Mr Bones Read ✓ 107


  • Hardcover
  • 368
  • Mr Bones
  • Paul Theroux
  • English
  • 06 August 2019
  • 9780544324022

10 thoughts on “Mr Bones

  1. says:

    The first thing you should know is that many of these stories have already been published in The New Yorker the Atlantic and other esteemed magazine The second thing is that they’re good – deceptively simple powerful and in the end unsettlingTake the eponymous story Mr Bones for example On the surface it’s about a cowered husband and father – a shoe salesman – who has become nearly invisible to those around him He puts on a mask and adapts an attitude for an old fashioned minstrel show and suddenly becomes intimidating and untouchable It’s not a far stretch to say it’s about how we all hide behind our inscrutable masks with hints of the racism and marital problems that pervade societyAnother Minor Matt uestions what we value the most In this one an obscenely wealthy art collector bids on and then slashes valuable art work from top artists The art world complies knowing that the destruction will jack up the prices of the remaining worksThere’s Siamese Nights about an American manufacturer who begins an intoxicating affair with a “ladyboy” and learns – to his horror – that the delicate creature he creates in his own mind is not the same as the person who truly possesses assurance insistence and certainty And there’s I’m the Meat You’re the Knife where a writer verbally torments a former English teacher now helpless and dying with subtle reminders of his past abuseThese are tales of revenge self recognition and sometimes redemption often rooted in the common situations such as the war against raccoons Two of the stories are composed of “short shorts” and a few resort to a formula – the last line provides a stunning insight leaving the reader slightly stunned All in all a very worthy collection and I give it a 45


  2. says:

    A very enjoyable collection of short stories about broken people The characters range from mentally ill to filled with vengeance to spineless individuals who can't fight for their own lives Unless you're into this kind of literature you'll probably be very annoyed no story in here has a positive outcome or even implies positive things about humanity


  3. says:

    I received this book as part of a Goodreads First Reads GiveawayI barely got halfway through this book before I put it down and just couldn't make myself pick it up again The characters in each of the stories I read were nasty without a shred of relatable humanity to be found The story lines while imaginative were entirely perpetrated by characters I could not possibly care less about and whose motivations were indiscernible making it impossible to get into the story with any real interest I'm a fan of Theroux's travel writing and was very much looking forward to reading his fiction but suffice it to say the magic doesn't translate


  4. says:

    Mr Bones by Paul Theroux is a very highly recommended wonderfully descriptive collection of twenty short stories There should be a story that will appeal to almost everyone in these masterfully well written stories many of which take common place occurrences and put a twist on themThe collection includesMinor Watt A wealthy man destroys his priceless treasure simply because he can Mr Bones A mild mannered father has a drastic and startling personality changeOur Raccoon Year A plague of raccoons changes a family's already fluid dynamicsMrs Everest A painter meets a gallery owner who courts his company even though she doesn't like his work Another Necklace An author has a secret Incident in the Oriente An overseas contractor wields his influence over those he employs Rip It Up Anxious pimply fourteen year olds devise a plan to extract retribution on their bullies Siamese Nights A man is assigned to work in Bangkok where he keeps a pictorial diary of drawings and meets someone special Nowadays the Dead Don’t Die A man in the bush is asked to take a man with no family to the hospital When the ill man dies on the way he is unceremoniously buried but then things begin to go wrong Autostop Summer A writer visits Italy and recalls a trip there many years ago Voices of Love This is a collection of short vignettes first person flash fiction of unfaithful peopleThe Furies A man marries a much younger woman and his past begins to catch up with him Rangers Scam artists hook up and hit the road Action A young man runs an errand for his father who is very protective of him Long Story Short Another collection of short first person flash fiction stories that feature young men coming of ageNeighbor Islands A Hawaiian police officer catches his wife in a compromising position and then the incident is looked at from several viewpoints The Traveler’s Wife A travel writer's wife starts expressing her opinions The First World A wealthy man retires to Nantucket where he wishes to build his dream house Heartache An elderly writer dies in the deep South I’m the Meat You’re the Knife A man who is back in his home town for his father's funeral visits his old English teacher who is dying Disclosure My Kindle edition was courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt via Netgalley for review purposes


  5. says:

    Theroux is a gifted writer; this is my first time reading him and it's great to discover a new author He is capable of creating complex character and inspiring a range of emotions in the reader This is hard enough to do when writing a novel much less short stories; no word is wasted and nothing is overwroughtheavy handed eitherA few stories were very brief and a bit outre; they left a lot to interpretation which might frustrate some readers but I enjoyed this actually It's like looking at a painting; each person who looks at it comes away with an entirely different perception of it's meaning And that's what happens with a well written short story My least favorite story was the first one 'Mr Bones' A miserable hen pecked husband takes on a hobby vaudeville performing little shows His kids and wife see his descent into eccentric behavior as a betrayal and his persona veers from hapless and happy to sinister and erratic'Voices of Love' is series of first person vignettes Some of the stories examine lost love relationships of convenience unreuited love and 'whatever happened to so and so' memories Poignant unvarnished and thought provoking these stories are very relatable and brutally honest It reminded me of that 'Humans of New York' series with less corny sentiment Reading these reminds you that everyone not only has a 'story' but their story can teach you something profound 'Long Story Short' is another series of first hand accounts of life's wonderful stranger than fiction weirdness 'Heartache' is the heart rending account of a lonely southern widow Miss Kitty dealing with the sudden alienation of her adult adopted son The son's wife a strange cold woman oddly refuses to see Miss Kitty For no reason Miss Kitty's son and daughter in law stop visiting and never allow her to see her grandchild Kitty starts to write gains some success but still she'd trade it in to have her son back in her life Her faithful housekeeper Perta Mae remained her only confidante and true friend Kitty's sense of loss and alienation are raw; then you realize this actually happens to some parents often than you realize Children bring us endless joy but the thing no one talks about when they're young is this what happens if they go their own way live their own lives and you're left behind? No one wants to think about this of course But Theroux handles this taboo subject with great sensitivity The most entertaining story is 'Siamese Nights' Osier a stalwart old school 'company man' type is nearing retirement and on one last jaunt to Thailand to complete a job An accountant he oversees projects in a factory and then chastely returns to his hotel and calls his long time wife Except one night he accepts an invitation from two boorish co workers to 'just go out for one drink' Osier becomes enad of an aloof but beautiful young woman at a seedy bar He returns to speak with her and they develop a friendship then become intimate But There's a catch she's not a lady She's a 'ladyboy' and she's older than she looks still creepy white man in Thailand on a trip Will it end well? and also has a rapier wit and Osier decides damn the torpedoes I'm in LOVE Ignoring the admonitions of his wary coworkers he pursues 'Song' the new love of his life One odd but heart breaking part of the story Song brings him to her little apartment to meet her mom who cooks endlessly for Osier and humbly asks for him to 'take care of her' ie please look after my son er son that looks like a girl It makes you very sad to read this because it reminds you of all of the sex workers there living in penury waiting for a white knight aka creepy white man to gallop in to um sponsor them and the parents are often complicit they feel this is the only option for their children So it's deeply depressed me reading this bit especially Yet Osier becomes convinced he will love Son even if he didn't realize she was a ladyboy when they met and he decides to commit to her at some point He also decides he'll just tell his wife about this sooner than laterThe ending is insane As in you will laugh out loud nervously It's so damned funny and let's just say SONG DON'T PLAY But such an odd little story; it's a bit like the storyline for ' Lost In Translation' but with a knife carrying lady boy who doesn't like to take no for an answer


  6. says:

    Something gets lost here between the idea and the execution Every story begins with a provocative concept include several insightful paragraphs and observations only to bog down in unnecessary description and explication They lack any sense of tension and release; I've never seen insanity and depravity look so casual and boring Maybe that was Theroux's goal but getting through this collection was a frustrating slog


  7. says:

    Mr Bones Paul Theroux’s hand is deft and at times brilliant in this collection of stories I particularly like his brief fiction that is a page or two In the volume are one or two stinkers in the twenty stories but when he is good oh my he is good Of course he is the finest travel writer we have had in the English language He uses various locales to his advantage particularly Bangkok and Maine Theroux is a treasure


  8. says:

