The View from the Seventh Layer

The View from the Seventh Layer Kevin Brockmeier award winning author of The Brief History of the Dead has been widely praised for the richness of his imagination the lyrical grace and playfulness of his language and the empathic

  • Title: The View from the Seventh Layer
  • Author: Kevin Brockmeier
  • ISBN: 9780375425301
  • Page: 214
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Kevin Brockmeier award winning author of The Brief History of the Dead has been widely praised for the richness of his imagination, the lyrical grace and playfulness of his language, and the empathic emotional complexity of his storytelling And this dazzling collection once again affirms his place as one of the most creative and compassionate writers of his generation.Kevin Brockmeier award winning author of The Brief History of the Dead has been widely praised for the richness of his imagination, the lyrical grace and playfulness of his language, and the empathic emotional complexity of his storytelling And this dazzling collection once again affirms his place as one of the most creative and compassionate writers of his generation.In the haunting title story, a young, asocial woman remembers the oddly honest things she wrote in her high school classmates yearbooks and contemplates her scarred life, imagining an escape with an apparition she calls the Entity In Father John Melby and the Ghost of Amy Elizabeth, a formerly dull and turgid pastor is touched by a spirit that turns his sermons into crowd pleasers that is, until he discovers his inspiration is a little less than divine The Human Soul as a Rube Goldberg Device is a gorgeous homage to the classic, young readers choose your own adventure novels But this one is for grown ups who can navigate through imagery and dead ends, and toward a resolution that only Kevin Brockmeier could have invented From the fantastical to the concrete, the range of this collection is breathtaking It moves fluidly, finding beauty in the quiet, often overlooked corners of the world.By turns daring and moving, The View from the Seventh Layer is crafted with the remarkable voice and vision that have become hallmarks of Brockmeier s acclaimed fiction.

    One thought on “The View from the Seventh Layer”

    1. As often happens, I began this book completely enchanted. Brockmeier's The Brief History of the Dead was one of my three books of the year, last year, and I figured this collection of short stories would please me similarly.The first and title story, about a housecleaner named Olivia, is written in a style that I cannot really describe but absolutely love--where every word comes to you gently, rhythmically, in an almost fairy-tale way. It's almost as though the writer is deliberately reeling you [...]

    2. A pretty experimental collection of short stories. As is often the case, some of these worked better than others, but saying that none of them especially stood out to me, and now just a few days after finishing reading I am finding it hard to recall any at all. Brockmeier writes well, however I finished several of these stories wondering what he had been trying to say and unsure what the point of them was. Many very quiet, character focused stories here.If you enjoy short stories with a magical [...]

    3. There's something magical in each of these stories. Definitely the best thing I've read since Joe Hill."If only she had known when she was growing up how hard the rest of her life was going to be, how diminished, she would have been so much more joyful, so much more daring. She would have done all the things she had failed to do.""She had the same responsibility as everybody else did: to live as softly as she could in the world."Warning: Side effects may include dry mouth, drowsiness, and an ina [...]

    4. My 14 year old self might have loved this book. My nanny would have definitely loved it. My aged, cynical, hardened, sarcastic, jaded self didn't hate it. It smells of sunshine and rainbows. It's full of sweet imagery and softness. Sometimes it made my heart remember a simpler time. I will say, any man over the age of 10 whose mind is still filled with cherries, Van Morrison, and parakeets is a treasure to behold. I wish I was in love with him. I’m glad I can still like this book.

    5. I loved this collection of short stories. It hit me emotionally and intellectually in equal measure. So many lovely, insightful, beautifully crafted sentences; I haven't read a book this good in a long time. The "choose your own adventure" story -- yes, this book even has clever gimmicks, well done.

    6. The problem I have with good short stories is that I always walk away feeling like I've just found my new favorite author ever. Kevin Brockmeier's The View From the Seventh Layer is a collection of really good short stories.I have only read Brockmeier's A Brief History of the Dead which I had also really liked, though I remember sort of waffling because I have this serious brain-block when it comes to new writers that is a throw-back to unresolved issues I have with Dave Eggers, but that's hardl [...]

