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Original Essays | August 21, 2014

Richard Bausch: IMG Why Literature Can Save Us



Our title is, of course, a problem. "Why Literature Can Save Us." And of course the problem is one of definition: what those words mean. What is... Continue »
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    Before, During, After

    Richard Bausch 9780307266262

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Handbook for Drowning: A Novel in Stories

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Handbook for Drowning: A Novel in Stories Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Review:

"Uneven but often alluring stories, though many of them read like outtakes from Dead Languages, Shields's ambitious 1989 novel of a son's growing up under the stressful nurturing of eccentric parents who were also passionately liberal intellectuals....An offering of compellingly skilled stories, then, but not the wished-for staking out of new terrain. As to the estimable achievement of Dead Languages, what's here is a little bit like finding a plate of hors d'oeuvres after the dinner is already eaten." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"The model here seems to be Leonard Michaels. One story, 'The Sixties,' even carries the tag 'After Leonard Michaels's "In the Fifties."' There is Michaels's brevity (24 stories, 178 pages: not one word wasted), some of his unkindness, some of the threat of sexual ugliness his stories wield; but there isn't the cold perfection, because Shields isn't cold and he doesn't have the temper for perfection. He doesn't have the heart of a formalist. You want more from him than just art--some plot, some theme, some warmth....Shields does best when he plants his feet in the world. In three books he's traveled from clunkiness to pure technique. If he keeps heading in the same direction he could end up writing stories of two or three beautiful words." Craig Seligman, Voice Literary Supplement

Review:

"Similar in theme to his most recent novel, Dead Languages, these linked stories sensitively probe the psychic wounds inflicted by families....While most are effective individually, the stories have a much greater cumulative impact. In the end, A Handbook for Drowning may be best appreciated as a kind of episodic novel." Library Journal

Product Details

ISBN:
9780060975319
Subtitle:
A Novel in Stories
Author:
Shields, David
Publisher:
HarperPerennial
Location:
New York :
Edition Description:
1st HarperPerennial ed.
Series Volume:
no. 4
Publication Date:
1993
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
177 p.

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Related Subjects

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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Handbook for Drowning: A Novel in Stories Used Trade Paper
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Product details 177 p. pages HarperPerennial - English 9780060975319 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Uneven but often alluring stories, though many of them read like outtakes from Dead Languages, Shields's ambitious 1989 novel of a son's growing up under the stressful nurturing of eccentric parents who were also passionately liberal intellectuals....An offering of compellingly skilled stories, then, but not the wished-for staking out of new terrain. As to the estimable achievement of Dead Languages, what's here is a little bit like finding a plate of hors d'oeuvres after the dinner is already eaten."
"Review" by , "The model here seems to be Leonard Michaels. One story, 'The Sixties,' even carries the tag 'After Leonard Michaels's "In the Fifties."' There is Michaels's brevity (24 stories, 178 pages: not one word wasted), some of his unkindness, some of the threat of sexual ugliness his stories wield; but there isn't the cold perfection, because Shields isn't cold and he doesn't have the temper for perfection. He doesn't have the heart of a formalist. You want more from him than just art--some plot, some theme, some warmth....Shields does best when he plants his feet in the world. In three books he's traveled from clunkiness to pure technique. If he keeps heading in the same direction he could end up writing stories of two or three beautiful words."
"Review" by , "Similar in theme to his most recent novel, Dead Languages, these linked stories sensitively probe the psychic wounds inflicted by families....While most are effective individually, the stories have a much greater cumulative impact. In the end, A Handbook for Drowning may be best appreciated as a kind of episodic novel."
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