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' (New York Times Book Review). 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 ...
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' (New York Times Book Review). 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.'
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Publishers Weekly, 2007-12-03 Wolff's first story collection, In the Garden of the North American Martyrs (1981), was a major salvo in the short story renaissance that included Raymond Carver. The 10 spare, elegant new stories here, collected with 21 stories from Wolff's three previous collections, are as good as anything Wolff has done. In most, there is a moment of realization, less a startling epiphany than a distant, gradual ache of understanding, that changes how the character looks at the world. The retired, 41-year-old female Marine of "A Mature Student," compares her female professor's experiences in Communist-era Prague and her own son's service in Iraq. "Deep Kiss" movingly chronicles the fractious results when a teenaged boy, infatuated with a promiscuous classmate, neglects to bond with his dying father. A hilarious description of a brash, ignorant thug in "Her Dog" shows Wolff's gift for demotic speech. In an author's note, Wolff says that since he has never considered any of his stories "sacred texts," he has edited some "clumsy or superfluous" passages in earlier works. In all the stories, Wolff expertly uses irony and empathy to explore facets of contemporary life. (Mar.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
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