    7. It's hard for me not to love Kevin Brockmeier. I think he has one of the most human approaches to supernatural materials of anyone out there. Whether he's writing a ghost story, a sci-fi love story, or a fable, it's all ultimately about the complexities of the human heart. The highs were really high for me in this collection. There were a couple that didn't hit, but overall, the stories felt so different from what I usually read, it was hard not to be enticed and drawn in by them. A sexy ghost! [...]

    8. I had high hopes after I read "Brief History of the Dead" by Brockmeier. This was a disaster in my estimation. I found none of the stories compelling, or even readable for that matter. I put it down halfway through and I doubt I will ever bring myself to finish it.

    9. This collection of short stories is simply sublime. There is something about the author’s voice that brought to mind the way one would approach a frightened animal - softly, slowly, and cautiously. Yet at the same time the message of most of the stories was thought-provoking in a “smack you upside the head” sort of way. That dichotomy worked, and it worked very well. The overall tone is melancholy, there are strong messages about society and spirituality, and there is a hint of the superna [...]

    10. This is not a perfect collection of stories. For instance, "The Air is Full of Little Holes," a story about the finding of "The Afghan Girl," reads like a story about a thing. Nothing feels much added. Likewise, "The Lady with the Pet Tribble," a rewriting of "The Lady with the Pet Dog," by Anton Chekov from the point of view of Captain Kirk is cute and amusing, but after ten pages of the twenty something page story, the novelty has worn off and you are reading a cute imitation of a better story [...]

    11. I really enjoy Kevin Brockmeier's writing. He depicts sensory elements incredibly well, and the conceits for his more imaginative stories don't come off precious, as you'd expect.But I have to admit, I didn't enjoy this as much as I did Things that Fall from the Sky. A couple of the stories in that collection knocked me over a bit, whereas none of the Seventh Layer stories really did. But "The Lady with the Pet Tribble" made me laugh, and "The Air Is Full of Little Holes" was surprisingly moving [...]

    12. This is an amazing collection of short stories from Little Rock's own Kevin Brockmeier. These are stories that cause you to visit places in your inner thoughts that you might never have gone before. Unique and provoking with threads of loss and what ifs, I couldn't put it down and am planning on reading his two novels. One of our bookclub members thought that he may well be the "Virginia Wolf or Wm. Faulkner" of his generation!

    13. Kevin Brockmeier's story collection is a treasure. Every single story worked for me, every one seemed wise and wonderful. Some are fantastical, some are realist, but each story is a gem. I admit to being most deeply touched by the "fables" and "Andrea Is Changing Her Name." The only disappointment is that I am near the end of the Brockmeier canon.

    14. If you're looking for a great short story writer, Kevin Brockmeier is your man. However, if you are looking for his very best work as far as short stories go, I would recommend Things That Fall From the Sky over this one. Still, the first half of this collection is quite flawless. Brockmeier takes us on a journey of a town obsessed with sound and the man who was mute but raised parakeets ("A Fable Ending in the Sound of a Thousand Parakeets") to the story of a world which craves the ending of al [...]

    15. Wow! Fascinating work! Brockmeier can be intellectual and playful at the same time. There are so many hidden cookies in these stories but the reader must "LISTEN WELL" and go the extra mile to explore all the hidden meanings that are just under the surface. Chekovian fan fiction anyone? The elegiacal symphony of a thousand parakeets? The truth is out there. The clues are carefully placed. Enjoy

    16. Wonderful book of short stories. And I usually don't care for short story collections. A mixture of fantasy, realism, science fiction, fairy tale and fable, it is unlike any other collection I have read. I will be looking for more books by this author and is one of my favorite books that I have ever read.

    17. It is always a pleasure to completely lose myself in Brockmeier's books. All the short stories in this collection are creative, original, intense, and incredibly detailed. As a big fan of "Choose Your Own Adventure" books, I really loved "The Human Soul as a Rube Goldberg Device"-- don't forget to check pg. 124 for a hidden experience not included in the selections.

