Synopses & Reviews
To American soldiers in Vietnam, "back in the world" meant America and safety. To Tobias Wolff's characters, Back in the World
is where lives that have veered out of control just might become normal again. Unfortunately, the men and women in these gripping, pungent, and wonderfully skewed stories have only the vaguest notion of what normal is. A gentle priest finds himself in a Vegas hotel with a hysterical, sun-burned stranger. A show-biz hopeful undergoes a dubious audition in a hearse speeding across the California desert. An aging soldier is distracted from a night of philandering by a gun-toting neighbor and a suicidal enlisted man. As he moves among these unfortunates, Wolff observes the disparity between their realities and their dreams, in ten stories of exhilarating lucidity and grace.
Stories included are: "The Missing Person," "Say Yes," "The Poor Are Always With Us," "Sister," "Soldier's Joy," "Desert Breakdown," "Our Story Begins," "Leviathan," and "The Rich Brother."
"Terrific...The magic of his fiction cannot be explained. It is the ancient art of the master storyteller." Tim O'Brien
"Two stories, 'Leviathan' and 'The Rich Brother,' are as fine as anything Mr. Wolff has written....These two stories, along with brilliant moments scattered throughout the others, keep 'Back in the World' from disappointing one altogether. If anything, one awaits Mr. Wolff's next book with all the more eagerness." Russell Banks, New York Times Book Review
"He has, for the most part, abandoned the domestic, the familiar righteous citizen, and all his incumbent irony. He has chosen more dramatic, emblematic characters....Some readers may prefer Wolff's earlier terrain, richer in physical detail, and singularly funny....[But] with an artist as serious and honest as Tobias Wolff, the stories beg comparison only with each other." New Republic
"Tobias Wolff has an eerie talent....These are fine, unique stories." Ann Beattie
Table of Contents
Coming attractions -- The missing person -- Say yes -- The poor are always with us -- Sister -- Soldier's joy -- Desert breakdown, 1968 -- Our story begins -- Leviathan -- The rich brother.