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Our Story Begins: New and Selected Storiesby Tobias Wolff
"Those who have read Wolff's memoir This Boy's Life...or his novel Old School may find some echoes in these stories, but overall the short fiction is more venturous and spirited. Wolff consistently finds ways to slip beyond the unfolding of events in a narrative sense, making his stories something of a chrysalis from which emerges something non-narrative — call it heart." Art Winslow, The Chicago Tribune (read the entire Chicago Tribune review)
Synopses & Reviews
"One of our most exquisite storytellers" (Esquire) gives us his first collection in over a decade: ten potent new stories that, along with twenty-one classics, display his mastery over a quarter century.
Tobias Wolff's first two books, In the Garden of the North American Martyrs and Back in the World, were a powerful demonstration of how the short story can "provoke our amazed appreciation," as The New York Times Book Review wrote then. In the years since, he's written a third collection, The Night in Question, as well as a pair of genre-defining memoirs (This Boy's Life and In Pharaoh's Army), the novella The Barracks Thief, and, most recently, a novel, Old School.
Now he returns with fresh revelations — about biding one's time, or experiencing first love, or burying one's mother — that come to a variety of characters in circumstances at once everyday and extraordinary: a retired Marine enrolled in college while her son trains for Iraq, a lawyer taking a difficult deposition, an American in Rome indulging the Gypsy who's picked his pocket. In these stories, as with his earlier, much-anthologized work, he once again proves himself, according to the Los Angeles Times, "a writer of the highest order: part storyteller, part philosopher, someone deeply engaged in asking hard questions that take a lifetime to resolve."
"Wolfe's latest round of philosophical and thought-provoking short stories is a rousing collection that spans a wide variety of genres and time periods. Anthony Heald brings the stories to life with vigor, offering fresh voices and complicated, flawed characters, each as original and believable as the last. Heald has a knack for performance, gifting each tale with his flare for theatrics while never trespassing outside of his range in an attempt to impress. His familiar voice abounds with colorful emotions and a certain melancholic ache. Listeners step inside all 21 tales and see the world as Wolfe himself must have: heartbreaking, hilarious and even a little scary at times. A Knopf hardcover (Reviews, Dec. 3, 2007)." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Richard Yates, Raymond Carver and Robert Stone are the modern masters whom Wolff most resembles. Like their best work, his own exhibits classic richness and depth, and it's built to last." Kirkus Reviews
"Wolff dexterously probes, in immaculately clear prose, the cor eof ordinary peoples' passions and vulnerabilities." Booklist
"Wolff's voice is unfailingly authentic, while his embrace of the variety of American experience is knowing, forgiving and all-encompassing." New York Times
"This collection of new and selected stories...amounts to a master class in the genre....Wolff juggles style and content with seeming effortlessness, but the truth is that he is a disciplined craftsman with a hard-earned understanding of the two worlds, real and imagined, he inhabits." Miami Herald
"These stories remind how powerful and important are good stories, especially ones that look right into our furtive, yearning hearts and refuse to blink." Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Wolff's deceptively simple prose style is like listening to an old friend eagerly telling the previous night's adventures." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"Our Story may be the summation of Wolff's story-writing career to date, but as its title suggests, he clearly has more tales to tell, and thankfully for his readers, the undiminished storytelling gifts with which to tell them." Rocky Mountain News
This collection of stories — 21 classics followed by ten potent new stories — displays Tobias Wolff's exquisite gifts over a quarter century.
Our Story Begins gathers 21 classics and 10 new stories from the author who The New York Times hails as "unfailingly authentic...his embrace of the variety of American experience is knowing, forgiving and all-encompassing."
About the Author
Tobias Wolff is the author of seven previous books and the editor of The Vintage Book of American Short Stories. Among his honors are the PEN/Malamud Award and the Rea Award, both for excellence in the short story, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the PEN/Faulkner Award. He lives in Northern California and teaches at Stanford University.
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