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Sixty Stories Hardcover – Apr 3 1989


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Hardcover, Apr 3 1989
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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd (April 3 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0436036908
  • ISBN-13: 978-0436036903
  • Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 15.8 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 821 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Evan Yamakawa on Oct. 17 2000
Format: Paperback
This is my favorite book to date. The way Barthelme can be both so articulate and non-sensical at the same time shows him to be a master of the human psyche. He notices subtleties that most people encounter but seldom regard as anything relevant, the result evokes a response that leaves one saying to his/herself "why have I not thought of such matters," or "that's so absurd-- the man is a genius". Ever since reading "Critique de la Vie Quotidienne" in a copy of Sadness (picked up off hand at a used book store) I knew that Barthelme was something special. Shame on the people that criticize him for not including the "traditional elements" of fiction!
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Format: Paperback
In one of the most typical, poignant, funny, and resounding stories in this collection, Barthelme introduces us to the Balloon Man. For now, it doesn't matter who or what he is, but suffice it to say that he, the Balloon Man, reckons the Balloon of Perhaps is his best balloon. Reading this collection, it's hard not to be struck by the idea that Barthelme's gift lies in, amongst other things, being able to write stories at once featherlight, attractive, and capable of imagining and exploring "perhaps's" no other writer could.
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By Account Killer on Oct. 26 2000
Format: Paperback
A writer who knows his audience and can tap into the contemporary mind with ease, this is a collection that stands out in the latter half of the 20th century. A writer who trives on being enigmatic because he knows that it 1) speaks of modern society, mind, and being, and 2) that his audience wants such a tale to be woven. Highlights include his famous THE SCHOOL, THE FALLING DOG, SHOWER OF GOLD, and THE SERGENT. Watch out of tongue in cheek dark humor.
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Format: Paperback
In his review of "American Beauty," the New Yorker movie critic David Denby writes, "I can think of no other American movie that sets us tensions with smarty pants social satire and resolves them with a burst of metaphysics." The same can be said for many of the stories in this collection. The first three fourth's of "The School," for example, is narrated with the deadpan cool that predominated in popular eighties minimalism. It is textbook black humor. But "The School" ends with a poetic riff on cultural relativism, exposing everything that came before in the story, and giving us a glimpse of the narrator's frailties. And then with the final two lines, Barthelme throws in an oddball joke, making the story even more uncertain. It's like on The Simpsons, when you get their craziest, surreal joke right before a commercial break. A Barthelme story simultaneously invites interpretation and outguesses the reader.
Another great thing about both Barthelme's stories and "American Beauty" is that when a narrative stradles that border between reality and parody, the characters get away with making the most straightforward thematic statements. In "The Seargent," a story about a middle aged man who somehow finds himself stuck in the army again, the narrator keeps repeating, "This is all a mistake. I'm not supposed to be here," etc. "Of course I deserve this." If the protagonist of a realistic, mid-life crisis story made these statements it would be interpreted as too obvious. Suspension of disbelief might be violated. When the situation is absurd, however, the characters can be beautifully direct.
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Format: Paperback
Donald Barthelme is probably the inimitable writer of the twentieth century and this collection is the best way to introduce yourself to his works. Included are selections from eight volumes he published between the years of 1964 and 1979 as well as a number of previously uncollected stories. What stikes one most about this collection is the sustained brilliance over the course of all 60 inclusions. While not every story is a classic and not every story hits the bullseye one has to admire the ambition packed and effort with which each is attempted, especially when one considers that few exist in a framework of more than six or seven pages. The stories in this collection that do work, and they are in the far majority, are startling in their ability to catch the reader off guard and deliver their short, compact punch. "Game", "A City of Churches" and "The School" are among these highlights, beautiful in their ability to transmit their message with such clarity and intensity, yet with such ease, virtuosity and good humor.
All that said, I feel I should qualify this review by saying that Barthelme is rarely easy reading. His narratives are so remarkably compact and so tightly wound that reading one straight through is something quite akin to venturing through an underwater cave, not coming up for air until the very end. It can be a difficuly experience, requiring intense concentration but the payoff is very worth the effort.
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Format: Paperback
Donald Barthelme was truly a master of the short story. I had to read this book for a project in AP english, and I was very impressed. "Me and Miss Mandible" is worth the price and many of the other works such as " A Manual for Sons" and "Daumier" are just as good. I highly recommend this book for anyone who ponders while they read and try to apply what is read into their lives. Truly a thinking man's author.
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