    18. Hands down , the best short story collection I’ve read to date. It’s as if Haruki Murakami & Patrick Rothfuss somehow came together to make something weird and beautiful. It gorgeously written , by someone with an obvious love of words. Strange and warm , familiar and odd, I can’t do it justice , just read it. I’ll be tracking down all of this authors work 😊

    19. As with most collections of short stories, The View from the Seventh Layer is a bit of a mixed bag. I was interested to read it because I have enjoyed the writing and creativity behind the other books of Brockmeier's that I've read -- The Brief History of the Dead and The Illumination -- but didn't feel that they really hung together as novels. The short story form feels like a more natural fit for him. Structurally, the most experimental story here is "The Human Soul as a Rube Goldberg Device: [...]

    20. I read Kevin Brockmeier's novel The Brief History of the Dead earlier and felt the whole time I was reading this "this is a short story writer doing a novel". He has two short story collections that are well regarded; I decided that The View from the Seventh Layer was an excellent place to start. The collection for the most part is excellent. His writing and prose is delicate and precise at once. The collection opens and leads you in and announces that ideas are going to revealed about you and a [...]

    21. Short stories. For the most part, amazing short stories. Brockmeier is an astounding writer; his prose is full of complex, gorgeous images, but with enough playfulness, too, to keep it from being unbearably pretentious. These are stories you can get lost in—literally: I don’t know how long I spent exploring the pathways of “The Human Soul as a Rube Goldberg Device: A Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Story,” but it was a long time.Some of it, however, I have to admit flew whoosh, right past my h [...]

    22. Micro-review: Kevin Brockmeier feels like the (propery medicated to remove just a touch of the warped) love child of Aimee Bender and Etgar Keret.While not a perfect collection of stories, the greatness of the great stories outweighs the negatives of the ones that were just "good".All in all, despite the few stories that did not quite grab me, or went on a little too long (Star Trek fan-fiction Tribble story is one of those) the collection is outstanding.Brockmeier is an amazing author. He has a [...]

    23. Kevin Brockmeier came to my school this past fall and did a reading (Which is where I got this book, and can I just brag for a minute? It's signed. Cue squeals from the lit nerd girl writing this review), and as such I heard the entire text narrated in his voice. Not that I minded. He's very soft-spoken, and that worked well with his writing style, I thought.The interesting thing about his style is that even though every story is about something different, they all feel the same. His writing rem [...]

    24. I wanted to give this 4 stars, but ultimately the collection was too uneven.Loved (a lot):- A Fable Ending in the Sound of a Thousand Parakeets- The View from the Seventh Layer- The Year of Silence- Father John Melby and the Ghost of Amy Elizabeth- The Human Soul as a Rube Goldberg Device: A Choose-Your-Own Adventure StoryDidn't so much love:Everything elseBrockmeier, at his best, writes stories that feel like music. They're mysterious on the surface, but deep down you always know where they're [...]

    25. I haven't gotten around to reviewing any of the books I've read for a while, mainly because I've been doing so at a breackneck pace due to the book challenge (which is a fantastic incentive) but it's been a while since I've encountered any collection of short stories that packs as many heavy hitters as Brockmeier has managed to compile in this book. If you haven't read anything by the author before this is a great introduction, the stories are short and deal with a wide range of believable chara [...]

    26. This is a book for writers, with language so careful and beautiful it's as if the book was transcribed by monks — fitting given Brockmeier has an angel's powers of observation. As for the subject matter of the stories, well, think Chris Adrian having coffee with Kelly Link in Italo Calvino's cafe, and you'll have an idea. Just a few examples:- A man finds God's overcoat and discovers people's prayers written on notes in the pockets.- Strange silences descend upon a city, and the inhabitants re [...]

    27. Short story collection. Big hits and big misses. It was experimental, so I think any reader's reaction is much more personal than usual. My favorite stories were The Lives of the Philosophers, and Father John Melby. The fables were interesting. But other stories felt unfinished, or too vague. And the Rube Goldberg, make-your-own-adventure story in the middle was disappointing. I read out of order to save that one for last. But I gave up after getting to the very defeating end twice. There might [...]

    28. Quirky stories that often lie between the real and the fantastic, skillfully mixing both. Generally, the technique does not get the best of the story, allowing the pain and joy of human emotion through. But, while the story "The Human Soul as a Rube Goldberg Device" initially intrigues, it ultimately irritates because the story's technique dominates here. Yeah, we get it, short or long it all ends up the same in the end. But it's kind of uneventful getting there in this one. It's very different [...]

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