Collected Short Fiction of Bruce Jay Friedman

Collected Short Fiction of Bruce Jay Friedman

by Bruce Jay Friedman
     
 

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Bruce Jay Friedman has been hailed by critics as a comic genius, a writer whose vision confronts the malaise of contemporary life with a liberating deadpan humor. Grove Press is proud to reissue the collected short stories by this acclaimed master of modern humor. Hailed by Newsweek as "a bona fide literary event," The Collected Short Fiction of Bruce Jay Friedman

Overview

Bruce Jay Friedman has been hailed by critics as a comic genius, a writer whose vision confronts the malaise of contemporary life with a liberating deadpan humor. Grove Press is proud to reissue the collected short stories by this acclaimed master of modern humor. Hailed by Newsweek as "a bona fide literary event," The Collected Short Fiction of Bruce Jay Friedman brings together Friedman's fifty-seven greatest stories, which appeared in Esquire, Playboy, The New Yorker, and other magazines from 1953 to 1995. "Friedman [is] more interesting than most of Malamud, Roth, and Bellow. . . . What makes him more important is that he writes out of the viscera instead of the cerebrum." -- Nelson Algren, The Nation

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
From poignant bildungsroman to sly satire, from wicked comedy to surrealistic farce, this virtuosic collection covers more than four decades' worth of short stories (1952-1995) by novelist (Stern), screenwriter (Stir Crazy), and playwright (Steambath) Friedman. With a caricaturist's gift for evoking complexities in a few quick strokes, Friedman illuminates the minds of both ordinary guys and egregious eccentrics as they grapple with pivotal decisions. A college professor contemplates life as a pimp; another man dreams of helping Sammy Davis Jr. relax. A hospital patient's EKG follows fluctuations in a stock price; a suicide ``jumper'' refuses to be sweet-talked by a cop. The 48 stories here are grouped into seven sections (``Crazed Youth''; ``Sex''; ``Death,'' and so on); several of the tales feature Harry Towns, a screenwriter who wrestles with personal responsibility, the uncertainty of Hollywood life and a recreational cocaine habit. In still other stories, one Martin Gans attends strangers' funerals to make sure enough fuss is made; Mr. Prinzo devises a perverse test of his analyst's discretion; Mr. Dworkin weaves elaborate sexual fantasies as he interviews job applicants. Throughout, Friedman explores themes such as loneliness, aging, fear, parenthood and ethnicity, spinning tales in an expertly modulated voice that lies somewhere equidistant from those of Wilde, Salinger and Woody Allen. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Like his film script Splash, the typical Friedman story begins in the realm of the mundane, takes a quick surreal detour, and travels erratically through an idiosyncratic and highly risible countryside. In "The Big Six," for example, clumps of broccoli from a special can allow the eater to return to the past and "consummate early seductions that went awry." Originally published between 1953 and 1995, these 48 stories provide wry commentary on social behavior spanning almost half a century. In a semblance of order, the stories appear under headings like "Crazed Youth," "Mother," "Sex," and "Death." At times these categories themselves seem to be a part of Friedman's running joke. For example, "The Holiday Celebrators" is a tale about gamblers who must arrange traffic fatalities so that they can win bets on the holiday death toll. Inexplicably, this story comes in the middle of the section labeled "Sex." Recommended for most collections.-Albert Wilhelm, Tennessee Technological Univ., Cookeville

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802137494
Publisher:
Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date:
10/28/2000
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
496
Sales rank:
1,313,425
Product dimensions:
5.41(w) x 8.21(h) x 1.23(d)

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