    This is my first foray into Theroux's shorter works Until now I've been immersed in his travel writing and novels So this was certainly different A strange amalgam of stories about relationships and sex Mainly written about foreigners and expatriates in Eastern Asia The longer pieces I found really engaging There was also a handful of micro fiction pieces which didn't do a whole lot for me But it was still a good read on the whole


  9. says:

    Theroux Paul Mr Bones Twenty Stories Houghton Mifflin Harcourt New York 2014 359pp27“Art is swindle” counseled the German refugee teacher and painter Josef Albers whose book “Interaction of Color” has become a classic though in practice at Black Mountain and later at Yale Albers rarely strayed from a deliberate approach to his work stripping away decoration illustration and yes even expression from his painting winding up with blocks of color that produced surprising effects on viewers Paul Theroux’s new book of collected stories most previously published in The New Yorker Harpers and The Atlantic leads off with an over heated little number called “Minor Watt” so named after the transgressive title character a spiteful old goat whose great wealth has led him not to treasure his collection sculpture modern oil painting ceramics etc but to destroy it in public piece by beautiful piece in a deft attempt to outrage and horrify the gallery world Art is not only swindle but hyper swindle He gets a taste for swindle when his ex wife Sonia drops by the penthouse to pick up a priceless Chinese vase part of the divorce settlement Minor lets it drop to the floor where it shatters into countless shards at the feet of his horrified ex wife “Sorry” Minor says softly After a series of bizarre episodes in which Minor conducts and creative acts of destruction Theroux writes “ ingenious in devising ways to destroy these works of art each one appropriate to the object his intention was to make the destruction as memorable as the object itself the memory of extinction” If art is swindle Theroux seems to argue its destruction in public ought to be eually delicious by way of spectacleSadly for Minor Watt he’s later caught up with Mara an out of work gallery clerk who is vaguely Asiatic and winds up first tantalizing Minor and then outright humiliating him with a Burmese dah dagger sending him naked into the city streets streaming blood from a neck wound The art world stands front and center in another Theroux story “Mrs Everest” the title character of which is a gallery grand dam whose frosty opinions and hard to scale esteem mark her as a taste maker and reputation breaker The narrator by contrast is a painter praised for his “impartial realism” but not by Mrs Everest who regards his portraits and landscapes as “so self explanatory as to be banal” More to Mrs Everest’s taste is a work by the artist Felix Gonzales Torres which Theroux describes as “175 pounds of wrapped candy heaped against a wall” In Theroux’s telling it takes a number of years for the narrator to break away from the clutch of syncophant moths fluttering around Mrs Everest’s flame Taken together “Minor Watt” and “Mrs Everest” can be taken only peripherally as stories about the art world; rather they reflect the now dominant influence of great wealth in American society and how money deflects and dampens originality and freedom of thought not to mention the lamentable effect of highfalutin criticism on artists’ and writers’ self esteemPaul Theroux is a very famous writer whose fifteen works of highly sportive and keenly observed travel books are almost all classics In his travels Theroux takes the dim view of human nature one that allows him to navigate through some pretty distasteful even dangerous places ever ready for the next disappointment or surprise He seems a man who in real life doesn’t mind riding the twin rails of whimsy and fear watching them ever converge at a horizon just over there A book like “Dark Star Safari” or “The Last Train to Zona Verde” will scare the pants off any reader yet feel at the same time like a dose of pure oxygen The thirty works of fiction are less consistent sanguine and contain a number of outright embarrassments though just as often real gems and a classic here and there eg “My Other Life” “My Secret History” and “Saint Jack” “Twenty Stories” is much the same an uneven collection featuring many transgressive males behaving rather badlyIn the title story for example a youthful narrator contemplates his dead father from a distance of ten years He recalls his father as a distant and incomprehensible man a jovial fellow without ualities wit or smarts under the thumb of a dominant wife And then one day the singing group he enjoys decides to put on a minstrel show Over a short period of time Dad transforms himself into Mr Bones telling lustful and other off color jokes around the house singing minstrel tunes turning himself out in Black Face at every opportunity even adopting the pose of Mr Interlocutor at times The family in part distressed and in part mystified can do nothing while Dad becomes cruel and manic before their eyes Show over Dad reverts to the meek shoe salesman he once was Eually in “Our Raccoon Year” another hapless Dad is plagued by raccoons who eat the garden infest the attic and roam at will through the house at night Trapping first then poisoning then outright bludgeoning the raccoons becomes Dad’s raison d’etre to the extent that he loses his reason In “Another Necklace” a writer on tour receives threatening text messages which lead him to disaster; or in “Siamese Nights” an American contract worker in Thailand falls in love with a transvestite who holds him in thrall to the point of suffocation; or in “The Furies” a middle aged dentist jettisons his portly first wife to marry a comely assistant only to find disaster in a bevy of harpies at a high school reunion In “Rip it Up” a threesome of unhappy nerd teenagers discover in bomb making both their psychological revenge on bullies and their undoingStylistically Theroux’s short fiction is plagued by serial commas run on adjectives and strange syntax “But he knew she was a lady boy cute rather small pigtails a miniskirt knee socks” Sometimes Theroux writes puzzling sentences “That night the Wednesday Osier went to Siamese Nights” And of course Theroux utilizes the infamous sentence fragment as well His transgressive males impending disasters full of violent threat and menace as well ambiguous sexuality plaguing both genders all remind one of short stories by WW Jacobs Saki OHenry and even Guy de Maupassant And in most of Theroux’s stories the leitmotif of revenge lurks In “I’m the Meat You’re the Knife” a man takes an insidious Sheherazade like revenge on a dying high school teacher who’d abused him years before“Twenty Stories” is an uneven collection at best But one must give Theroux his due He holds to his vision revealing to his readers a deep commitment to dark truths held close to the vest then let out in the world to flutter in the dark like cave bats


