Shipstead's first story collection reinforces the extensive talent on display in her first three novels. The work is convincing in any setting and any mode, whether it be quiet years on a Montana ranch, exploration of the Parisian catacombs, or a showcase of celebrity-infused horrors in Los Angeles. Shipstead seems to move effortlessly from plane to plane, bringing trademark eloquence and humor to each landscape she chooses ... Shipstead's control and confidence as a writer blaze in each line ... Shipstead's humor is present throughout, but sharpens exceptionally when she turns her attention to working artists ... [a] brilliant, funny and occasionally alarming collection.
It’s a savvy move on the part of Shipstead’s publishers to treat those fans to this collection of stories ... A couple of the stories felt a little flat ... All the same, the remarkable scope of Shipstead’s imagination and talent is well evidenced in the collection as a whole ... If there is a unifying element to these stories, it’s the tender but unflinching way in which Shipstead writes about various damaged souls ... Although obviously not as remarkable an achievement as Great Circle, there’s still lots to recommend these sharp, striking flashes of life.
Running the gamut between parodic faux-autofiction and historical fiction narrated by a bevy of marooned, increasingly dissolute Frenchwomen, the stories here are almost studiously varied ... There is a generous spirit beneath Shipstead’s controlled, sometimes finicky style, but her most immersive stories are the ones that seem to escape her ... Shipstead’s less successful stories tend to be either too self-conscious of their status as short fiction...or plainly unfinished ... Dutiful short works like these can make readers ask beside-the-point questions like, 'Should this have been a novel?'
... gives readers the inspiring experience of charting the maturation of one of America’s finest authors. Most impressive is the book’s range of perspectives ... In a few pieces, it’s clear that Shipstead was still discovering what her words could do, but the best are exceptional portraits of characters unaware of the effects of their actions ... The finest stories in You Have a Friend in 10A show that perpetual grief may not necessarily lead to great lives, but it can produce scintillating fiction.
... impactful ... Shipstead’s forte is delivering lines like this with cool calculation, holding us at a certain remove even from the main character’s perspective. This can, however, occasionally lead to confusion about whose opinions are being presented ... at other moments, Shipstead captures human nature perfectly ... It’s likely many people can relate to the scenario of trying to counter an awkward, unwanted advance from someone in a position of power. Even if you’re not one of them, You Have a Friend in 10A is filled with the kind of tense, poignant moments that will lead you to linger over the human condition and its myriad everyday complications. I look forward to future books from this talented writer.
Shipstead displays luminous, exacting language as she demonstrates her flair for creating distinctive characters who deal more or less successfully with what life has handed them ... Essential for fiction lovers.
Acclaimed author Shipstead turns her considerable talent to the short story, offering readers this sweeping collection ... The resulting collection is an effortlessly transporting and piercing journey. Stories focus on those innate, immutable, and deeply rooted human characteristics within us all that we perhaps wish were a bit more malleable ... While there’s no shortage of compelling characters and penetrating insights, the book’s title story is one of its strongest ... Reaching across decades and set in a diverse array of locations both domestic and exotic, Shipstead’s latest will find a home on bookshelves next to the work of Andre Dubus III, Jane Smiley, and Richard Russo.
Daring, wide-ranging ... Throughout, Shipstead demonstrates a remarkable ability to interlace the events of ordinary life with a mythological sense of preordained destruction. Both formally inventive and emotionally complex, this pays off with dividends.
Ten stories from the apprenticeship of a novelist. Last year, Shipstead published Great Circle, an ambitious novel far more complex than her earlier work. This collection of short stories, mostly written in grad school at the Iowa Writers Workshop and all previously published in literary journals, takes us backward rather than forward. Experimenting with a range of styles, subject matter, and effects, the collection is uneven ... However, good writing and funny observations about sex are found throughout ... Not the next novel we were waiting for.