Bream Gives Me Hiccups

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9780802124043: Bream Gives Me Hiccups

Eisenberg is truly a talented writer. . . Hilarious and poignant.” Entertainment Weekly

Bream Gives Me Hiccups: And Other Stories is the whip-smart fiction debut of Academy Award-nominated actor Jesse Eisenberg. Known for his iconic film roles but also for his regular pieces in the New Yorker and his two critically acclaimed plays, Eisenberg is an emerging literary voice.

Taking its title from a group of stories that begin the book, Bream Gives Me Hiccups moves from contemporary L.A. 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 2!).

United by Eisenberg’s gift for humor and character, and grouped into chapters that open with illustrations by award-winning cartoonist Jean Jullien, 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.

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About the Author:

Jesse Eisenberg is an Academy Award-nominated actor, playwright, and contributor for the New Yorker and McSweeney’s. He is the author of three plays, Asuncion, The Revisionist, and The Spoils, which won the Theater Visions Fund Award. Eisenberg’s acting credits include The Social Network, Now You See Me, Adventureland, The Squid and the Whale, The Double, and The End of the Tour. Forthcoming acting credits include Batman v. Superman.

Review:

Praise for Bream Gives Me Hiccups:

A Fall Books Preview Selection by Audible
One of the Wall Street Journal’s 15 Books to Read This Fall
One of USA Today’s Weekend Picks for Book Lovers
One of People’s Best New Books


Eisenberg has a terrific ear, especially for adolescent inflections, absurdity, self-delusion, and insecurity. He also has a flair for off-the-wall ideas . . . With its panoply of neurotics and narcissists and its smart mix of stinging satire and surprising moments of sweetness, Bream Gives Me Hiccups brings to mind fellow comic actor/writers Woody Allen, Steve Martin and B.J. Novak. It also offers a youthful new twist on what one of Eisenberg’s hopeless dreamers refers to ironically, of course as the cruel irony of life.’” NPR Books

Compelling . . . A fascinating look into the minds of misfits . . . Whether it’s Alexander Graham Bell bumbling through his first phone calls or Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks pacifying a fan, Eisenberg’s ability to create interesting and entertaining dialogue as if the exchange actually occurred is impressive . . . Eisenberg’s wit jumps off the page . . . Bream Gives Me Hiccups is a delightful collection of awkward scenarios twisted into humorous, witty and sometimes poignant life lessons. It’s simultaneously smart, clever and creative.” Associated Press

Eisenberg’s strength is in dialogue and monologue, and in writing miserable characters who alternately compel (like a 9-year-old from a broken home who writes restaurant reviews) and repel (like Harper, the footnote-obsessed freshman Eisenberg lovingly describes as maladjusted’) . . . Eisenberg is uncannily good at capturing a specific breed of insincere teen girl.” Entertainment Weekly

Fans of writing by Woody Allen and B.J. Novak will revel in these hilarious pieces by actor-playwright Eisenberg. Light or dark but never sweet, each is inventive . . . Relationships gone haywire provide many of the best jokes. It’s a hoot.” People (The Best New Books)

A great book . . . The first part of the book [is] a series of restaurant reviews Eisenberg writes in the voice of a privileged nine-year old. The reviews are hilarious but gradually reveal a moving portrait of a lonely boy’s bond with his single mom. All the stories seem to work on multiple levels like that.” Arun Rath, All Things Considered,” NPR

I love it.” Diane Rehm, Diane Rehm Show

An alphabet soup of sketches, riffs, and innovations . . . Eisenberg is funny . . . with wit and insight beyond his 31 years . . . These stories remind me . . . of Steve Martin in the way they often subvert comic convention and, more significantly, in how the author empathizes with his characters . . . Eisenberg’s empathy, even more than his intelligence and wit, make him an artist worth watching.” Seattle Times

Bream Gives Me Hiccups & Other Stories features a mixture of humor and sad stories . . . In his new collection . . . Eisenberg has some wicked fun with limousine liberals, the young and overly educated, and others from demographic groups in urgent need of satire. Yet he does so with surprising compassion and a deep feeling for the pain of human disconnectedness.” Chicago Tribune

