but I was able to overlay one upon the other, seeing the two narrators as maybe not so different, feeling not-so-different things for not-so-different men. And maybe I'm not actually wrong to read it like this. The women who star in Jessica's stories really do share many of the same aches, the same miseries, the same wantings. These stories all hurt in very similar ways. Although most of the characters are varying degrees of disturbed, I found it very easy to feel for them, to feel with them, as they struggled sadly through lives that have tricked them, made them a bit too desperate, made them frayed at the edges and beginning to crumble. My favorite stores were "Radio Disturbance" (a stupendous use of an unreliable narrator), "Ants" (which was unlike all the others, but just as plangent, just as hurt), and "Honda" (which, because longer, was given more room to stretch and develop its sorrow). So anyway, fantastic job, Jessica. Thank you once more.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Amari

    Firstly, I want to say how rare it is that an author kidnap me from my own thoughts and life, and twist my mind to fit the vagaries of his or her characters' oddities. In this case, many stories (or perhaps their very totality made the impact stronger) made me question my own judgment and even sanity. This is powerful writing. Secondly, Jessica, only a month ago I had a protracted discussion with a friend that centered on unreliable narrators, how to create them, different ways of signaling their Firstly, I want to say how rare it is that an author kidnap me from my own thoughts and life, and twist my mind to fit the vagaries of his or her characters' oddities. In this case, many stories (or perhaps their very totality made the impact stronger) made me question my own judgment and even sanity. This is powerful writing. Secondly, Jessica, only a month ago I had a protracted discussion with a friend that centered on unreliable narrators, how to create them, different ways of signaling their unreliability to the reader, the things an unreliable narrator can accomplish that a trustworthy one cannot, etc. I had a hard time coming up with many examples of successful UNs, and you have provided me with so many ideas, particularly in the case of the narrator of "Honda." By the way, have you read the Mishima tetralogy? Just wondering if Honda came only from the car or if you had Mishima's Honda in mind too. Before this turns into a letter rather than a review, I'll stop. Thanks and felicidades, Jessica.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Valerie

    Not a Chance is a book of short stories filled with yearning. Yearning to find something or someone so much that it puts you off-kilter. Enraged. Lost. Searching. These stories show people that no one wants to be, but there's something in each that's relatable or identifiable as something in yourself. It's unnerving and unsettling. Jarring. All the good things that a short story should be. Like a quick punch you weren't expecting but deserved. Not a Chance is a book of short stories filled with yearning. Yearning to find something or someone so much that it puts you off-kilter. Enraged. Lost. Searching. These stories show people that no one wants to be, but there's something in each that's relatable or identifiable as something in yourself. It's unnerving and unsettling. Jarring. All the good things that a short story should be. Like a quick punch you weren't expecting but deserved.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Weinz

    Never before has crazy seemed so normal. Thanks Chairy.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Whaddya expect?! I wrote 'em... Whaddya expect?! I wrote 'em...

  18. 4 out of 5

    Misha

    Neurotic, broken, lonely, desperate, longing people fill these stories. Many of them tell of doomed relationships, character studies in failure. A brilliant collection chock full of unreliable narrators and painful truths. "Ants" -- Great opening paragraph. Interesting POV choice. It's the story of Marc, but told in flashbacks by his lover Caroline. I get the impression in the brief flashes we see of Marc and Caroline's relationship that all is not well. Does that make Caroline an unreliable narr Neurotic, broken, lonely, desperate, longing people fill these stories. Many of them tell of doomed relationships, character studies in failure. A brilliant collection chock full of unreliable narrators and painful truths. "Ants" -- Great opening paragraph. Interesting POV choice. It's the story of Marc, but told in flashbacks by his lover Caroline. I get the impression in the brief flashes we see of Marc and Caroline's relationship that all is not well. Does that make Caroline an unreliable narrator? And is Caroline meant to be the woman in the final scene? If so, she's now referring to herself in the third person -- perhaps because she no longer recognizes the person once so enamored of Marc? Many questions. "Walking" -- The yearning in this story is beautiful, desperate, and a bit poignant. I have lived this story -- not its plot, but its emotions. It may be my favorite of Treat's stories. "Honda" -- A novella that presents a slowly escalating portrait of mental illness and disconnection. But there's always this sense that this could be any one of us if loneliness drove us across that line that separates fantasy from reality. "Not A Chance" -- This story made me cry. "Dead End" -- Yes! "Nicaraguan Birds" -- A bittersweet story of hope and disappointment. I love the image of the packed suitcase in the closet, always there, always waiting, but never used. "His Sweater" -- This one I read as a story about self-fulfilling prophecies, how if we believe no one will love us, no one will. The narrator tests her lover and she expects him to fail, maybe even secretly wants him to fail, and so he does. Because how can anyone love if they're not trusted? She wants to be the center of his world, wants him to move heaven and earth to find her when she's run away, because it's only if he deems her worthy of love that she'll believe she is. She wanted to be worthy, but she failed. Now she's left only with memory and illusion and a sweater that isn't even his. It's sad. "The Summer of Zubeyde" -- Did I detect an homage to the opening paragraph of Lolita? Longing for another person doesn't have to be romantic to become obsessive in this story, especially when it's bound to a sense of failure. "Radio Disturbance" -- Mildly creepy story about a patient's relationship to her therapist. Needless to say, it goes awry by the end.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Glenn

