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Taking its title from a group of stories that begin the book, Bream Gives Me Hiccups moves from contemporary LA to the dorm rooms of an American college to ancient Pompeii, throwing the reader into a universe of social misfits, reimagined scenes from history, and ridiculous overreactions. In one piece, a tense email exchange between a young man and his girlfriend is taken over by his sister, who is obsessed with the Bosnian genocide ("The situation reminds me of a little historical blip called the Karadordevo agreement"); in another, a college freshman forced to live with a roommate is stunned when one of her ramen packets goes missing ("She didn't have one of my ramens. She had a chicken ramen"); in another piece Alexander Graham Bell has teething problems with his invention ("I've been calling Mabel all day, she doesn't pick up! Yes, of course I dialed the right number - two!").
United by Eisenberg's gift for humor and character, the witty pieces collected in Bream Gives Me Hiccups explore the various insanities of the modern world and mark the arrival of a fantastically funny, self-ironic, and original voice.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Gaele on 11-13-15
the mix of narrative style and form was intriguing
AudioBook Review: Stars: Overall: 4 Narration: 3 Story: 4
When I start a collection, I expect that there is some common thread tying the stories together, and while not instantly apparent in Bream Gives Me Hiccups, Eisenberg has managed to take moments of life that present an ‘instant issue’ for the character, whether it be an explanation, a relationship or even a worry.
Multiple moments experiment with different narrative styles: conversations, letters, emails, texts and even a story using reviews all present themselves with a distinct style, solidly appropriate to the ‘style’ of narration.
While I found the stories had flow, it was a collection that required attention: with narrator changes in the writing and presentation, each moment required an adjustment in the listen, and some stories required a second or third listen to absorb the impact.
Narration was from a cast of characters: Jesse Eisenberg, Hallie Eisenberg, Annapurna Sriram, Erin Darke, and Colin Nissan, and while each narrator felt appropriate for their story, the frequent changes in presenter, for me, is a bit unsettled, I prefer not to readjust expectations or concentration with each new moment.
Overall, I liked this curious little collection: the mix of narrative style and form was intriguing and unique, and while I do have favorites (My Roommate Stole my Ramen, Restaurant Reviews from a Privileged Nine Year Old, Marv Albert is my Therapist, My Mother Explains the Ballet to Me) each story brought some humor and humanity into rather awkward moments of life, those moments that bring forward emotions that are puzzling, funny or downright weird.
I received an AudioBook copy of the title from Audible Customer Relations for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
21 of 24 people found this review helpful
By J.Hofmann on 01-21-16
eclectic, odd, and still engrossing.
shows signs of the authors depth and ability. I think if Eissenberg took the time to care, he would wrote the next great American novel, however it's his lack of caring which creates the word play and pseudo playful stories like in this book. overall a good read. little gained but nothing lost at all.
13 of 15 people found this review helpful