In the Walled City: Stories

Overview

Stewart O'Nan's In the Walled City was chosen by Tobias Wolff as the winner of the thirteenth Drue Heinz Literature Prize. The collection of twelve short stories was selected from more than 375 manuscripts submitted to the contest by published writers. O'Nan gives us people who face a bleak and often hostile world but yearn for grace. A man who drives a van of terminal patients to their radiation treatments learns to accept their deaths. The feud between a widow and her hired hand ends with the recognition of ...
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In the Walled City: Stories

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Overview

Stewart O'Nan's In the Walled City was chosen by Tobias Wolff as the winner of the thirteenth Drue Heinz Literature Prize. The collection of twelve short stories was selected from more than 375 manuscripts submitted to the contest by published writers. O'Nan gives us people who face a bleak and often hostile world but yearn for grace. A man who drives a van of terminal patients to their radiation treatments learns to accept their deaths. The feud between a widow and her hired hand ends with the recognition of each other's loneliness. A community joins to search for a missing child. For all his characters there is a saving optimism in the midst of tragedy. To survive larger losses, O'Nan's people find some small salvation or joy. After lunch the mail comes, the wind shifts, the sky brightens. Though the weight of events threatens them, parents still minister to children, wives suffer husbands, lovers touch. The world does not stop, and this in itself becomes a mystery worth respect and awe.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Twelve short stories. This collection was shosen by Tobias Wolff as winner of the 13th Drue Heinz Literature Prize. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802138545
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/28/2001
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.58 (w) x 8.32 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Stewart O'Nan
Stewart O'Nan
In 1996, the literary magazine Granta named Stewart O'Nan one of America's best young novelists -- an honor he has continued to justify in an impressive body of complex and stylistically diverse fiction.

Biography

Stewart O'Nan grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, addicted to cartoons, horror comics, Tarzan, science fiction, movies, TV, and garage punk. He studied aerospace engineering at Boston University, where he developed more rarified tastes (Camus, Coltrane, and the Beats), along with a lifelong obsession with the Boston Red Sox. After graduation, he worked as a test engineer for Grumman Aerospace in Long Island, devoting every spare moment he could find to writing. Then, with the encouragement of his wife, he enrolled in Cornell University to pursue a master's degree.

By the time O'Nan had finished graduate school, a few of his short stories had begun to attract some attention. He moved his family west and taught at the University of Central Oklahoma and the University of New Mexico. Then, in 1993, he hit pay dirt when his short story collection, In the Walled City, won the Drue Heinz Prize for Short Fiction. A year later, his first novel, Snow Angels, was awarded a Pirate's Alley William Faulkner Prize. Since then, he has gone on to forge a distinguished literary career. A self-described "fiction-writing machine," the multi-award-winning O'Nan averages a book a year. In 1996, Granta named him one of the Twenty Best Young American Novelists.

Although critics try to shoehorn his fiction into the horror genre, O'Nan's writing is far too complex and nuanced to permit such blatant categorization. True, his stories are suffused with trauma and tragedy, and his characters react unpredictably to the stress of terrible events; but the violence in O'Nan's fiction owes as much to Flannery O'Connor as to Stephen King -- two authors he acknowledges as important influences.

In addition to his novels, the prolific O'Nan has written a nonfiction account of the notorious 1944 Hartford Circus Fire. He is also co-author with fellow Bo-Sox fan Stephen King of Faithful, a chronicle of the team's legendary 2004 season.

Good To Know

In our exclusive interview, Stewart O'Nan shared some fun and fascinating facts about himself:

"Growing up, I delivered the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette to David McCullough's, Annie Dillard's and Nathaniel Philbrick's houses. The Philbricks tipped you a dime to put it in their screen door."

"The first novels I read with rapt fascination were Edgar Rice Burroughs's Tarzan series -- coverless, bought for a dime apiece at a Cub Scout rummage sale."

"Back in the early '80s, when I'd just begun to read seriously, I met Doris Lessing at the Kenmore Square Barnes & Noble before her very first game at Fenway Park. She seemed genuinely excited, and apprehensive, as if she might be asked to play."

"The library is still my favorite place in the world."

"I'd rather be reading than doing anything else, including writing."

"I'm an obsessive collector -- coins, books, records, baseball cards."

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    1. Also Known As:
      James Coltrane
    2. Hometown:
      Avon, CT
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 4, 1961
    2. Place of Birth:
      Pittsburgh, PA
    1. Education:
      B.S., Aerospace Engineering, Boston University, 1983; M.F.A., Cornell University, 1992
    2. Website:

Table of Contents

The Finger 3
The Third of July 23
In the Walled City 43
Calling 55
Winter Haven 65
Finding Amy 73
Mr. Wu Thinks 87
The Doctor's Sickness 97
The Legion of Superheroes 111
Steak 121
The Big Wheel 135
Econoline 149
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