Rag
One of Vol. 1 Brooklyn and Tor.com's Books to Read in February From the author of Heartbreaker, a disquieting collection tracing the destructive consequences of the desire for connectionA man, forgotten by the world, takes care of his deaf brother while euthanizing dogs for a living. A stepbrother so desperately wants to become his stepsibling that he rapes his girlfriend. In Maryse Meijer’s decidedly dark and searingly honest collection Rag, the desperate human desire for connection slips into a realm that approximates horror.Meijer’s explosive debut collection, Heartbreaker, reinvented sexualized and romantic taboos, holding nothing back. In Rag, Meijer’s fearless follow-up, she shifts her focus to the dark heart of intimacies of all kinds, and the ways in which isolated people’s yearning for community can breed violence, danger, and madness. With unparalleled precision, Meijer spins stories that leave you troubled and slightly shaken by her uncanny ability to elicit empathy for society’s most marginalized people.

Rag Details

TitleRag
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 12th, 2019
PublisherFSG Originals
ISBN-139780374246235
Rating
GenreShort Stories, Horror

Rag Review

  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    January 1, 1970
    These are not the stories for me. I made it through a miscarriage story but had to bail once I hit the dog testing story.
  • Bandit
    January 1, 1970
    Interesting collection. Slice of life stories, but shaved very close to the skin, some bleeding even. At first these come across as slightly surreal and occasionally overstylized, but later stories are much more conventionally structured and (to me at least) more appealing. Definitely dark, these are tales of loneliness and sadness and uncertain attempts to connect. The latter might prove to be as challenging as connecting to the book itself, it just doesn’t lend itself to this sort of attachmen Interesting collection. Slice of life stories, but shaved very close to the skin, some bleeding even. At first these come across as slightly surreal and occasionally overstylized, but later stories are much more conventionally structured and (to me at least) more appealing. Definitely dark, these are tales of loneliness and sadness and uncertain attempts to connect. The latter might prove to be as challenging as connecting to the book itself, it just doesn’t lend itself to this sort of attachment, it maintain the distance with a sort of studied viscerality and emotional aloofness. All bleak, some positively depressing, some merely odd…certainly unorthodox, not the sort of thing to easily enjoy or eagerly recommend. At about 100 minutes for 160 pages, it works as an experiment and can be noted for its originality, but not really something to like or love. Thanks Netgalley.
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  • Ylenia
    January 1, 1970
    Fave stories: Viral, Evidence.
  • Kathe Koja
    January 1, 1970
    Fierce, subtle, flat-out gorgeous, warm with dread: no one's voice is like Maryse's. I loved HEARTBREAKER and RAG is totally different and every bit as passionate and I love it every bit as much. I could quote favorite lines but why spoil the stories for new readers? Highly recommended.
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  • Lolly K Dandeneau
    January 1, 1970
    Via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/'Certainly there is a history of the incident, going back before my time: injuries, a childhood illness, ostracism, mental disorder, loneliness, screams. A history of chance.'These stories are raw and I devoured them. They are about bleeding out, deprivation, forbidden attraction, hiding from the world, the meaning of freedom, and all the things we think and don’t say or feel and keep in the shadows. Humans are beasts, we’re fragile creatures an Via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/'Certainly there is a history of the incident, going back before my time: injuries, a childhood illness, ostracism, mental disorder, loneliness, screams. A history of chance.'These stories are raw and I devoured them. They are about bleeding out, deprivation, forbidden attraction, hiding from the world, the meaning of freedom, and all the things we think and don’t say or feel and keep in the shadows. Humans are beasts, we’re fragile creatures and mean ones too. We destroy others, we destroy ourselves. We’re full of longing and disgust for our longings too. I think the most moving excerpt for me is from the story Jury, but I am only going to give a line or two from it, “They were so helpless. They cut themselves, starved themselves, got themselves killed.” Women, girls, because our reality is that dangerous, that threatening in the world we all share. He is just a father, sitting on a jury thinking he can understand a fellow juror because he notices something about her, as if labeling a thing means it is easily repaired. The line about his grown daughter too, loaded with meaning, for me anyway. “This was a girl with everything. And yet she never smiled.” Jury resonated with me, its brutal and strangely quiet at the same time. It is all the things that don’t need to be said to understand even the relationship between father and daughter. He just doesn’t really get it, he is frustrated by the helplessness women deal with and yet, angry at the ways we fail to acknowledge the danger.All of the stories have meaning, purpose. In Rainbow Baby a mother’s grief is a specter, a bother like a living nightmare, decay in the brain. The hatred and betrayal of an old friend in Viral is so poisonous and sad, an ugly violence that isn’t far-fetched. It is born from envy, it is ‘animal hate’ of someone who ‘hasn’t known pain’. How broken our narrator of the story, and we the readers watching the transgression and knowing the horrible end, nothing you can do to stop it. Too, the manipulation at times young girls are so good at, with boys who can’t think more than “five minutes ahead”. What I think is fantastic about these characters is that they are incredibly developed for such short stories. With that line, a boy who “can’t think five minutes ahead”, it makes him such a solid mess, easily led. I can see him eager as a puppy. I feel his naive stupidity as much as I felt the father’s anger and fears in Jury. If someone is suffering in a story, they can explain it to themselves, excusing it, erasing anything others would find seedy or even criminal, when in The Brother, the youngest takes what isn’t his, violates a girl. All because he longs to connect, to have what his brother has. Just like all the people on the outside, scratching to be let in!As a reader I measure my responses as a human being, how is it I can be horrified and yet also feel sorry for the monster lurking in others. It’s so much easier to divide ourselves in categories, well I am nothing like that, there is nothing so primitive within my soul. Of course there is… the older you get the more you are tested by time, tragedy, experiences, the more things lash against you. It’s hard being your better self, your most human self. These are stories about feelings you should force to withdraw before you make a mistake you can’t take back. They are tales of sometimes allowing your dark side to run wild, or your emotions take over. It is being hungry with need, and my God desire and need can get ugly. Some offer themselves up as sacrifice to those who would soil them, I felt that in The Lover. Other’s close themselves away from the rest of us in The Shut-In, afraid of the world when they may be more monster than the threats they cower from. The ending of that story gutted me, it is such a small act but how I howled inside much like the unmasked.The stories all stayed with me, and moved me in wonderfully strange and terrible ways. Yes, read it! From these stories alone I decided to start following the author.Publication Date: February 12, 2019Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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  • Y (adoredwords)
    January 1, 1970
    I love Maryse, and will write up a proper review soon.
