Synopses & Reviews
It is no easy task to determine for which Bruce Jay Friedman is most well-known: his novels, short stories, screenplays or plays. As Stanley Kauffmann states, Friedman is a sort of "wry Salinger." His skillful understatement, his gift at implication, his slightly vaudevillian touch is perhaps captured most beautifully in his short stories. Some of his most successful works of short fiction are showcased here: "Let's Hear It for a Beautiful Guy," "Our Lady of the Lockers," and "Black Angels." These works, published between 1953 and 1995, are a veritable powerhouse of American social commentary, studded with the eccentricities and black humor that make Bruce Jay Friedman's style so uniquely his own. The Collected Short Fiction of Bruce Jay Friedman also includes such celebrated, but never collected, classics as "Icing on the Cake," "The Gent," and "Pitched Out," stories like "The Mission," which The National Observer called "the funniest short story of the past twenty years," as well as never-before-published stories "The Gentle Revolutionaries" and "The Golden Years," among them.
"From poignant bildungsroman to sly satire, from wicked comedy to surrealistic farce, a virtuostic collection....[A]n expertly modulated voice that lies somewhere equidistant from those of Wilde, Salinger and Woody Allen." Publishers Weekly
"Readers who feel short stories are too high-flown...will find counterbalance in Friedman, whose stories have uncomplicated structures, obvious gists, intelligible metaphors, and unambiguous endings and come wrapped in humor." Brad Hooper, Booklist
"Irresistible...comic gems...Mr. Friedman has been likened to everyone from J. D. Salinger to Woody Allen. This collection should finally establish him for what he is: Bruce Jay Friedman....No further comparisons are necessary." The New York Times Book Review
"[T]he typical Friedman story begins in the realm of the mundane, takes a quick surreal detour, and travels erratically through an idiosyncratic and highly risible countryside." Library Journal
"Irresistibly charming and funny....Terrific." The New York Observer
"Bruce Jay Friedman has earned a permanent place of the shelf of contemporary American letters." The Los Angeles Times
"A bona fide literary event." Newsweek
"Friedman writes with a wild-eyed wit, a hard-but-gentle touch, and a disturbing grasp on the fundamentals of society." San Francisco Chronicle
"Includes some of his wryest stories ever written about shame, mothers, and adultery about the analyst's couch and what got you there." Boston Sunday Globe
"A welcome, hefty collection of an American original's finest writing." Kirkus Reviews
"Pure delight." Newsday
Bruce Jay Friedman has been hailed by critics as a comic genius, a writer whose vision confronts the malaise of contemporary life with a liberating deadpan humor. Grove Press is proud to reissue the collected short stories by this acclaimed master of modern humor. Hailed by Newsweek as "a bona fide literary event," The Collected Short Fiction of Bruce Jay Friedman brings together Friedman's fifty-seven greatest stories, which appeared in Esquire, Playboy, The New Yorker, and other magazines from 1953 to 1995. "Friedman [is] more interesting than most of Malamud, Roth, and Bellow. . . . What makes him more important is that he writes out of the viscera instead of the cerebrum." -- Nelson Algren, The Nation
This collection features ten stories not included in the original hardcover edition. A New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year.
An anthology of fifty-seven short stories from the past forty years by the co-author of the screenplay for Splash! combines social satire, black humor, surrealism, and poignant situations. Reprint.
Without A Stitch in Time is a collection of articles written for The New Yorker: gently satirical stories about Peters childhood in Chicago, his various jobs, the move East to new York, and family life in suburbia and beyond. The stories date from 1943 to 1873 and give readers a sense of where De Vries strangely nervous wit comes from: verbal sparks from the cognitive dissonance between his strict and abstemious Calvinist upbringing in the 1920s and the world of 1950s Mad Men suburbia.
Harking from the golden age of fiction set in American suburbiathe school of John Updike and Cheeverthis work from the great American humorist Peter De Vries looks with laughter upon its lawns, its cocktails, and its slightly unreal feeling of comfort. Without a Stitch in Time, a selection of forty-six articles and stories written for the New Yorker between 1943 and 1973, offers pun-filled autobiographical vignettes that reveal the source of De Vriess nervous wit: the cognitive dissonance between his Calvinist upbringing in 1920s Chicago and the all-too-perfect postwar world. Noted as much for his verbal fluidity and wordplay as for his ability to see humor through pain, De Vries will delight both new readers and old in this uproarious modern masterpiece.
About the Author
Bruce Jay Friedman is the author of seven novels and four story collections, including Stern, About Harry Towns, and The Current Climate, and is also a screenwriter and playwright. He lives in New York City.
Table of Contents
A Hard Day at the Office
Slice of Life
Flesh and the Devil
Mud in Your Eye
Afternoon of a Faun
Interior with Figures
Every Leave That Falls
A Crying Need
In Defense of Self-pity; or, Prelude to Lowenbriiu
The High Ground; or, Look, Ma, I'm Explicating
The Independent Voter at Twilight
The Conversational Ball
Adventures of a People Buff
Requiem for a Noun; or, Intruder in the Dusk
The House of Mirth
Till the Sands of the Desert Grow Cold
From There to Infinity
Touch and Go
You and Who Else?
Double or Nothing
Journey to the Center of the Room
Different Cultural Levels Eat Here
The Man Who Read Waugh
The Art of Self-dramatization; or, Forward from Schrecklichkeit
The Children's Hour; or, Hopscotch and Soda
The Irony of It All
Laughter in the Basement
Part of the Family Picture
You Know Me Alice
A Walk in the Country; or, How to Keep Fit to Be Tied
The Last of the Bluenoses
Scones and Stones
James Thurber: The Comic Prufrock
Exploring Inner Space