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Synopses & Reviews
From the #1 bestselling author of Me Talk Pretty One Day and Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim comes a collection of the short stories David Sedaris loves most. Containing the work of both contemporary and classic writers, CHILDREN PLAYING BEFORE A STATUE OF HERCULES, edited and introduced by Sedaris, gives his legions of fans a glimpse at the writing he finds inspiring - and helps them discover the truth about loneliness, hope, love, betrayal, and certain, but not all, monkeys.
David Sedaris fell in love with short stories while living in Odell, Oregon. Sedaris writes, When apple-picking season ended, I got a job in a packing plant and gravitated toward short stories, which I could read during my break and reflect upon for the remainder of my shift. A good one would take me out of myself and stuff me back in, outsized, now, and uneasy with the fit. Featuring such notable writers as Alice Munro, Tobias Wolff, Lorrie Moore, and Joyce Carol Oates, readers will reconnect with classics, as well discover fantastic but lesser-known writers.
Included in CHILDREN PLAYING BEFORE A STATUE OF HERCULES are:
Introduction by David Sedaris
Oh, Joseph, I'm So Tired by Richard Yates
Gryphon by Charles Baxter
Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
The Garden Party by Katherine Mansfield
Half A Grapefruit by Alice Munro
Applause, Applause by Jean Thompson
I Know What I'm Doing About All the Attention I've Been Getting by Frank Gannon
Where the Door Is Always Open and the Welcome Mat Is Out by Patricia Highsmith
The Best of Betty by Jincy Willett
Song of the Shirt, 1941 by Dorothy Parker
The Girl with the Blackened Eye by Joyce Carol Oates
People Like That Are the Only People Here: Canonical Babbling in Peed Onk by Lorrie Moore
Revelation by Flannery O'Connor
In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried by Amy Hempel
Cosmopolitan by Akhil Sharma
Irish Girl by Tim Johnston
Bullet in the Brain by Tobias Wolff
Epilogue by Sarah Vowell
Borrowing the book's name from an Adriaen van der Werff painting, CHILDREN PLAYING BEFORE A STATUE OF HERCULES is David Sedaris's attempt to share his passion for short stories with a wider audience-and his enthusiasm is contagious. The authors in this book are huge to me, and I am a comparative midget, scratching around in their collective shadow. 'Pint sized Fanatic Bowing Before Statues of Hercules' might have been more concise, but people don't paint things like that, and besides, it doesn't sound as good.
David Sedaris is publishing this book to support 826NYC, a nonprofit tutoring center in Brooklyn, New York. All of his proceeds, after permission expenses, from CHILDREN PLAYING BEFORE A STATUE OF HERCULES will benefit this organization designed to help students ages six to eighteen develop their writing skills through free writing workshops, publishing projects, and one-on-one help with homework and English-language learning. In the book's epilogue, Sarah Vowell describes the fine work done by 826NYC.
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