It’s no surprise, perhaps, that the actor’s short stories read like scenes. What may be a surprise, however, is Eisenberg’s deft talent for playfully bringing both familiar and wholly original scenarios to life.” Marie Claire (What We’re Reading)

Jesse Eisenberg is as unpredictable on the page as he is on screen . . . Eisenberg’s perversely dark sense of humor gives stories bite, and the collection’s loose structure split into nine sections, some lasting only a few pages makes it a brisk, approachable read . . . It’s a confident step forward for Eisenberg as a writer and should pave the way for a more formal novel, with any luck.” USA Today

A short humor collection overflowing with high-strung characters entangled in absurd situations.” O Magazine (A Dozen Ways to Spread the Cheer)

[Eisenberg’s] jittery on-screen energy seeps onto the pages of this book.” Wall Street Journal (15 Books to Read This Fall)

Eisenberg’s 28 stories in Bream Gives Me Hiccups range from the diary of a nine-year-old food critic to letters about stolen ramen . . . Eisenberg’s characters are lively, and his awareness of universal neuroses (yours and his alike) shows he’s more than a hobbyist.” Time (Best of Fall: Books)

He’s a walking ball of neuroses, a fledgling playwright, and now a short-story writer, telling tales covering subjects as varied as Pompeii and ramen.” New York Magazine (Fall Books Preview)

Funny and poignant, a darkly comic look at family, insecurity, and, briefly, Cameroonian separatism.” National Post

I was reading this book and laughing out loud over and over and over again . . . This is really good . . . Wildly funny short stories . . . Spectacular.” WGBH/Boston Public Radio

The star of The Social Network and The Last Tour can also write! Separation Anxiety Sleep Away Camp’ is worth the entire volume.” SF Gate (Recommendations from Mrs. Dalloway’s)

Mr. Eisenberg . . . is expanding as a playwright and author . . . For those seeking hidden clues into the real Mr. Eisenberg by reading his fiction, there is no simple transparency . . . This fascination with psychology, neurosis and a mash-up of high and low culture often inspires comparisons with Woody Allen . . . Mr. Eisenberg prefers to be a creator rather than a consumer of culture.” New York Observer

Bream Gives Me Hiccups isn’t merely comic writing of the first order; it’s an often tender, highbrow-lowbrow mash-up that encompasses everything from Chomsky and Žižek to disastrous pickup lines and pubescent neuroses. Jesse Eisenberg writes with formidable intellect and verbal dexterity, but he also has something many deadeye satirists lack: empathy with his targets. To borrow his most unforgettable character’s line, you’ll want to give his debut collection 2000 out of 2000 stars.” Teddy Wayne, author of The Love Song of Jonny Valentine

Jesse Eisenberg is a deeply original comic voice. These stories are about the funniness, sadness, and strangeness of everyday life and they really made me laugh.” Roz Chast

A remarkable book by an immensely talented writer.” Andy Borowitz

Brilliantly witty, deeply intelligent, and just plain hilarious. If David Sedaris wrote about Carmelo Anthony, Bosnian genocide, and ramen-stealing college freshmen, it would probably come out something like Jesse Eisenberg’s Bream Gives Me Hiccups. A moving portrait of human beings at their weaker moments, and a wonderful send-up of the insanities of modern America.” Sherman Alexie

I’ve been a fan of Jesse Eisenberg’s plays for years and his prose is just as winning. Bream Gives Me Hiccups is hilarious, poignant and at times so self-deprecating it makes me want to give Jesse a hug. He’s taken decades of neurosis and spun it into comedy gold.” Simon Rich

Jesse Eisenberg’s hysterical and exciting stories come in the form of email exchanges, conversations in parks, and late night drunken speeches. A little boy’s restaurant reviews capture the ridiculous, inappropriate and tender relationships between single mothers and their children with an honesty that will bring tears of laughter to your eyes. Eisenberg explores the disturbing ineptitude with which we live our lives, the terrible advice we give to family members, the burden that we place on those we love, and how wonderful, wonderful it all is.” Heather O’Neill

This book is so good, I read it in one gulp. Densely clustered brilliance from a consistent over-achiever, it’s funny, precise, and tender.” Richard Ayoade

