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World Is the Home of Love & Death: Stories

World Is the Home of Love & Death: Stories Cover

ISBN13: 9780805059991
ISBN10: 0805059997
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

With The World Is the Home of Love and Death, Harold Brodkey completes the extraordinary literary voyage that began with the publication of his first short story in The New Yorker in 1952. During the past four decades, Brodkey established himself as a modern master of short fiction. In The World Is the Home of Love and Death, Brodkey returns to themes he has treated so memorably in the past--the conformity and stupefying monotony of suburbia, the malevolence of cocktail-party conversation--bringing to them a new refinement and compression. In all of these stories, Brodkey proves that there has never been a more acute translator of the language of power, coercion, and, ultimately, love. It is altogether appropriate that Brodkey's final return to fiction should be to the short story, a form that he has influenced so profoundly.

About the Author

A staff writer for The New Yorker since the early 1950s, Harold Brodkey died in 1996. He was the author of two novels, including The Runaway Soul (Owl Books, 0-8050-5503-7, $17.00), three short-story collections, and a memoir, This Wild Darkness (Owl Books, 0-8050-5511-8, $12.95),  My Venice (Metropolitan, 0-8050-4833-2, $20.00), and The World is the Home of Love and Death.

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Grady Harp, January 27, 2010 (view all comments by Grady Harp)
Stories by the Inimitable Harold Brodkey

Harold Brodkey seemed to affect readers by creating a spectrum beginning with those who fell under his spell and these who felt his work was overrated and too difficult to understand. Now some 15 years after his death in some of his lesser known books, like this collection of short stories THE WORLD IS THE HOME OF LOVE AND DEATH, his gifts as a writer are being more widely appreciated. Long considered one of the more powerful writer of short stories, this collection continues to substantiate that position. Brodkey's style varies from most writers in that he concentrates on creating individuals that in and of themselves are more important than the story in which he places them. Few writers have coped with the dichotomy of sexual identification as well as Brodkey and some of his best work is keyed toward characters who face that 'public conspiracy of acceptance'.

Brodkey has a way with picking up the atmosphere of the most mundane of topics such as cocktail conversation and creates dialogues and character responses to dialogues about the vitriol that spews forth as the alcohol level elevates as in 'A Guest in the Universe' and also in 'Dumbness Is Everything'. But he also is able to crawl into the mind of the near mute character lost in thought and describe the world through eyes as few have accomplished: 'What I Do for Money' is the extended musings of an ordinary office worker who is coping with his newly diagnosed brain tumor and the manner in which he alters his view of others and of the possible roads he could take, given his diagnosis.

In each of these eleven stories Harold Brodkey manages to override the importance of the story line he is molding by treating the reader to a level of prose that is as captivating as that of any more famous author. He shapes language, dawdles with moments that deserve pause until he brings gradually emerging and diminishing light to a subject thought foreign, and allows dialogue to become as simple as the person speaking it without resorting to the all too frequent flaw of dumbing down the reader. Reading Harold Brodkey takes time - time to savor the brilliance of his gifts as a wordsmith, time to understand some of the foreign waters in which he invites us to wade. But it is a time well spent - and it is time to spend more attention to this marvelous writer.

Grady Harp
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Product Details

Brodkey, Harold
Short Stories (single author)
Middle west
Stories (single author)
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8.25 x 5.50 in

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

World Is the Home of Love & Death: Stories
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Product details 384 pages Henry Holt & Company, Incorporated - English 9780805059991 Reviews:
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