Read Tales From The Mall by Ewan Morrison Online


Fashion, food courts, lingerie, fire bombing, suicide, free parking—welcome to the mall.  Winner of the Guardian's Not the Booker Prize and Glenfiddich Writer of the Year.Why would one woman threaten to kill another for a pair of discounted shoes? Why are cross-dressers drawn to mall car parks? What do impulse buys have to do with rioting? How are some malls "vampiric" whiFashion, food courts, lingerie, fire bombing, suicide, free parking—welcome to the mall.  Winner of the Guardian's Not the Booker Prize and Glenfiddich Writer of the Year.Why would one woman threaten to kill another for a pair of discounted shoes? Why are cross-dressers drawn to mall car parks? What do impulse buys have to do with rioting? How are some malls "vampiric" while others are "pregnant?" And why are market research companies hiding the truth from us?  A mash-up of fiction, essays and true stories, this collection tells of the rise of the most iconic symbol of our modern age: the shopping mall. From more than 100 interviews and confessions, Ewan Morrison re-tells the true-life tales of those who work, shop, and even find love inside their walls. With wry wit, insight, and compassion, he reveals how malls manipulate our emotions, how they are an ideal space to meet a new lover or to kill yourself, and how they are taking over the world. As shopping malls spread round the globe at the amazing speed of one new mall every 72 hours, and everyone, in every country ends up wearing the same fashions, Tales from the Mall gives us a page-turning tour of the history of the mall and a vision of our coming future. Packed full of terribly tweetable facts and gut wrenching, sometimes hilarious stories; this book will change the way you think about your hair color, your loyalty cards, the global economy, and your boyfriend or girlfriend—forever....

Title : Tales From The Mall
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781908885012
Format Type : Mass Market Paperback
Number of Pages : 340 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Tales From The Mall Reviews

  • Kats
    2019-01-25 01:14

    Tales from the Mall is a mad mix of fascinating facts, statistics, historical background, fictionalised accounts based on real interviews and actual short stories - all revolving around shopping malls. Just like shopping malls, the book sometimes confused me, overstimulated me and satiated any sense of voyeurism I may harbour (shopping centres are fab for people watching.... and so is this book!) - and certainly never bored me. Some of the short stories (whether or not they were based on fact or fiction) were exceptionally well written, and I was very disappointed when they ended. I've never read anything else by Ewan Morrison, but based on the short stories, I'd be keen to read a novel written by him. The well researched historical background, rich with stats and figures was interesting, but the most fascinating factual chapters were all about the psychological manipulation that is applied in the design, lay-out and even staffing of the malls and the shops within. I don't tend to frequent shopping centres very often, but the next time I do, it will be with a much more critical and aware mind. Thanks, Mr Morrison, for the great stories and many eye-openers on such an interesting aspect of our culture, society, and even geography.

  • Anna
    2019-02-03 04:04

    I’ve been meaning to read The Arcades Project for years and have a particular love for fiction set in the weird, psychologically oppressive space of shopping malls: Maul, Days, Kingdom Come, Yarn. ‘Tales from the Mall’ is a combination of the two. It includes short stories involving shopping centres, as well as true anecdotes and a potted history of the concept. I thought this combination of fact and fiction worked well, although I preferred the facts to the fictions. It all added up to a thought-provoking analysis of shopping malls and how we interact with them. While I lived in Cambridge, I went into a shopping centre nearly every other day, as the Central Library was in there. I became accustomed to screening out all the surrounding shops when I made a beeline for the sanctuary of the library. Now and again, though, I would look around the bright, shiny space and think about how strange it was. Especially when a pigeon had somehow become trapped in the grass roof, providing a surreal contrast to all the flimsy, transient architecture.Malls are temples dedicated to consumerism, designed around the imperative to promote shopping. Morrison’s book reminded me that they never have clocks: you are supposed to lose track of time, get lost in the haze of purchasing. The book also emphasises that malls are designed for individual shopping units rather than social creatures, so the interactions that occur are generally despite rather than because of the environment. It’s an appealing examination of this particular feature of late capitalism, now in decline as online shopping rises, and how squalid, inhumane, and depressing malls can be.