  • Anneke
    January 1, 1970
    Book Review: RagAuthor: Maryse MeijerPublisher: FSG Originals/Farrar, Straus and GirouxPublication Date: February 12, 2019Review Date: October 31, 2018I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This is yet another collection of short stories, again very dark, violent and confounding. Amazing work, but after this I think I need a breather and will look in my TBR list for something a little lighter. Here’s the description on Amazon:“From the author of Heartbreaker, a dis Book Review: RagAuthor: Maryse MeijerPublisher: FSG Originals/Farrar, Straus and GirouxPublication Date: February 12, 2019Review Date: October 31, 2018I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This is yet another collection of short stories, again very dark, violent and confounding. Amazing work, but after this I think I need a breather and will look in my TBR list for something a little lighter. Here’s the description on Amazon:“From the author of Heartbreaker, a disquieting collection tracing the destructive consequences of the desire for connection.A man, forgotten by the world, takes care of his deaf brother while euthanizing dogs for a living. A stepbrother so desperately wants to become his stepsibling that he rapes his girlfriend. In Maryse Meijer’s decidedly dark and searingly honest collection Rag, the desperate human desire for connection slips into a realm that approximates horror.Meijer’s explosive debut collection, Heartbreaker, reinvented sexualized and romantic taboos, holding nothing back. In Rag, Meijer’s fearless follow-up, she shifts her focus to the dark heart of intimacies of all kinds, and the ways in which isolated people’s yearning for community can breed violence, danger, and madness. With unparalleled precision, Meijer spins stories that leave you troubled and slightly shaken by her uncanny ability to elicit empathy for society’s most marginalized people.”I use these descriptions sometimes when I’m at a loss to provide my own. This book, like Friday Black, was a right-brain read for me. So, it’s difficult to describe what the stories are ABOUT. I’m more clear how they made me feel and what I think about the writing. The writing is Rag is simply breathtaking. The language, the imagery, the boldness of subject matter. Once again, another collection of stories way, way outside the box. Absolutely exquisite writing. I highly, highly recommend Rag. But be forewarned that the stories are deeply dark, violent and uncomfortable. If you’re up for taking a dive inside the realm of violence and savagery, this will be a book for you. If you’re looking for sweetness, light and bliss, I suggest you take a pass. That said, my hat off to Ms. Meijer for her courage and honesty at looking at the shadow that lives in all of us, whether we acknowledge it or not. This review will be posted now to NetGalley, and then Goodreads, Facebook, Instagram, Amazon and Barnes & Noble closer to the publication date. Posted review on NetGalley 10/31/18. Post to: Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook, Instagram and Barnes & Noble on 2/12/19 or a few days before and/or after.
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  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    Before opening up the pages of Rag I had a feeling of apprehension. I knew from reading her book “North Wood” that I would be willingly putting myself through a haunting experience and that I would encounter characters and settings that would leave me chilled. I had to brace myself to dunk into the surreal world that Maryse Meijer constructed and I was not disappointed. It definitely felt akin to walking into a house of mirrors. The reflections surrounding me were twisted and dark and yet I coul Before opening up the pages of Rag I had a feeling of apprehension. I knew from reading her book “North Wood” that I would be willingly putting myself through a haunting experience and that I would encounter characters and settings that would leave me chilled. I had to brace myself to dunk into the surreal world that Maryse Meijer constructed and I was not disappointed. It definitely felt akin to walking into a house of mirrors. The reflections surrounding me were twisted and dark and yet I could still recognize myself in them. I think that’s the scariest and most brilliant thing that Maryse Meijer does. I am not usually a fan of short stories but I thoroughly enjoyed this dark and twisty book. I couldn’t catch a break in between journeying from one character to another and sharing with them their hauntingly chilling tales. It was strange, so amazingly grotesque and even vulgar at some points and yet so fascinating. This is what I’ve used countless of times to describe this book. I can’t seem to break away from that statement because it seems so apt to describe my reading experience. I always think of reading as a journey down a river, sometimes the waters run calm and soothing and at others you have to hold on for dear life. Meijer’s words are singularly provocative and evocative in such a way that it felt as if I was in between Scylla and Charybdis. I can’t wait to read Heartbreaker and I will reiterate time and time again how glad I am to have been introduced to Maryse Meijer.
