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Our Story Begins: New and Selected Stories

– tekijä: Tobias Wolff

Muut tekijät: Katso muut tekijät -osio.

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5241835,106 (4.01)13
Ten potent new stories that, along with twenty-one classics, display Wolff's mastery over a quarter century.
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englanti (17)  espanja (1)  Kaikki kielet (18)
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 18) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
I registered a book at BookCrossing.com!
http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/13546067

This is good stuff. I had heard of Tobias Wolff and I watched the movie based on his memoir, This Boy's Life. But I had not read anything by him. So this was a good surprise.

The stories are like glimpses into lives, and those glimpses represent the characters in a nutshell. Excellent, left me wanting more. ( )
  slojudy | Sep 8, 2020 |
These are piercing stories. Many of them are told by or about children of different ages, adolescents, but also adults. They usually start out in a state of hopelessness and are driven to despair by the end of the story, possibly elated by it.
Many stories juxtapose two different events, states or processes in the lives of their protagonists. This juxtaposition, in a subtle, irrational way defines precisely the person in question, like two points define a line. These people may be "unreliable", but Wolff gives us just enough to peel off layers of decorative rationalization and then, conclusively and inexplicably, they snap into that window, or rather we snap into their mind, that we are unable to understand and yet can see from within for a brief lucid moment. That is Wolff's epiphany.
And what Wolff manages to achieve in a few pages of each story is attained with unfailing precision of style, each word falling into place, nothing lost either within or without.

This is a sad kind of prose, but the sadness and shame that it evokes in the reader might be turned into insight and catharsis. It is, in any case, difficult to shake off. ( )
  alik-fuchs | Apr 27, 2018 |
I found this great interview with Wolff where he reads some excerpts and discusses craft. Check it out: http://fora.tv/2008/04/01/Tobias_Wolff_in_Conversation ( )
  StefanieBrookTrout | Feb 4, 2017 |
Gems. I wish I knew who recommended this to me - I'd thank them most heartily.

Many of the characters are rather unlikable, even ugly, but Wolff humanizes them so effectively I can't be as snooty and judgemental as I usually am. Many themes and ideas echo - but only to the point that one would expect in such a retrospective collection. Terrifically concise character- and world-building... I don't know how we can enter these lives and meet these individuals, fall in love with them and mourn turning the page on them, in these very short stories. Wolff relies on no icons, no tropes.

The main thing is, these are just plain great stories.

The second thing is, a more careful reread of each reveals allusion, metaphor, grace, and other craft. I appreciate these much more than the other stuff usually anthologized in textbooks - which is the only place most of us are exposed to literary short fiction. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
Tobias Wolff, a writer more known for his short stories than novels, has been floating around on my to-read list ever since I read his short story “Bullet in the Brain” back in my first or second year of university. It’s funny how when it comes to reading I can mentally file something like that away and then not get around to doing it for seven years. Anyway, Our Story Begins is a collection of both old and new stories from across Wolff’s career.

What I liked about “Bullet in the Brain” – which can be read online here – is that it begins as a light-hearted jokey sort of story, with a book critic wearily sighing at the cliched demands of real-life bank robbers, and then – as he gets shot – suddenly turns into a serious and moving story, as his life flashes before his eyes and he remembers the joys of his younger years. Wolff has a talent for mixing the banal and the profound, the humourous and the terribly sad.

I mentioned in my review of Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? that I prefer short stories which are either plot-driven, or which have beautiful language. Wolff examines quotidian suburban life as much as Carver does, but writes in a way that’s actually interesting and poetic.

At the end we see the explorers sleeping in a meadow filled with white flowers. The blossoms are wet with dew and stick to their bodies, petals of columbine, clematis, blazing star, baby’s breath, larkspur, iris, rue – covering them completely, turning them white so you cannot tell one from another, man from woman, woman from man. The sun comes up. They stand and raise their arms, like white trees in a land where no one has ever been.

Now, certainly there are no stories in here quite as good as “Bullet in the Brain,” but that’s his most famous one for good reason. Stand-outs in the collection include “Hunters in the Snow,” about a chubby hunter bullied by his friends, “The Rich Brother,” about a wealthy man who rescues his aimless brother from a cult group, “A White Bible,” about the father of a disgraced schoolboy who abducts and threatens his teacher, “Her Dog,” about a widow taking his dead wife’s dog for a walk, and “Nightingale,” about a father driving his son to begin boarding at a military school.

Our Story Begins is an excellent anthology from one of America’s finest living short fiction writers. I typically just read short story collections to study the craft, and for something to read alongside longer novels, but this was a book I enjoyed for itself as well. ( )
1 ääni edgeworth | Oct 5, 2014 |
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» Lisää muita tekijöitä (5 mahdollista)

Tekijän nimiRooliTekijän tyyppiKoskeeko teosta?Tila
Tobias Wolffensisijainen tekijäkaikki painoksetcalculated
Alberto, RobertoKansikuvataiteilijamuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Antolín Rato, MarianoKääntäjämuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Satué, EnricSuunnittelijamuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu

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Ten potent new stories that, along with twenty-one classics, display Wolff's mastery over a quarter century.

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