  • Helen
    2019-02-15 00:05

    Funny, perceptive, angry, post-apocalyptic: Tales from the Mall pushes literature to its limits and comes out singing. Morrison mixes up angry but erudite sociological essays about the history of the mall with short stories about lives touched by mall culture. The essays are polemics, in the style of Owen Hatherley's 'Welcome to the New Ruins of Great Britain' or Naomi Klein's 'No Logo', but they're also informative and terrifying. The short stories are gems - particularly the triumphant granny who is determined to eat her sandwiches in the mall, and ends up chasing away from security guards in a mobility scooter. When so much English fiction is middle-brow, derivative and obsessed with Henry VIII, Scottish literature is the one to watch for energy, bite and integrity.

  • Paul
    2019-02-11 02:08

    An interesting mix of fact, statistics, short stories and urban myths, the result of research and interviews that works well with the topic - the rise and rise (and fall?) of the shopping malls. As the author is based in Scotland it has a wee extra interest for me as the malls he describes are very familiar to me as I live in Glasgow. My 12 year old son picked it up when I laid it down one day and battered through it in one sitting as he was fascinated by it all.

  • Vikki
    2019-02-17 07:07

    Tales from the Mall is a critique of consumer culture. The non-fiction sections and anecdotes are interesting enough but it is the short stories that really make it. They demonstrate such a great understanding of people's motivations, hang ups, discontentment and desires, that you will definately find yourself in at least one of them.

  • Ewan
    2019-01-25 01:10

    One to sit alongside The Mezzanine as writing about the everyday. An urban counterpart to Robert Macfarlane's Wild Places.- A history of the rise of malls- a collection of real-world anecdotes from people who spend their days in the mall- and fictions inspired by real world events and academic studiesA great idea well executed.

  • Jamie
    2019-02-02 01:49

    Just a pure fantastic read.Couldn't put it down.A fantastic look into the history,style and general look at Mall's worldwide!

  • Jessy Pettit
    2019-02-04 03:15

    Not something I would normally pick up, but I studied it in a class while in Scotland. Pretty great (and strange!) stories inside!

  • Sho
    2019-01-24 01:07

    A difficult book to pigeon hole. There is a mixture of facts about Malls, interspersed with some short stories. One or two of the stories were phenomenally brilliant, actually. Highly recommended.

  • Lila
    2019-02-01 03:13

    Interesting mixture of the history of shopping malls and tales from people working and shopping at the mall. The focus is on malls in Scotland.

  • Garry
    2019-02-03 02:51

    I discovered lots of new things on my drive along Route 66 last year. The most enduring image was the social devastation caused by rerouting of the highway - whole towns that had become abandoned. It was unsettling to think of the communities that had been starved to extinction, of local histories lost. It was all too easy to imagine the despair of business owners struggling to leave a legacy for their children. Ewan Morrison speaks of a similar phenomenon in Tales of the Mall... of a decay that infects local communities when a mall opens up nearby. Of the corporations that construct mega-shopping facilities on the edges of towns and beyond; facilities that deliberately and ruthlessly suck traffic away from local businesses. Of the changes to social fabric that result.He also tells of the next phase of the decay - after strangling the local opposition, malls themselves are prone to being strangled. Maybe it's a bigger/better/newer mall that takes the business away, or maybe it's the general loss of market share to internet shopping. Either way, the result is the same.Given the magnitude of this issue, I found Tales of the Mall to be a little underwhelming. Maybe its' because the scale of mega-mall described in the book is foreign to my experience. There are definitely shopping malls in Australia, but they are a completely different beast to those I have seen in the US. I could empathise with the issues, but only to a limited extent.The book is presented in an unusual format. Standard non-fiction chapters are interspersed with semi-fictionalised personal accounts and fully fictionalised short stories. Some of these are absolutely brilliant, but I don't think it worked as a complete package. It was the literary equivalent of a piece of art made by flicking paint haphazardly onto a canvas, with no order or purpose. Morrison may have put a lot of effort into how one chapter led into the next, but I couldn't see it. I'm not sure that I, as a reader, was taken on a journey.I also think that the book suffered from a general lack of purpose. I thought some of the semi-fictionalised accounts made for great reading as stand-alone pieces, but that most of them were entirely redundant, as were a few of the factoid non-fiction chapters. Funnily enough, I tended to have a better understanding and appreciation of the role of the true fiction short stories - they were a varied bunch. A few were impenetrable, but most of them contained fairly obvious allegories that presented information about malls in a different way.My recommendation is to avoid trying to read this book from cover to cover. Open up to a random page and start reading. If it bores you, just move to a different page until you find one of the many nuggets that are hidden within. I could have easily given some of the Tales from the Mall 5 stars, but as a total package it only gets 2 from me.

