The lost Ethan Coen project

Every once in a while, happenstance leads us to an excellent previously overlooked instant favorite. That’s precisely the case with the thoroughly enjoyable book Gates of Eden, a collection of hilarious — and sometimes disturbing — short stories by filmmaker Ethan Coen (who, along with his brother Joel, has been responsible for such films as The Big Lebowski and last year’s Oscar winner for Best Picture No Country for Old Men).

Originally published in 1998, Coen’s book of short stories includes familiar Coen Brothers tropes — absurd decapitations, dreary Midwest shenanigans, incompetent thugs, bloviating moguls — but what makes this book so engaging and an utter pleasure to read is Ethan Coen’s writing style: chockablock with a you-are-there purview mixed with razor-sharp dialogue.

If you’re a sucker for Coen Brothers movies or simply like tart, sharp-tongued short stories, this is the perfect summertime read — we picked up our copy for $3.97 making it the best bang for your entertainment buck. And if you simply can’t track down the book anywhere, check out these audio recordings of the short stories by familiar Coen Brothers actors (John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, and William H. Macy, among others).

BUY a used edition of Gates of Eden (Delta books; softcover; 261 pages) — the book is currently out of print

LISTEN to audio readings of Gates of Eden

This post is from Observer Short List—an email of three favorite things from people you want to know. Sign up to receive OSL here. The lost Ethan Coen project