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From "one of our most gifted writers" (Chicago Tribune), here is a superb new novel that delicately unearths the myriad manifestations of extraordinary love between ordinary people.The Feast of Love is just that -- a sumptuous work of fiction about the thing that most distracts and delights us. In a re-imagined Midsummer Night's Dream, men and women speak of and desire their ideal mates; parents seek out their lost children; adult children try to come to terms with their own parents and, in some cases, find new ones.In vignettes both comic and sexy, the owner of a coffee shop recalls the day his first wife seemed to achieve a moment of simple perfection, while she remembers the women's softball game during which she was stricken by the beauty of the shortstop. A young couple spends hours at the coffee shop fueling the idea of their fierce love. A professor of philosophy, stopping by for a cup of coffee, makes a valiant attempt to explain what he knows to be the inexplicable workings of the human heart Their voices resonate with each other -- disparate people joined by the meanderings of love -- and come together in a tapestry that depicts the most irresistible arena of life. Crafted with subtlety, grace, and power, The Feast of Love is a masterful novel.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Hugh Welch has cared for his little sister Dorsey ever since they were children, when Dorsey looked at him as though he were a god. But when Dorsey returns to their small Michigan hometown with a successful career as an astrophysicist and a happy family life, Hugh, who has a long habit of worrying about his sister, realizes that it's his own life he has to cure, not Dorsey's. As they explore their complicated history over one hot Fourth of July weekend, they'll come to terms with the experiences that put such distance between them and discover the imperfect love that ties them as siblings.
From a writer whose work reminds one of how broad and deep and shining a story can be (Alice Munro) comes a selection that gathers the best from his four earlier collections as well as seven previously uncollected stories.
Five Oaks, Michigan is not exactly where Saul and Patsy meant to end up. Both from the East Coast, they met in college, fell in love, and settled down to married life in the Midwest. Saul is Jewish and a compulsively inventive worrier; Patsy is gentile and cheerfully pragmatic. On Saul's initiative (and to his continual dismay) they have moved to this small town-a place so devoid of irony as to be virtually "a museum of earlier American feelings"-where he has taken a job teaching high school. Soon this brainy and guiltily happy couple will find children have become a part of their lives, first their own baby daughter and then an unloved, unlovable boy named Gordy Himmelman. It is Gordy who will throw Saul and Patsy's lives into disarray with an inscrutable act of violence. As timely as a news flash yet informed by an immemorial understanding of human character, Saul and Patsy is a genuine miracle.
In the winter of 1912, Sherwood Anderson (1876-1941) abruptly left his office and spent three days wandering through the Ohio countryside, a victim of "nervous exhaustion." Over the next few years, abandoning his family and his business, he resolved to become a writer. Novels and poetry followed, but it was with the story collection Winesburg, Ohio that he found his ideal form, remaking the American short story for the modern era. Hart Crane, one of the first to recognize Anderson's genius, quickly hailed his accomplishment: "America should read this book on her knees." Here--for the first time in a single volume--are all the collections Anderson published during his lifetime: Winesburg, Ohio (1919), The Triumph of the Egg (1921), Horses and Men (1923), and Death in the Woods (1933), along with a generous selection of stories left uncollected or unpublished at his death. Exploring the hidden recesses of small town life, these haunting, understated, often sexually frank stories pivot on seemingly quiet moments when lives change, futures are recast, and pasts come to reckon. They transformed the tone of American storytelling, inspiring writers like Hemingway, Faulkner, and Mailer, and defining a tradition of midwestern fiction that includes Charles Baxter, editor of this volume.
The author of the National Book Award-nominated "The Feast of Love" returns with this ninth book. "The Soul Thief" concerns a mild-mannered graduate student, Nathaniel, who falls under the spell of an affected outsider.
In the second volume of The Story About the Story, editor J. C. Hallman continues to argue for an alternative to the staid five-paragraph-essay writing that has inoculated so many against the effects of good books. Writers have long approached writing about reading from an intensely personal perspective, incorporating their pasts and their passions into their process of interpretation. Never before collected in a single volume, the many essays Hallman has compiled build on the idea of a "creative criticism," and new possibilities for how to write about reading.The Story About the Story Vol. II documents not only an identifiable trend in writing about books that can and should be emulated, it also offers lessons from a remarkable range of celebrated authors that amount to an invaluable course on both how to write and how to read well. Whether they discuss a staple of the canon (Thomas Mann on Leo Tolstoy), the merits of a contemporary (Vivian Gornick on Grace Paley), a pillar of genre-writing (Jane Tompkins on Louis L'Amour), or, arguably, the funniest man on the planet (David Shields on Bill Murray), these essays are by turns poignant, smart, suggestive, intellectual, humorous, sassy, scathing, laudatory, wistful, and hopeful-and above all deeply engaged in a process of careful reading. The essays in The Story About the Story Vol. II chart a trajectory that digs deep into the past and aims toward a future in which literature can play a new and more profound role in how we think, read, live, and write.
From one of the great masters of the contemporary short story, here is an astonishing collection that showcases Charles Baxter's unique ability to unveil the remarkable in the seemingly inconsequential moments of an eerie yet familiar life. Penetrating and prophetic, the ten inter-related stories in There's Something I Want You to Do are held together by a surreally intricate web of cause and effect--one that slowly ensnares both fictional bystanders and enraptured readers. Benny, an architect and hopeless romantic, is robbed on his daily walk along the Mississippi River, and the blow of a baseball bat to the back of his knee feels like a strike from God. A drug dealer named Black Bird reads Othello while waiting for customers in a bar. Elijah, a pediatrician and the father of two, is visited nightly by visions of Alfred Hitchcock. Meanwhile, a dog won't stop barking, a passenger on a transatlantic flight reads aloud from the book of Psalms during turbulence, and a scream carries itself through the early-morning Minneapolis air. As the collection progresses, we delve more deeply into the private lives of these characters, exploring their fears, fantasies, and obsessions. They appear and reappear, performing praiseworthy and loathsome acts in equal measure in response to the request--or demand--lodged in each story's center. The result is a portrait of human nature as seen from the tightrope that spans the distance between dreams and waking life--a portrait that could have arisen only from Baxter's singular vision. Readers will be stunned by his uncanny understanding of human attraction and left to puzzle over the meaning of virtue and the unpredictable and mysterious ways in which we behave.From the Hardcover edition.
An eBook short.From the collection Gryphon, Charles Baxter's luminous story of caretaking under any circumstance. Burrage never thought he'd be the responsible one. When his brother and sister-in-law die in a car accident, he becomes caretaker to his young nephew, a fragile boy who wants to know what the future will be. Burrage begins writing the boy's horoscope--stars, trains, and hide-and-seek--until his predictions begin to fail, in a rowboat, in the middle of a lake.Charles Baxter is one of our finest short story writers, a modern master. "The Would-be Father" is one of his first published short stories.
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