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Extended Audio Sample Drinking Coffee Elsewhere Audiobook, by Z. Z. Packer Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,516 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Z. Z. Packer Narrator: Shirley Jordan Publisher: Highbridge Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2008 ISBN: 9781598878226
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Z. Z. Packer’s first collection of short stories is rich with unexpected turns, indelible images, and penetrating insight that belies someone so young. Her stories plunge us into the worlds of people living on the edge and to the flash points that make or break them, that shape their worldviews forever. In The Stranger, a third-grade girl tries to find her place in the microcosm of summer camp in the larger world in 1981 during the height of the Atlanta child murders. The girl’s bathroom at camp is the setting for a clash between an all-black and an all-white Brownie troop in Brownies. Two young women prod the boundaries of friendship and love in Drinking Coffee Elsewhere.

A highly anticipated debut from an award-winning young writer.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Z. Z. Packer writes a short story with more complexity and kindness than most people can muster in their creaking 500-page novels. It is the kind of brilliance for narrative that should make her peers envious and her readers very, very grateful.”

    Zadie Smith

  • “Packer casts an eye both humorous and merciless upon her characters, putting them, in the tradition of Flannery O’Connor, to tests of faith, family, friendship, love, and self that can approach almost Biblical dimensions.”

    Elle

  • “Acerbic, satirical, hilarious, nuanced, as fiercely unsentimental and deliciously subtle as Jane Austen.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “A captivating eye for detail…A bold and often thrilling usage of language and style.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “Z. Z. Packer’s prose is vivid and often comic…Her vision sizzles and fizzes.”

    John Updike

  • “This is the old-time religion of storytelling, although Packer’s prose supplies plenty of the edge and energy we expect from contemporary fiction.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Packer’s handling of race is consistently impressive. While some writers choose to bang the concept on an anvil, and others avoid the subject altogether, this thirty-year-old manages to work it into nearly every story without coming off like a public service announcement. But without question Packer’s strength is her characters, and when she’s at her best she writes like a boxer, capturing everything she needs in rapid-fire sentences.”

    Washington Post

  • A 2004 PEN/Ernest Hemingway Foundation Award Finalist
  • A 2004 Audie Award Finalist
  • An ALA Notable Book Finalist for Fiction
  • A 2004 PEN/Faulkner Award Finalist
  • Winner of the 2004 YALSA Alex Award

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nia Forrester | 2/16/2014

    " Forgot that I read this one ages ago. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carrie | 2/4/2014

    " She's a great writer. These stories feel effortless, so easily and naturally told. I can't wait for her first full-length book to come out. I know one's in the works! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Justin Shepherd | 2/1/2014

    " Collection of short stories that are largely about disaffected adolescents who are searching for something better beyond their circumstances. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amy | 1/28/2014

    " OK I recently stated that I'm not a huge fan of the short story format, and Jhumpa Lahiri made a liar out of me with Unaccustomed Earth. Now, Z Z Packer has done it again. I would recommend Drinking Coffee Elsewhere to anyone (even those who don't like short stories). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jen Boudinot | 1/22/2014

    " One of my favorite short story collections of all time. I wish ZZ Packer would write something else! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 LaiYee | 12/27/2013

    " The author was a classmate at Yale. Very likeable person, and great writing here. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alex | 12/5/2013

    " brownies. that is all. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Avantika Mehta | 11/26/2013

    " Picked it up because I was going to attend a workshop led by her. Don't regret either; book and workshop took my breath away. Best option for Updike fans looking for a new author to fall in love with "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 April | 9/12/2013

    " Really enjoyed this book! My favorite characters were Ray Bivens jr and Dina. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 cat | 8/4/2013

    " my friend erica sent this book to me and it reminds me so much of her and of anyone who has a way with words, where they just spill out in the right order and organize all your thoughts into one crystal-clear sentence. really, really brilliant "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Zack Quaintance | 6/11/2013

    " Fantastic story collection about race, sexuality, growing up and just trying your hardest to love life when it tends to regularly kick your ass. Loved this collection. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sara | 6/2/2013

    " Outstanding collection. Want to read more of her work. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rosanne | 5/3/2013

    " I was moved by each story. Sucked in and engrossed. I wouldn't have ended some the way that Packer did, but I enjoyed them all nonetheless. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ariel | 3/9/2013

    " Enjoyable as hell. But like in a good, swear word way. Not in a hellish way. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 William | 12/7/2012

    " ZZ Packer writes marvelous short fiction. I highly recommend her work. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jesse Cohn | 6/2/2012

    " Didn't get to finish this before I had to return it, but the first few stories did grab me. An interestingly subtle sense of humor leavens the pain in these stories. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Columbus | 4/14/2012

    " Just starting to read this book. Reading it for my book club. I've heard really good reviews on it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kai | 2/21/2012

    " One of the best short story collections that I've read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Luke | 2/6/2012

    " I think I just discovered a new favorite writer "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Adi Alsaid | 12/15/2011

    " Strong prose and rich character. Great writing. I didn't fall in love with any of the stories, but I can sense in Packer the potential to turn me into a huge fan. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Adrian | 12/11/2011

    " Fresh voice in short fiction. Loved the tone of the stories. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Eric | 11/28/2011

    " All-time favorite collection of short stories. Narrative tone is the whole ball of wax in my opinion. She's the best in that department. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michelle Peet | 11/6/2011

    " This is an eclectic collection of shorts...mostly coming-of-age tales, in distinct, strong voices. Highly recommend this collection. ZZ Packer knows how to tell a tale. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tracy | 9/12/2011

    " As with any short story collection, my feelings are mixed about individual pieces. But there are a few really good ones. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Darshna | 9/1/2011

    " Collection of short stories, some good, some not so much. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy DeLong | 8/25/2011

    " My absolute favorite story in this collection has to be "Brownies". It capture the innocence of childhood cruelety in the most heartbreaking, lucid way I've ever seen. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kate | 7/8/2011

    " Picked it up in the library and read one story while there. I liked it, so I hope to read all of them. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Thorn | 4/20/2011

    " Basically flawless. I was captivated. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alicia | 4/19/2011

    " Beautifully written. I love a good short story. While most of the stories were tragic and left me with a feeling of quiet despair, they also left me thinking. That takes talent. I look forward to more work from Ms. Packer. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mindy | 4/4/2011

    " Funny, poignant and memorable. A voice at once unique and universal. And even though I gladly would have spent a novel with most of these characters, at least their stories ended logically rather than abruptly like so many short stories do. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katie | 3/21/2011

    " succinct, powerful writing from a woman who knows what she wants to say and says it well. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mignon Ariel | 3/17/2011

    " "Brownies" is one of the best stories about bigotry...ever. It's the reason I've eagerly returned to read the collection.

    I'll be back with a couple of comments on specific stories as I read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Meghan | 3/7/2011

    " I need a half-star. 3.5 for you, ZZ. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeanette | 2/16/2011

    " Excellent collection of short stories! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Meagan | 2/14/2011

    " A great collection of stories. My persoonal favorite was 'Geese'. ZZ Packer is thoughtful with a dash of bkuntness.... "

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About the Author

Z. Z. Packer’s first story was printed by Seventeen when she was only nineteen years old. A graduate of Yale and the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, her short stories have been published in The Best American Short Stories, 1999 and the anthology Twenty-Five and Under. Her stories have also appeared in the New Yorker, Harper’s, Story Magazine, and Ploughshares.