Nothing But You: Love Stories From The New Yorker Paperback – May 5 1998
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For decades The New Yorker has kept the short story in America's literary consciousness. While the sales of novels have eclipsed those of short stories in the marketplace, short-story writers take comfort in the fact that each week their craft is showcased in the pages of one of the country's best-known publications. Now Roger Angell, a senior editor at The New Yorker, has assembled a collection of stories by the likes of John Updike, Alice Munro, Woody Allen, and Raymond Carver. Culled from more than 30 years of issues, these stories are united by the theme of love, a term that covers a multitude of emotions: romantic love, platonic love, parental love, filial love, and love for mankind, not to mention lost love, twisted love, nostalgic love.... These 38 stories cover them all. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Modern love in all its unpredictable reality unfolds in this delightfully unorthodox anthology of 38 New Yorker stories from the past three decades. Many of the selections are love stories only in the broadest sense, viewing love as an element inextricably woven into the fabric of characters' lives. For example, William Maxwell's "The Man in the Moon" explores the emotional effect over three generations of a once-prominent Midwestern family's scandals, self-deceptions and failures on the male narrator, now an elderly historian. In Daniel Menaker's "Influenza," a self-described "neurotic school-teaching Jew" at a posh private school in Manhattan spars with his hectoring Cuban Freudian analyst as he carries on a torrid affair with a wealthy, sex-starved, WASPish widow. Angell, a longtime senior editor at the New Yorker, adventurously brings together stories that delve into the diversity of love: a macho New Orleans 16-year-old's sexual confusion over a furtive homerotic kiss (Ben Neihart's "Hey, Joe"); an English adventurer's quasi-clinical investigation of eros as part of a 1920s surrealist circle in Paris (Julian Barnes's "Experiment"); a devoted May-December couple-she 35, he 78-bravely facing her terminal illness (Mary Robison's "Yours"). Some may feel the humorous entries (by Woody Allen, Ian Frazier and others) fall flat, and others may find the entire roundup of wry, fiercely observant stories too cerebral or unromantic. Yet there are strong selections from Ann Beattie, John Cheever, Raymond Carver, Edna O'Brien, V.S. Pritchett, Jean Rhys, John Updike and lesser-known writers. Timed to coincide with Valentine's Day, this quirky omnibus makes a funny Valentine indeed. Illustrated. Local Valentine's Day readings by contributors.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Earlier in 2002, I had read Victorian Love Stories: An Oxford Anthology edited by Kate Flint, a wonderful, imaginative anthology that covers the gamut of love, from earnest and longing to the impulsive and painful, from gritty realism to the fantastic and the supernatural. I had had Nothing But You for a while, and it seemed natural to read it as a follow-up to the Victorian anthology. This proved to be a mistake; the contrast between the two highlights the shallowness of the New Yorker stories.
There are a few gems, such as "Marito in Città" by John Cheever, "The Diver" by V. S. Pritchett, "Eyes of a Blue Dog" with Gabriel Garcia Marquez's magic surrealism, "The Kugelmass Episode" with Woody Allen's characteristic offbeat humour and angst, and "Here Come the Maples" with a touch of irony by John Updike. One story by a lesser-known writer, "In the Gloaming" by Alice Elliott Dark, stands out for beautifully conveying the tragedy of loss and alienation, not through death, but through the chains and barriers that life erects to prevent insight and truer love between the mother and son and between them and the distant, unloving father. Impending death finally begins to break down those barriers and reveal the humanity of mother and son to one another.
For the most part, however, these highlights are overwhelmed by the blandness of the rest of the selections. Somehow, this collection about "love" seems to miss many of love's elements-affection, depth of feeling, passion (depth of emotion of any kind), perception, dedication.Read more ›
My three favorite stories were Gabriel Garcia Marquez's classic "Eyes of a Blue Dog," John Cheever's previously anthologized "Marito in Citta," and Alice Munro's recent "The Jack Randa Hotel." Each of these stories, like most of the best stories in this book, works so well because it conveys the intensity and idealism and adventure of love but is also grounded in the concrete, mundane details of everyday life. Other standouts include Alice Elliott Dark's recent but already classic "In the Gloaming," Katherine Keiny's charming, Jane Austenish "How to Give the Wrong Impression," R. Prawer Jhabvala's culture-clashing "The Man with the Dog," Bobbie Ann Mason's hilarious and moving "Love Life," John O'Hara's piercing "How Old, How Young," Raymond Carver's Edgar Allan Poe-imitating "Blackbird Pie," and Mary Grimm's probing "We."
As the editor, Roger Angell, and other reviewers here have noted, the book is not all full of happy endings and is not even always about passionate love affairs per se, but the broad theme of love is the perfect motif to carry along a short fiction anthology, and this theme keeps you moving through the stories just as love in real life keeps you moving through the everyday ups and downs of being with a romantic partner. One of the best short story anthologies I've read in a while.
So, basically, it did make me feel like crap; but what a read.
Most recent customer reviews
These stories are nearly all wonderful, some are brilliant, and most are unavailable in other anthologies. Read morePublished on June 25 2004 by Carol Peters
The New Yorker publishes great writers, and great writers are worth reading. This collection, by focusing on a single theme, shows us familiar names often writing on an unfamiliar... Read morePublished on July 11 2000 by Jussi Bjorling
When I think of love stories, I tend to think of something that touches the soul. While these stories were good and well compiled, they didn't touch me in any way--with the... Read morePublished on July 25 1999
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