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News from the World: Stories and Essaysby Paula Fox
"News from the World is a slim collection of stories and essays written over the course of Paula Fox's long, distinguished career. Hailed by Jonathan Franzen as one of the best novelists of her generation, Fox provides a glimpse, in these short works, into the sensibility and craftsmanship that has earned her such a devoted following. Most characteristic of her work is her unusual capacity to treat human suffering with unflinching precision. This is especially evident in her treatment of a theme that recurs throughout the volume. In stories ranging from an account of her relationship with her brother-in-law, art critic Clement Greenberg, to one about a man's visit to his dying, estranged father, Fox meditates on various forms of alienation with subtlety and attention, revealing the ways in which this state always implies a desire for belonging. As her characters strain toward and away from intimacy, Fox wrests insight from bleakness, exposing an unlikely hopefulness lurking within experiences of alienation." Dawn Marlan, The Oregonian (Read the entire Oregonian review)
Synopses & Reviews
This complete gathering of Paula Fox's short works spans forty-five illustrious years of her career, from 1965 to 2010. There are perfectly turned stories (two of which — "Grace" and "The Broad Estates of Death" — won the O. Henry Prize) in which characters unexpectedly find themselves at a crossroads and struggle to connect with others.
There is memoir — a genre where Fox's honesty, grace, and perception set her apart — in which Fox revisits childhood ideas about art and reality, life in New York in the 1960s, and her relationship with her husband's family. And there are essays — pointed, funny, relentlessly persuasive pieces on such topics as censorship and the corruption of language. Enlivened by Fox's signature wit and electrified by her unsparing insights into human nature, News from the World is essential for Fox's loyal readers and perfect to introduce those who are meeting her for the first time.
"Though the original publication dates of the work compiled for this collection span from 1965 to 2010, many of the personal narratives included cover an even wider swath of Fox's life, making for a delightful read. An insightful and sturdy writer, Fox (Desperate Characters) remains humble, curious, and thoroughly likable across decades and genres. While the story 'The Broad Estates of Death,' published in Harper's in 2004, will be wonderfully familiar to many readers, her essays often seem even more original and telling. Particularly poignant is 'Way Down Yonder,' in which Fox recalls moving to New Orleans in 1940 and the writer couple from whom she rented a room. In it, we see the city, the segregation, and the early inklings of Fox's own life of letters. Equally captivating is the remembrance of a gay friend whom Fox met while she was a single mother in Manhattan, working as a teacher. With such a rich life history from which to draw, Fox is both wholly singular in her perspective and as knowable and trustworthy as a favorite neighbor. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Paula Fox's essays and short stories all display a spare, marvelous luminosity. The author's irreducible voice — it was the same with Virginia Woolf — can always be heard, whatever the genre." Tom Bissell
A collection that traces the celebrated career of a grande dame of contemporary literature.
About the Author
Paula Fox is the author of Desperate Characters, The Widow's Children, A Servant's Tale, The God of Nightmares, Poor George, The Western Coast, Borrowed Finery: A Memoir, and News from the World, among other books. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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