McSweeney’s #16

ISBN: 1932416153
ISBN 13: 9781932416152
By: Dave Eggers Ann Beattie Robert Coover

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Anthology Currently Reading Fiction Literary Journal Mcsweeney S Mcsweeney S Quarterly Mcsweeneys Short Stories To Read Unread

Reader's Thoughts

Sam Quixote

McSweeney's 16 unfolds into 4 sections containing a paperback of short stories, a paperback novella, a pack of cards with a story printed on them, and a comb. Materially, this is one of the best produced and good looking books out there, McSweeney's proving their innovation extends beyond the written word into design. It's a shame the stories don't live up to the brilliant product. Denis Johnson proves why he's the best known of all the contributors by providing an extract from his novel "Tree of Smoke" entitled "Lucky". The story follows young servicemen in Indo-China before Vietnam escalates into a full blown conflict and includes reactions to the assassination of JFK, prostitutes, squabbling brothers, and a monkey shooting all in 15 pages! Roddy Doyle, usually a very strong short story writer, provides a so so story called "Home to Harlem" while Adam Levin's "Considering the Bittersweet End of Susan Falls" has its moments as the story centres on a legless, abnormally intelligent teen girl in college falling in love with an older girl and then suddenly dying. Robert Coover writes a story on the playing cards about the Queen of Hearts baking tarts for the King and then having them stolen. The idea is that, besides the first and last card, you shuffle the deck and each time read a different story. It's a great idea but isn't as amazing as it sounds. Each card ends with a character doing something and the event being covered on the next card. Eg. "The Knave of Hearts then..." and the next card beginning "... jumped through the window into the garden". It's ok and a neat idea but basically not that enthralling especially as Coover's story isn't very interesting. Ann Beattie's novella was so insufferably smug I only managed 10 pages out of 50 before putting it down. It's a great issue if only for the presentation but there are some interesting stories within. I think style trumps substance in this regard but the style is so good it's worth checking out just for that.


this issue comes with a fucking comb.and there's stories & a novel excerpt.but: comB!!!

Rachel McKinney

This is worth a pickup for the content alone... but the fact that it comes with a comb and a deck of cards to shuffle and read as a story is FANTASTIC.


This is now my favorite publlisher. A fine literary journal with the most beautiful bindings and a nice topping of wit.


A pretty solid collection of stories. I appreciate their willingness to take risks. I think the first half is stronger, and I especially enjoyed Mudder Tongue and Considering the Bittersweet End of Susan Falls. It also includes a story on playing cards that can be shuffled and reread numerous times. And a comb.

Noel VerDine

This triple(!) gate-fold layout was what made me fall so, so in love with McSweeney's Quarterly Concern.


I recently wrote a short thing about Dave Eggers and then realized that I hadn't rated or reviewed the many issues of McSweeney's I've read. The early issues were especially influential and inspiring to me. This issue came with a comb!


it came with a comb

Patrick Font

Icelandic fiction. Many fantastic short stories were featured in this issue.


Heart Suit (Robert Coover) will be one of my favorite things for a long time. It changes with every reading! I'm in awe of his raunchy rewrite of the King of Hearts nursery rhyme that is both introspective and interactive. Yum.Also of note is Roddy Doyle's "Home To Harlem," but I don't know how to describe that one.

Nicki Pfaff

It comes with a comb and a pack of cards. These tie into stories contained in the book. Plus, that's just pretty awesome packaging.


contains my favorite short story ever: "the medicine man" by kevin moffett

e. d'alessandro

the packaging somehow makes this issue ten times more fun to read.


i think this is one of the most surprising books i have ever held in my hands. firts of all is cover: fabric, folded 2 or even 3 times. there is comb and a bunch of books in different pockets. i have finished one with a lot of stories. good collection. wasn't disappointed at all!some stories are strange as always. liked one about Susan and was laughing a lot with mudder tongue:)

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