The Least You Need to Know: Stories

Overview


Lee Martin’s own distinctive voice has the qualities of his favorite setting: the commonplace and middle-class turned over with a searchlight of want and need to know. Morticians and insurance men, salesmen and farmers; women hoping to make life more beautiful and less pressing with delicate, bewildering hobbies and necessary flirtations; boys who veer from shame to pride, from decency to irredeemable wrongs, in an afternoon; people who do not quite recover, during the time of ...
See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (10) from $1.99   
  • New (3) from $14.95   
  • Used (7) from $1.99   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$14.95
Seller since 2008

Feedback rating:

(1008)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New
0964115131

Ships from: Pennington, NJ

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$15.59
Seller since 2011

Feedback rating:

(962)

Condition: New
Brand new and unread! Join our growing list of satisfied customers!

Ships from: Phoenix, MD

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
$86.18
Seller since 2008

Feedback rating:

(210)

Condition: New

Ships from: Chicago, IL

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Close
Sort by
Sending request ...

Overview


Lee Martin’s own distinctive voice has the qualities of his favorite setting: the commonplace and middle-class turned over with a searchlight of want and need to know. Morticians and insurance men, salesmen and farmers; women hoping to make life more beautiful and less pressing with delicate, bewildering hobbies and necessary flirtations; boys who veer from shame to pride, from decency to irredeemable wrongs, in an afternoon; people who do not quite recover, during the time of our acquaintance, but do not give up gracefully.

Lee Martin was born in Illinois. He earned his MFA from the University of Arkansas, and his Ph.D. From the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His stories have been widely published in journals including The Georgia Review, Story, Double-Take, New England Review, Prairie Schooner, and Glimmer Train Stories. He received a Nebraska Arts Council Fellowship in Fiction (1995) as well as Individual Arts Fellowships in Fiction from the Ohio Arts Council (1987) and the Tennessee Arts Commission (1989).

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review
Most of the stories in this debut collection revolve around the relationship between teen-age sons and their fathers in the Midwest of the 1950s and 60s. Although Lee Martin favors endings in which the young protagonists world is shattered by a selfish paternal act, he manages to infuse each of these similar situations with its own particular twist . . . . What his characters learn . . . is just how easily a life can come apart.
San Jose Mercury News
The Least You Need to Know is Lee Martins first book, and a strange and familiar one it is. There must be a thousand stories . . . about the relations of fathers and sons: the hokiest of themes, covered since Telemachus went in search of Odysseus. . . . Martins real, and promising, gift is to turn this cliche back into the urgent, intensely personal myth of growth it really is, and always has been.
BookLovers
Martins stories are solidly crafted, imaginative, and stoically compassionate.
Sonora Review
Martin succeeds with his own portraits, with his own skill for precise and intricate detail. . . . the most exciting moments in Martins writing come not from the dramatic tension, but from the swift, tender details that give these characters their humanity and make them more than just figures of tragedy. . . . Despite the characters failings, Martin does not judge or condemn them; instead he handles his characters as the undertaker in Light Opera handles his mourners: Eyes straight ahead, the undertaker advises his son, Dont embarrass them. Dont let them know how precious they are in their grief.
Blue Moon Review
Lee Martin explores loss of innocence and the harsh truths of growing up and growing old. His characters are funny, tragic, often weak and heartbreakingly human. . . . Martins gentle prose style and his ability to turn his plot on a dime, combined with a sense of humor and an appreciation for the tragedy of being human, make The Least You Need to Know worthy of high praise and re-reading.
Arkansas Democrat Gazette
The Least You Need to Know . . . demonstrates the authors considerable mastery at rendering with recognizable accuracy small town, middle-class, mid-western America and the people who inhabit it. . . . what these stories share is characters who seem so real that what happens to them matters to us. And Martin writes in a prose so fluid that what we read has the ring of a real voice simply speaking to us.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
"When I was a boy," opens the title story in this accomplished debut collection, "my father cleaned up crime scenes. Murders, suicides." This is the starting point for many of these narratives: a teenage 1960s protagonist whose father is in the business of death and whose mother is a bit dreamy and dissatisfied. In "Light Opera," Perry Sievers, an undertaker's child struggling to find a balance between his father's detachment and his own hot rebelliousness, is drawn into a beautiful and frightening act of petit larceny. The father in "The End of Sorry" is a strikebreaker at an abattoir, who unsuccessfully fights his wife's involvement with another man. There are exceptions to the pattern, notably "The Price Is the Price," in which a Jewish father tries to come to terms with his estranged son, a pro wrestler. The most resonant story in the book is "The Welcome Table," in which the Thibodeaux family, caught up in a cemetery scandal, flees to Tennessee seeking anonymity. Instead, father and son start training lunch-counter protesters by allowing them to practice nonviolent responses to verbal abuse, and the family gets caught up in a racial incident that threatens to divide them. Throughout the book, Martin's writing is sensitive and lucid, only occasionally veering into the florid. The characters he writes about are utterly real, if somewhat uniform (the fathers are tough and mysterious, the mothers have quirky hobbies like eggshell painting). But their concerns and joys are perfectly identifiable and voiced with passion. (June)
Kirkus Reviews
A fine debut of seven stories, winner of the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction—all, save one, previously published in literary magazines. Together, the pieces make for a hauntingly coherent first collection, often about pitiful family scenarios in which loyalties are tested, lies offered and exposed, and in which ironies abound.

A number of Martin's dull and witless men (as seen by their teenage sons/narrators) work in death-related jobs, which often cut their families off from normal lives. In the title story, a son witnesses the mental disintegration of his father, who works cleaning up crime scene fatalities. It's a job that satisfies his increasingly bizarre rage for order, an expression of the same obsessive neatness that drives his wife to distraction. "Light Opera" concerns the son of an undertaker who begins to see the appeal of his father's strange life as a constant mourner and affirms it by lying on his father's behalf. A cemetery manager leaves New Hampshire in scandal ("The Welcome Table") and assumes a new identity with his family in Tennessee, where he forces his son into early civil rights involvement, which the son rejects. Indeed, the sins of the parents often bear upon the children in these tales of justice and revenge. A father's job as a scab worker at the local meat-packing plant destroys his son's happy life in "The End of Sorry." In the long "The Price Is the Price," a Jewish merchant in goyish Evansville, Illinois, tries to win back his assimilated son by developing an inexpensive housing project for black people, but the father's business drive gets the better of him. In two short bits, old people join together out of fear ("Small Facts") and contemplate "sin and offense" ("Secrets").

Bleak midwestern landscapes well serve many of these stark and solid narratives.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780964115132
  • Publisher: Sarabande Books
  • Publication date: 1/1/1996
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)