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Dictation: A Quartet Hardcover – Mar 18 2008


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Amazon.com: 6 reviews
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Thank you, Ms. Ozick, for another stunning book April 28 2008
By B. Rice - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
It's incredible! Every time a new book of Ozick's is published, I give thanks to the Muses for having provided her the necessary inspiration. As usual, her sentences are gorgeous and lyrical; the characters are funny and utterly compelling.

"Dictation" is the only story contained that has not been previously published. It begins with the master Henry James and an emerging Joseph Conrad. Her characterizations of each man, as well as of Conrad's wife, are hilarious. Soon, however, the story shifts to the writers' amanuenses. For fear of ruining any of the story's surprises - there are many! - I will only say that the story may motivate you to go out and re-read, or read for the first time, certain stories by James and Conrad. (Though of course that may be a foolish enterprise, considering the story's "punch line.")

Familiar themes of morality and art are present, but Ozick explores them in a way I didn't expect.

I highly recommend this book to lovers of contemporary literature.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Like Water ... Aug. 4 2008
By Marina Streznewski - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
How refreshing to read something written by someone with such a facility with language! The stories were wonderful. Highly recommended to me by my cousin -- and he was absolutely right!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A type of short story I usually don't care for Aug. 5 2011
By algo41 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The stories in this collection, despite their length, are each driven by ideas (pretty much one per story) rather than characters. The closest to a character driven story, and the one I liked best, is " At Fumicaro", but even this is rather dry. I am sure some other readers will find humor and irony in the "Dictation" story, it is certainly clever.
Beautifully written, but unmoving April 9 2013
By Ellen Etc. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I read only the title story, about a scheme between the amanuenses of Joseph Conrad and Henry James, and was not motivated to continue. The secretaries were superficial and unlikely, the authors themselves blustering caricatures. In her novel Cannibal Galaxy (Library of Modern Jewish Literature) and the story "The Pagan Rabbi" (her previous works with which I was familiar), Ozick portrayed deep feeling and a sense of consequence and doom, but this story seemed like language poetry, more concerned with brilliant turns of phrase than with the hearts of the characters.
Impressive Nov. 4 2012
By Petra Kim - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Ozick manages here, as in most of her other long short stories and novellas, to do some tremendous things, making language and meaning pliable in a way that almost nobody else manages to do. She breaks all sorts of "rules" commonly taught in creative writing courses, and does so to amazing effect. For my money the best story in here is "Whatever Happened to the Baby?", though all the pieces are strong and satisfying.


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