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Extended Audio Sample Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, 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:
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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!


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.”


  • “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 by 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 by 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 by 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 by 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). "

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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.