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  • Kris V Bernard
    January 1, 1970
    "I gave the steak a kiss and it was a lot like other kisses I'd had: cold, smooth, dead." ("Alice")"...people can't keep their hands off something sick." ("Pool")"A beautiful woman being dead never surprises him...If she's beautiful, she sees it coming."("Evidence")"It's laughter that comes from everywhere, from nowhere. You've heard it. At some point, it's had your name all over it." ("Viral")"All these things between us-masks, eyes, screen doors, windows, houses-filter after filter after filte "I gave the steak a kiss and it was a lot like other kisses I'd had: cold, smooth, dead." ("Alice")"...people can't keep their hands off something sick." ("Pool")"A beautiful woman being dead never surprises him...If she's beautiful, she sees it coming."("Evidence")"It's laughter that comes from everywhere, from nowhere. You've heard it. At some point, it's had your name all over it." ("Viral")"All these things between us-masks, eyes, screen doors, windows, houses-filter after filter after filter." ("The Shut-In")Upon receiving a preview edition of Maryse Meijer's much anticipated second story collection, I knew from the cover image that this I was about to experience a whole new world.I read through it once with my rainbow colored pencil at the ready, and then a second time to remind myself of what fearless writing looks and sounds like.The back cover says that she 'humanizes the inhuman,' which I'd say is part true in this collection. The other part is that she reveals the monstrous within humanity, or better yet, the individual monsters we each inhabit - even those of us who try to do better. She speaks to the living organism that is a mass of people moving each towards their destinations, and the way that preserves someone's invisibility ("The Shut-In").She pulls zero punches in a story about someone who picks up a job where relief is rendered in the form of a needle, and makes them question what they know about suffering ("Francis").There are even stories from the perspective of an animal, and an inanimate object - exquisite and jarring tales, which to me, spoke to humanity's arrogance and demise. What Meijer does in this collection is unveils truths in every day life; the pain and isolation of being human, being ALIVE and surviving that fact. If you're looking for writing that on a line-by-line basis will wake you up, make you feel, cry, groan - this is an unforgettable collection.In the end, what it taught me, a loner who often weaves her body through masses of people on the street or on trains, is to look out for the faces trying to stay hidden. Those are the ones Meijer writes about, and those are the ones I want to see more of. For they inhabit far more beauty than the trendsetting normals who work so hard to gain our attention.
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  • Marybeth
    January 1, 1970
    Sometimes, I read a book that drowns me and suffocates me. These are the books I love. I read this a couple weeks ago, finished it in a couple days, and tried to get some distance from it. But I can't get the stories out of my head. This may be one of the best collections of short stories I have ever read. I cannot believe how much Meijer was able to fit into such short stories. The depth of these stories are incredible, the writing is beautiful, and the characters are haunting.Read this.Thank y Sometimes, I read a book that drowns me and suffocates me. These are the books I love. I read this a couple weeks ago, finished it in a couple days, and tried to get some distance from it. But I can't get the stories out of my head. This may be one of the best collections of short stories I have ever read. I cannot believe how much Meijer was able to fit into such short stories. The depth of these stories are incredible, the writing is beautiful, and the characters are haunting.Read this.Thank you FSG and NetGalley for the ARC.
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  • Paolo Latini
    January 1, 1970
    In Rag Maryse Meijer continues her exploration of the contrast between Nature and Nurture. In Heartbreaker she confronted the abusiveness of man over Nature and that of Nature over men, in some of the shorts in Rag she confronts the animal part of human nature (“Francis,” “Good Girls”) and the way in which sometimes human culture tends to justify some animal behaviour still present in us. https://americanorum.wordpress.com/20...
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  • Elaina
    January 1, 1970
    I think what I like best about Maryse Meijer's stories is that while each collection's stories cover vastly different topics and capture the interior lives of vastly different but equally heartbreaking characters, they all consistently evoke a similar feeling around a specific theme. Her precise writing is at once compulsively readable and achingly chilling. Rag did not disappoint.
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  • Matthew
    January 1, 1970
    These stories are dark, disturbing, gorgeously off-kilter, and occasionally off-putting but always compelling.
  • Aida Alberto
    January 1, 1970
    I loved the interconnection of these stories. Very entertaining and gripping with characters that linger with you. Pick this up and enjoy this awesome book. Happy reading!
  • Rachel León
    January 1, 1970
    There's no one like Maryse Meijer. These stories are so horrifying, weird, and strangely delightful. I will revisit these stories again. So good.
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