The debut story collection from actor Eisenberg is a quick, witty read. . . hilarious . . . modernist tragicomic scenarios . . . Eisenberg’s brand of comedy is frequently compared to Woody Allen’s, and it’s easy to see why the stories are populated with neuroses, highly difficult people, anxious mothers, and therapists; all seem to function in the same self-contained New York universe. . . charming, deftly written, and laugh-out-loud funny.” Publishers Weekly

With an offbeat wit, Academy Award nominated actor and writer Eisenberg proves to be a compassionate chronicler of absurdity . . . Reminiscent of Woody Allen’s prose experiments, these quirky and digestible stories take the form of text messages, letters, jokes, transcribed conversations, pamphlets, and, in one case, a camp itinerary for codependent children. . . Even those tales with a more traditional structure toy with expectations . . . Eisenberg’s pithy, amusing pieces . . . delight with their playfulness and insight.” Booklist

Eisenberg’s stories leap from college dorms to Los Angeles to ancient Pompeii, charting socially awkward moments with tart humor. Folks will be interested.” Library Journal

If Jesse Eisenberg’s first fiction collection were made up of simple extended bits, in which Eisenberg takes an initial premise and wittily wrings it for every drop of comedic juice possible, the book would still be an entertaining read. What makes Bream Gives Me Hiccups more than that, however, is the dissection of social anxiety underlying each piece. Through a myriad of perspectives . . . Eisenberg relates a collective understanding of how difficult it is to both like others and also feel liked . . . Eisenberg’s characterizations are light and dexterous, and almost neurotically close. . . . Bream Gives Me Hiccups attests to Eisenberg’s understanding of our cultural moment in which art and pop are still meeting, and still clashing. . . . Rather than sacrifice reality for sentiment (or vice versa), Eisenberg vacillates between the two. The results are characters and stories that at first make you laugh, then think, then sigh.” ZYZZYVA

Actor Eisenberg’s debut collection impresses . . . All told, Bream Gives Me Hiccups provides something for everyone . . . Eisenberg has an excellent command of language, along with an engaging wit expressed through vivid characters . . . A delightful combination of emotional depth and satire.” Winnipeg Free Press

The most obvious comparison, perhaps homage, is to Woody Allen . . . Eisenberg, 31, shares the older man’s gift for putting an almost permanent wry smile on your face . . . [A] thoroughly enjoyable debut.” Esquire (UK)

If you haven’t yet heard of this young talent . . . you soon will. These short stories are all wonderfully original. The title story . . . is funny and heartbreaking sometimes in the same sentence . . . Terrific.” Times (UK)

A sharp, witty collection . . . Clever use of dramatic irony and an entertaining streak of theatrical absurdity. An acerbic 21st-century sketch show.” Financial Times

Eisenberg continues to deliver both considered humour and intelligent, conversational prose . . . Bream Gives Me Hiccups is a charming and clever collection which occasionally packs a striking emotional punch . . . Eisenberg is a sharp and smart writer . . . There is a tangible presence of both style and substance in this debut collection.” Independent (UK)

[Bream Gives Me Hiccups] reads like half-written material for a stand-up comedy show, or skits for Saturday Night Live. It is all infused with the cadence of old-fashioned New York Jewish humour . . . There’s a string of character portraits, written in the first person, which show off Eisenberg’s flair for writing dialogue.” Sunday Times (UK)

The Oscar-nominated actor’s debut collection channels a youthful, alternative vibe that combines the innovation of the digital world with the armchair philosophizing of the slacker generation. The core group of stories, Restaurant Reviews from a privileged Nine-Year-Old,’ are wisecracking, knowing and sardonic.” Sunday Telegraph (UK)

There’s a lot of active thinking in Eisenberg’s work . . . The world of Bream Gives Me Hiccups is full of overthinkers; a neurotic urban world populated by therapists, crammed with pseudo-intellectual references and fuelled by the anxiety of the privileged. It’s at its funniest when its characters’ neuroses overwhelm rational behaviour and make everything far more complicated than is necessary . . . An astute observer of human delusion.” Irish Times

The star of The Social Network makes his fiction debut with this collection of witty stories. They’re set all over the place, from modern-day LA to ancient Pompeii, and are all undeniable smart and fun reads.” Heat (UK)

He sure can act, and boy, can he write. The debut collection of stories by the Oscar-nominated Social Network star is well observed, friskily written and a hoot.” Tatler (UK)

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