  10. says:

    That Theroux is known to be a travel writer is evident from the tropical settings for these tales However what is most interesting is his approach that a White male tourist of age in an Eastern country is not so much intrepid as he is vulnerable to the point of being pathetic This of course extends to Western environments where arguably the male protagonists are loathsome though the women in their lives are also framed as embittered and henpecking While I remain unsure how to take these insights into weak willed men at home and abroad I did appreciate Theroux's exploration of the short story form and vivid scene settingNotable Stories• Minor Watt there is something oddly thrilling about the destruction of priceless artefacts• Siamese Nights for so long the love story is heart warming and then at the last it twists• The Furies the bitter truth of a misspent youth has never been so unrelenting


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Paul Theroux ☆ 7 Characters

Mr Bones

Ges an all consuming war on the raccoons living in the woods around their house A young artist devotes himself to a wealthy malicious gossip knowing that it’s just a matter of time before she turns on himIn this new collection of short stories acclaimed author Paul Theroux explores the tenuous leadership of the elite and the surprising revenge of the overlook Something gets lost here between the idea and the execution Every story begins with a provocative concept include several insightful paragraphs and observations only to bog down in unnecessary description and explication They lack any sense of tension and release; I've never seen insanity and depravity look so casual and boring Maybe that was Theroux's goal but getting through this collection was a frustrating slog

Characters ß eBook, PDF or Kindle ePUB ☆ Paul Theroux

Ed He shows us humanity possessed consumed by its own desire and compulsion always with his carefully honed eye for detail and the subtle idiosyncrasies that bring his characters to life Searing dark and sure to unsettle Mr Bones is a stunning new display of Paul Theroux’s “fluent faintly sinister powers of vision and imagination” John Updike The New York Mr Bones Paul Theroux’s hand is deft and at times brilliant in this collection of stories I particularly like his brief fiction that is a page or two In the volume are one or two stinkers in the twenty stories but when he is good oh my he is good Of course he is the finest travel writer we have had in the English language He uses various locales to his advantage particularly Bangkok and Maine Theroux is a treasure

Read & download Mr Bones

A dark and bitingly humorous collection of short stories from the “brilliantly evocative” Time Paul Theroux A family watches in horror as their patriarch transforms into the singing wise cracking lead of an old timey minstrel show A renowned art collector relishes publicly destroying his most valuable pieces Two boys stand by helplessly as their father sta A very enjoyable collection of short stories about broken people The characters range from mentally ill to filled with vengeance to spineless individuals who can't fight for their own lives Unless you're into this kind of literature you'll probably be very annoyed no story in here has a positive outcome or even implies positive things about humanity