July 29, 2012 |
Summer Lies Stories Bernhard Schlink Pantheon: 240 pp., $25.95 In the summer, it isn't easy being German. For a few weeks each year, the famously efficient German work routine grinds to a halt. Relaxation is the order of the day. People bound by blood and marriage spend long, listless hours together - whether they like it or not. The characters in Bernhard Schlink's new, revelatory collection of short stories, "Summer Lies," suffer through the forced intimacy of their family vacations.
February 9, 1986 |
"The Best American Short Stories" is one of two annual anthologies that assemble some--and I stress some-- of the best short fiction published in American and Canadian magazines during the preceding year (the other is "Prize Stories/The O. Henry Awards"; a third, "The Editors' Choice: New American Stories, made its debut last year).
November 14, 1993 |
The publicity material for this elegant collection of short stories reminds us that "Mavis Gallant has published more fiction in the New Yorker than any other writer--more than 100 stories to date." That's the kind of statement that cuts both ways: Obviously these tales are going to be witty, elegant and urbane, but in another sense many New Yorker stories are generic: Well-heeled men and women "lose their way" in ways that are easy for well-heeled readers of the New Yorker to understand.
March 8, 1991 |
James Laughlin, founder of New Directions press, has not only published adventurous contemporary fiction but found time himself to produce an impressive body of criticism, short fiction and verse. A tribute to a distinguished man of letters, "Random Stories" collects a dozen quietly powerful short stories written early in his career; it also includes an informal and candid autobiographical essay and an affectionate tribute by Octavio Paz.
December 14, 1998 |
"I know when one is dead." The line is King Lear's; the dead one, his youngest daughter Cordelia; the writer, Shakespeare. I have seen many great actors (and even actresses) read that line. And yet the performance I remember best is that of the critic and teacher Richard Sewell in a lecture theater filled with 300 college students. It was the first class of the term. We all knew that Sewell, a gentle man with a bewildered shock of white hair, had just lost his wife over the winter vacation.
January 30, 2011 |
While Mortals Sleep Unpublished Short Fiction Kurt Vonnegut, foreword by Dave Eggers Delacorte: 272 pp., $27 It was in the 1950s that Kurt Vonnegut, then in his early 30s, quit his job as a publicity man for the research department of General Electric and committed himself to a freelance career. He soon published a first novel, 'Player Piano' (unsuccessful), and began cranking out short stories, scores of them, for the 'slicks' ? family magazines such as Collier's, Saturday Evening Post and Cosmopolitan, markets that had helped support the careers of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Irwin Shaw, among others, and still, at that time, paid handsomely for fiction.
May 1, 1988 |
Frederic Raphael went to Cambridge University in the early '50s and never got over it. Three decades, 14 novels, and three volumes of short stories later, Raphael's university days remain, it appears, the dominant shaping influence of his life.
May 11, 2007 |
Amy Hempel, short story writer, is spending a rainy morning at a Madison Avenue diner. She is 56 years old. Her flowing hair is silvery-white. Her speech is clear, but careful. She sometimes edits herself as she talks or advances her thoughts as if placing one foot slowly before the other. For more than 20 years, she has been creating stories, short stories.
December 15, 1995 |
Let's just assume, for the sake of argument, that you've all read Harriet Doerr's first book, "Stones for Ibarra" (Viking / Penguin, 1984) and most likely, her second book, "Consider This, Senora" (Harcourt Brace, 1993). (Having read the first and waited nine long years, you would certainly have devoured the second, unless you were out of the country or off the planet.
November 11, 1993 |
The broken marriages and relationships that figure in Elizabeth Tallent's stories are like smashed mirrors. A picture disintegrates. The man and woman--and the children and stepchildren who are part of the broken picture--bleed as they walk barefoot through the shards, but they also catch bright glimpses of themselves and of each other. The shards are mirrors too.