Gates of Eden is a short story collection by Ethan Coen of the Coen Brothers movie-writing-directing fame. I bought it in around 2000 I think and as is much easier with books of short stories (and fairly easy for me with books of any kind) abandoned it after it didn’t seem to be quite what I thought it might be.
However my current practice is to have a short story collection on the go at the same time as reading whatever current novel I’ve got so that I’ve got an alternative if I’m not into the novel, but one which won’t involve having to keep up with two longer story-lines at once.
I’m not sure what I was expecting. I suppose I was hoping for something along the lines of the Coens’ better (or my favourite of their) films. In a way that’s what I got. Some of the stories were very dialogue heavy – there were several from first person POV and a few that were literally scripts – and the dialogue had that quirky interesting cadence to it. Also similar themes to some of the movies – people involved in the lower levels of the crime world, or just the odd corners of society. A couple were more a ‘slice of life’ from a Jewish-American perspective, which while interesting didn’t grab me because of the lack of a story per se.
So there was stuff to like here but I wasn’t overwhelmed. Mind you, if I saw the Big Lebowski today, for the first time, I’m not sure it would have as big an impact on me. What seemed quirky and fun when I was younger might seem a bit sadder now that I’m close to the Dude in age.
6/10 – mostly a curiosity or one for the Coens completist.