    In Jessica Treat's work, there is an enthusiastic embracing of contradiction. She writes of people experiencing tenderness and anger, a volatile mixture, in situations and circumstances where they exist simultaneously, and both reveal the character's true essence, as well as show us Jessica's certainty in guiding both reader and character forward in the story. She imbues the people in her stories the ability to engage what seems fraught with danger, and thus come to their destinies. The character In Jessica Treat's work, there is an enthusiastic embracing of contradiction. She writes of people experiencing tenderness and anger, a volatile mixture, in situations and circumstances where they exist simultaneously, and both reveal the character's true essence, as well as show us Jessica's certainty in guiding both reader and character forward in the story. She imbues the people in her stories the ability to engage what seems fraught with danger, and thus come to their destinies. The characters struggle to convince themselves of the “rightness” of their actions, the appropriateness of their circumstances. They speak to both justify and center themselves, while all around them and inside them is shifting. And Jessica Treat shows us all this internal roiling without cliché, without resorting to forced revelation or emotion. A seemingly thrown-away image morphs into a detail of great import, which takes each story someplace heretofore unexplored. In Jessica's stories, like the title of her newest book, “Not a Chance,” events occur with a plan, no matter how unlikely or surreal those events may seem. The design is ever-evolving, subject to factors we ourselves introduce and other elements forced upon us. The tension between fighting and accepting these occurrences is where the beauty of her work lies.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Trudy

    My rating is more a reflection of my exposure (or lack thereof) to the short story genre. 99% of what I read is in novel format so these stories were quite a departure for me. I will say that I did enjoy the stories overall... and had a couple of favorites... Dead End, His Sweater and Radio Disturbance. I didn't realize how effectively a well written short story could evoke real emotion... In most cases, the stories in this book left me slightly disturbed. The characters are flawed... almost to t My rating is more a reflection of my exposure (or lack thereof) to the short story genre. 99% of what I read is in novel format so these stories were quite a departure for me. I will say that I did enjoy the stories overall... and had a couple of favorites... Dead End, His Sweater and Radio Disturbance. I didn't realize how effectively a well written short story could evoke real emotion... In most cases, the stories in this book left me slightly disturbed. The characters are flawed... almost to the extreme... and they don't even realize it. In life, we try to abide by the rules... these characters seem to break them all with no care or thought as to what they are doing is wrong or breaks any social or moral rules.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Carla

    I reviewed this book on Amazon, and I highly recommend it to short fiction fans. http://www.amazon.com/Not-Chance-Fict... I reviewed this book on Amazon, and I highly recommend it to short fiction fans. http://www.amazon.com/Not-Chance-Fict...

  22. 5 out of 5

    Pesh

    did someone say she was a real/true find? i couldnt agree more.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Joanne

    I read this in one sitting. I don't know how the author wrote these intense, evocative stories, with an air of gentle detachment. I'm impressed. I read this in one sitting. I don't know how the author wrote these intense, evocative stories, with an air of gentle detachment. I'm impressed.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Koeeoaddi

    I don't like short stories. There, I said it. It's a personal failing and my loss, I admit. Oh there are short stories I do like, but I almost never seek them out and can't remember the last time I read a collection. See, the worst thing for me is getting to know characters, becoming involved in their lives and then, ...losing them. I hate being between novels and I like my books character driven and really long. Which is why I am astonished at how much I loved this book. Each story is perfect i I don't like short stories. There, I said it. It's a personal failing and my loss, I admit. Oh there are short stories I do like, but I almost never seek them out and can't remember the last time I read a collection. See, the worst thing for me is getting to know characters, becoming involved in their lives and then, ...losing them. I hate being between novels and I like my books character driven and really long. Which is why I am astonished at how much I loved this book. Each story is perfect in its length, detail and what it revealed about each character. Not a Chance, Dead End and Honda are particularly compelling. Good work, Ms. Treat. You are an amazing writer.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Moran

    The author and I swapped books. This was really good. Short stories. It is clever and witty. I laughed out loud a couple times. The only fault is while reading I felt like I was listening in on an inside joke I fully didn't comprehend. If that makes sense. Jessica Treat has a very unusual and addicting sense of humor! The author and I swapped books. This was really good. Short stories. It is clever and witty. I laughed out loud a couple times. The only fault is while reading I felt like I was listening in on an inside joke I fully didn't comprehend. If that makes sense. Jessica Treat has a very unusual and addicting sense of humor!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jason Pettus

    I received this as a gift from the author (an extra to a mailing she was sending me concerning another book); but she asked me not to write a public review of it, which is why I'm not, other than to say that I really enjoyed it quite a bit. Much funnier and stranger than I was expecting. I received this as a gift from the author (an extra to a mailing she was sending me concerning another book); but she asked me not to write a public review of it, which is why I'm not, other than to say that I really enjoyed it quite a bit. Much funnier and stranger than I was expecting.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Melody

    These are dreamy little stories told from a very private place of the soul. The tellers of each story are all a bit wrong footed and not so sure they know how to get back on the right bus. You get the feeling they are slipping and have quite a bit more slipping to do.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    Creepy stories that will stay with you, written by a friend of mine.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Books Ring Mah Bell

    I think I like this better than "Robber", and that's saying a lot because I really enjoyed that one! What a knack for description and warped humor!! Nice job, Treat!! I think I like this better than "Robber", and that's saying a lot because I really enjoyed that one! What a knack for description and warped humor!! Nice job, Treat!!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    I've read about half now, but am kind of reading the stories out of order. Really like it so far. I've read about half now, but am kind of reading the stories out of order. Really like it so far.

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