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Dictation: A Quartet Hardcover – Mar 18 2008

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1st Edition edition (March 18 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547054009
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547054001
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 15.3 x 1.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #960,796 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

A carefully honed, sharply intelligent new collection of four stories shows Ozick (The Heir to the Glimmering World) at the height of her stylistic powers. The title story, by far the strongest tale, follows the female secretaries of Henry James and Joseph Conrad, both of whom take dictation from the two egoist titans. When the authors meet in London, their two amanuenses collude to make their own mark on their masters' work; in so doing, they exalt, with an undeniably sexual glee, that they will thus attain immortality. Actors looks on wryly as TV character actor Matt Sorley, né Mose Sadacca and nearing 60, reluctantly takes a role that will either cap his career or defeat him. At Fumicaro follows an American Catholic literary critic in Mussolini's Italy as he falls head over heels in love with a pregnant 16-year-old peasant girl: She was more hospitable to God than anyone who hoped to find God in books. The exuberant What Happened to the Baby? follows a young college student and her eccentric Esperanto-spouting uncle to his mid-20th-century meetings of the League for a Unified Humanity. Ozick's stories ingeniously put scholarship in the service of human flowerings. (Apr.)
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Deceptions and obsessions drive this elegant collection of four stories… Playful, teasing, provocative fare from this most accomplished of ironists." Kirkus Reviews, Starred

"These novellas are prime examples of Ozick's rigorous writing style, her propensity for recognizing the element of ridiculousness in human tragedy, and her second-nature sympathy for eccentric characters." Booklist, ALA, Starred Review

"A carefully honed, sharply intelligent new collection of four stories shows Ozick at the height of her stylistic powers… Ozick's stories ingeniously put scholarship in the service of human flowerings." Publishers Weekly

"Ozick is at the top of her form in these splendid stories, and every library will want a copy. Highly recommended." Library Journal Starred "

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9f5b6288) out of 5 stars 6 reviews
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f5da480) out of 5 stars Thank you, Ms. Ozick, for another stunning book April 28 2008
By B. Rice - Published on
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
HASH(0x9f5da4d4) out of 5 stars Like Water ... Aug. 4 2008
By Marina Streznewski - Published on
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
HASH(0x9f5da7b0) out of 5 stars A type of short story I usually don't care for Aug. 5 2011
By algo41 - Published on
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.
HASH(0x9f5daccc) out of 5 stars One really great story, generally fine writing Jan. 31 2012
By Deb Oestreicher - Published on
Format: Paperback
I have long loved Cynthia Ozick's writing--there are few writers that offer such pure pleasure from their sentences. But my response to this collection of four long stories is split: I adored the first story ("Dictation," about a hypothetical encounter between the typewriter/secretaries of Henry James and Joseph Conrad and their bid for an immortality of their own), admired the second ("Actors," about a "difficult" actor who gets rather too absorbed in his role), and found the next two eminently skimmable. So...recommended for "Dictation," which is really a remarkable work, satisfying on multiple levels.
HASH(0x9f5dace4) out of 5 stars Beautifully written, but unmoving April 9 2013
By Ellen Etc. - Published on
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.