  • Jim
    2019-01-30 01:50

    It’s just what it says in the title – a mixture of true and fictional stories related to shopping malls plus interesting factual information about the development, design and operational aspects of malls. No escapism here then - but I certainly did enjoy it. Some of the true tales document some really bizarre behaviour of the public and employees when they‘re in a shopping mall – quite amazing.However, the best is found in the fictional short stories, some of which are truly superb. The first is a comical sequence of events centring on the choice of a shopping mall as a neutral, safe place for a divorced father for the weekly contact with his children - without mum. The last is an epic journey of a guy drifting through life, loves, politics and his employment in retail and it parallels the development of shopping centres and our equivocal relationship with them. (sounds dire when I say it like that - but it works really well).Many of the stories focus on the downside of these retail giants – like the degradation of nearby town centres and environment, the alienation of mall employees, the anonymity of the individual in the mall (and the car parks)and the general inability of many people to control their own lives. Recurring themes include globalisation, the impact of branding, the power in the hands of large corporations and the general helplessness of individuals.Like every collection of stories there will be some you will like more than others but it certainly provokes thought and provides entertainment. I wouldn’t say to anyone – “You must read this!” – but if you like the sound of the mix provided here and you enjoy a bit of literary fiction, then you will not be disappointed with this collection.

  • Vicki Jarrett
    2019-02-16 04:48

    Tales from the Mall is an intriguing hybrid of a book. Short fiction, interspersed with the history of the Shopping Mall as a cornerstone of consumer culture and true stories from shopping centre staff. The fiction is great, at times very bleak but consistently revealing undeniable truths about modern life and how it can leave you feeling hollowed out, used up and hopelessly lost in all kind of unfixable ways. It’s not a happy perky read but the fact that it has been written at all, published, and gained a very respectable following IS good news. This stuff needs saying and not a lot of people are saying it. We are bombarded constantly with one side of the argument – the one in favour of endless consumption and manufactured desires – it’s refreshing to hear such an impassioned dissenting voice. At times I did feel a little harangued by the anti-consumerist message - probably because I essentially already agreed with the points being made so it felt a little like Morrison was shouting at the converted. But that’s a small niggle. The data about why shopping centres are designed the way they are was horrifying but also reassuring in a strange way for me – I’ve always felt uncomfortable in that kind of space. All those mirrors somehow make me feel fat and frumpy and vulnerable – judged. Until I read this book, I thought this was just me being insecure and paranoid but it turns out the entire environment is deliberately designed to make people feel that way so that they’ll buy stuff to make them feel better. Luckily for me, and my bank balance, these uncomfortable feelings always make me want to go home and do something more fun instead, like read a book. It’s a strange kind of peace of mind to know that while I’m not paranoid – they ARE in fact out to get me.

  • Sseonana
    2019-02-16 04:11

    An interesting book that mixes fiction with facts about the history of Shopping Malls, and short essays on consumerism. I liked this structure, and felt that it made this work gripping, and helped to emphasise the parasitic nature of Malls and the vacancy they create in local communities and societies. The short stories were the real highlights for me, and consolidated 'Tales from the Mall' on the whole.

  • Katrina
    2019-02-07 23:09

    There were some cracking good stories in this book and I thought that the non-fiction sections, in particular, stood out in terms of sheer quality. However, there were also some simply dire stories as well as a fair few completely forgettable ones.It was very much a mixed bag, and while I'm glad I read it, I can't say it's one I'd bother re-visiting.

  • Emily
    2019-02-22 04:14

    A new, hybrid kind of literature that navigates a mix of factual history, anecdotes and urban legend in order to scrutinise a space we're all familiar with, and expose the glossed-over negative impacts it has on cities.

  • Kay
    2019-01-27 00:00

    Another "Not the Booker" shortlisted novel. I preferred the non-fiction to the fiction. An interesting mix, but I'm not sure this is the way fiction is going.

  • Dickson Telfer
    2019-02-10 02:04

    Kinda weird but I like it.

  • Ray Melville
    2019-02-06 22:45

    Some good short storeys intermingled with the history and development of the shopping mall

  • Mike Ward
    2019-02-13 05:54

    I really wanted to like this, but it lurched from being really good, to not greatfull review here