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Frederick Barthelme

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28+ teosta 1,004 jäsentä 11 arvostelua 5 Favorited

Tietoja tekijästä

Frederick Barthelme, an American writer in the minimalist tradition, depicts in his writings loneliness, isolation, and fear of intimacy in modern life. Born in 1943 in Houston, Texas, Barthelme attended Tulane University and the University of Houston before studying at Houston's Museum of Fine näytä lisää Arts from 1965-66. He worked as an architectural draftsman, assistant to the director of New York City's Kornblee Gallery, and creative director for advertising firms in Houston during the 1960s and early 1970s. At the same time, his art was featured in such galleries as the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Barthelme's fiction often concentrates on scenes rather than plots. They frequently include "snapshots" of popular culture, such as shopping malls and McDonald's restaurants, to illustrate the emotional shallowness of the late twentieth century. Characters who show their feelings and thoughts through actions rather than language are another aspect of Barthelme's work. Barthelme began to write fiction in the 1960s, leading to a change in the direction of his life and art. He earned an M.A. in English from Johns Hopkins University in 1977, then became an English professor at the University of Southern Mississippi and the editor of the Mississippi Review. Barthelme's work includes the novels Two Against One (1988), Natural Selection (1993), and Bob the Gambler (1997), the short story collections Rangoon (1970) and Chroma (1987), and the screenplays Second Marriage (1985) and Tracer (1986). Barthelme is the brother of the well-known experimental writer Donald Barthelme (1931-1989). (Bowker Author Biography) näytä vähemmän

Includes the name: ed. Frederick Barthelme

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Tekijän teokset

Associated Works

Granta 8: Dirty Realism (1983) — Avustaja — 72 kappaletta
New Stories from the South 1998: The Year's Best (1998) — Avustaja — 39 kappaletta
New Stories from the South: The Year's Best, 1994 (1994) — Avustaja — 19 kappaletta
Speed: Stories of Survival from Behind the Wheel (2002) — Avustaja — 6 kappaletta

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I enjoyed this book, but didn't finish it. It passed my thirty-pages-and-still-interesting test, but about page 66 I decided to read the last chapter and skim around to find out how some of the many plotlines and sub-plots came out. That is a satisfying way to read some novels, novels that are full of good stories, where some of these little stories come to a conclusion and some don't. The stories are interesting, the offhand comments on life are interesting, but not so interesting that I wanted to hear every one.
It is about a fifty-something retiree, Wallace Webster, who likes to talk about his past, his neighbors, and about current events. He tells stories well. They are mostly interesting, and they mostly make him look good. Things happen to Wallace and to his neighbors, and to the women in his life, past and present. Many of the characters tell stories too, usually inside one of Wallace's stories, and most of the characters survive through the end of the book.
… (lisätietoja)
 
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mykl-s | 3 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Oct 2, 2021 |
This book won't be for everyone. As other readers have pointed out, nothing happens. And then, just in case you miss the point, the characters have another coffee, or a scotch, take a walk around the block, reminisce about some long-closed restaurant, arrive back at their front door and then ... yep, still nothing happened.

This is as little unfair, although almost as much fun to write as it was to read Barthelme's beautifully crafted "conversations about nothing." On the surface, a LOT happens: the death toll begins to creep up toward double digits (if you count the confessions of historical incidents), the central character Wallace Webster returns home, often as not, to find neighbors' houses surrounded by police cars, lights flashing, and incident tape festooning their neatly cut lawns. The alpha-male and female members of a Home Owners' Association indulge in local politics (and what could be more bloodthirsty than that?) However, what happens doesn't seem to add up to much more than the stuff of everyday life.

Which, of course, is the whole point. So, one that is not for everyone. But I find that those small accumulations of "nothing" have lingered in my mind, since I finished the book a few days ago. And my assessment has crept up, too, half-star by half star, as I slowly realized that this is a book that I will come back to.

I do have one quibble: Wallace doesn't seem to me like a man in his mid-50s, forced into early retirement. His attitudes -- to pop-culture, to technology, to life in general -- all added up to someone much older. My father retired to Florida in his 80s, and his day to day routine of coffee, or a scotch, with friends, walks around the block, reminisces about long-closed restaurants, and light flirtations with neighboring widow-ladies, all seemed much more like Wallace than a man in his 50s. This grated, a little, but it was the only "off" note in an otherwise very enjoyable novel.
… (lisätietoja)
 
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maura853 | 3 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jul 11, 2021 |
This oddity consists of a photograph on the recto with a caption of a sort facing which suggests snippets from a fiction of some sort, written by a prominent novelist. The photographs concern themselves with the banal in rural America, perhaps exclusively the South, as the few localities namechecked are all southern. As is often the case with photography which chronicles the banal, some of these are very droll, others moving, but quite a few are simply banal. I never got too interested in the narrative, such as it was, in the captions. The book is a worthwhile browse, but is terribly overpriced if new.… (lisätietoja)
½
 
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Big_Bang_Gorilla | Dec 16, 2020 |
Diffident men play the mating game in suburban America. 17 short stories by Frederick Barthelme published in 1983. Barthelme was editor of the Mississippi review for 35 years and his stories are well written with detail and atmosphere that conjure up life in residential suburbs. People meet, interact amidst a landscape of plasticity, so concerned with consumerism that they hardly see anything else. Soulless, emotionally void the male characters deal with chance meetings against a backdrop of boredom and loneliness. No dramas, but a fascinating look at the lives of a series of men seen through their own eyes as many of the stories are written in the first or second person.

Shopgirls the second story in the collection gives a flavour of the stories that are to follow; written in the second person a good looking man becomes obsessed by one of the female sales people in a department store. After some chiding by some other sales ladies in the store you are invited back to Andreas flat and you eat together and tell each other a little about your past life, however you notice a slight imperfection in Andreas make-up and suddenly she looks wrong to you, you do not want to hurt her feelings and so you stay until midnight. This is how the story ends:

"When she decides to go to bed you make no move to follow her into the bedroom, and she makes no special invitation. You sleep on the sofa, fully dressed without even a sheet to cover you. You imagine yourself leaving the apartment on a sunny day in the middle of the week. Three beautiful women in tiny white bikinis lift their sunglasses as you pass them in the courtyard. They smile at you. You drive to the mall in a new car and spend two hours in Housewares on the second floor. You do not remember ever having been on the second floor before. Kitchen equipment is exquisite, you believe. You buy a wood handled spatula from a lovely girl with clean short hair."

Sex and consumerism, but when the going gets tough the men and the women go shopping. All the stories are written from the male perspective, but in the majority of them the women are in control if control is the right word, it is more like a careless insouciance an insouciance about their own sexuality. The men are attracted, but in most cases ultimately repelled. The stories are too short to go into motives of these people many of whom one thinks would be hard pressed to communicate reasons for their actions and some of the stories appear as mere curios, but there is usually an atmosphere of uncertainty of irresolution that is intriguing. I enjoyed reading these stories with their flavour of suburban life in the 1980's 3.5 stars and it goes back on the bookshelf.
… (lisätietoja)
½
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baswood | Aug 12, 2020 |

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Teokset
28
Also by
5
Jäseniä
1,004
Suosituimmuussija
#25,690
Arvio (tähdet)
½ 3.6
Kirja-arvosteluja
11
ISBN:t
65
Kielet
5
Kuinka monen suosikki
5

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