BN.com Gift Guide

Novelties & Souvenirs: Collected Short Fiction

Overview

A master literary stylist, John Crowley has carried readers to diverse and remarkable places in his award-winning, critically acclaimed novels — from his classic fable, Little, Big, to his New York Times Notable Book, The Translator. Now, for the first time, all of his short fiction has been collected in one volume, demonstrating the scope, the vision, and the wonder of one of America's greatest storytellers. Courage and achievement are celebrated and questioned, paradoxes examined, and human frailty appreciated ...

See more details below
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (22) from $1.99   
  • New (5) from $3.79   
  • Used (17) from $1.99   
Novelties & Souvenirs

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.99
BN.com price

Overview

A master literary stylist, John Crowley has carried readers to diverse and remarkable places in his award-winning, critically acclaimed novels — from his classic fable, Little, Big, to his New York Times Notable Book, The Translator. Now, for the first time, all of his short fiction has been collected in one volume, demonstrating the scope, the vision, and the wonder of one of America's greatest storytellers. Courage and achievement are celebrated and questioned, paradoxes examined, and human frailty appreciated in fifteen tales, at once lyrical and provocative, ranging fromthe fantastic to the achingly real. Be it a tale of an expulsion from Eden, a journey through time, the dreams of a failed writer, ora dead woman's ambiguous legacy, each story in Novelties & Souvenirs is a glorious reading experience, offering delights to be savored ... and remembered.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review
“John Crowley is an abundantly gifted writer.”
New York Times Book Review
“John Crowley is an abundantly gifted writer.”
John Hartl
John Crowley's range is remarkable. This addictive collection includes a twisted Hansel-and-Gretel tale about a pair of lost 12th-century children, a mystery about mummified Egyptian cats whose influence may defy the grave, a cautionary portrait of benign aliens and a Garden of Eden story presented from the perspective of a nightingale. All are told with style and authority.
The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Novelties & Souvenirs: Collected Short Fiction gathers 15 shorter works by one of America's most original writers of the fantastic, John Crowley (Little, Big). Included is a novella, "An Earthly Mother Sits and Sings," hitherto available only in chapbook form. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Retellings of familiar stories and bizarre dystopian visions, in 15 stories by the popular author better known for such SF and fantasy novels as Aegypt (1987) and Little, Big (1981). Crowley's lucid style and mastery of linear narrative function most effectively in a lovely adaptation of a medieval folktale about fairy siblings who cannot both survive in the human world ("The Green Child") and in his unsparing version of the story of the seal-man ("silkie") who takes a mortal wife ("An Earthly Woman Sits and Sings"). Other classic figures appear, intriguingly transposed, in a reimagining of Adam and Eve's "fall" into knowledge ("The Nightingale Sings at Night"), Lord Byron's report of an encounter between humans and a beleaguered satyr ("Missolonghi 1824"), and an anecdote about an urban writer's unexpected meeting with Virginia Woolf, whose "immortality" ironically makes her an avatar of an increasingly rapidly disappearing past ("The Reason for the Visit"). Of the more purely speculative stories, "Novelty" wrestles with a blocked writer's vacillations between retaining "secure" memories of his usable past and daring to stretch it imaginatively; "Gone" wryly depicts a suburban mom's uneasy accommodation to a brave new world staffed-and alarmingly altered-by industrious extraterrestrials; and "In Blue" introduces a depressed protagonist stuck in a ruthlessly streamlined post-revolutionary future that has consigned history to oblivion. The latter story's core idea is treated more interestingly in the superb novella "Great Work of Time," which blends the tale of a mad inventor's quest to enrich himself via time travel with a fantasy about African explorer Cecil Rhodes's creation of a secretsociety ("The Otherhood") dedicated to "preserve and extend the British Empire." Even better is "Antiquities," in which Britain's conquest of Egypt stirs up malignant shape-shifting avengers. A pleasing introduction to a very interesting writer's several "worlds."Agent: Ralph Vincinanza
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380731060
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/27/2004
  • Series: Harper Perennial
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 1,442,343
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Meet the Author

John Crowley lives in the hills of northern Massachusetts with his wife and twin daughters. He is the author of ten previous novels as well as the short fiction collection, Novelties & Souvenirs.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

Novelties & Souvenirs

Collected Short Fiction
By Crowley, John

Perennial

ISBN: 0380731061

Chapter One

Antiquities

"There was, of course," Sir Geoffrey said, "the Inconstancy Plague in Cheshire. Short-lived, but a phenomenon I don't think we can quite discount."

It was quite late at the Travellers' Club, and Sir Geoffrey and I had been discussing (as we seemed often to do in those years of the Empire's greatest, yet somehow most tenuous, extent) some anomalous irruptions of the foreign and the odd into the home island's quiet life -- small, unlooked-for effects which those centuries of adventure and acquisition had had on an essentially stay-at-home race. At least that was my thought. I was quite young.

"It's no good your saying 'of course' in that offhand tone," I said, attempting to catch the eye of Barnett, whom I felt as much as saw passing through the crepuscular haze of the smoking room. "I've no idea what the inconstancy Plague was."

From within his evening dress Sir Geoffrey drew out a cigar case, which faintly resembled a row of cigars, as a mummy case resembles the human form within. He offered me one, and we lit them without haste; Sir Geoffrey started a small vortex in his brandy glass. I understood that these rituals were introductory -- that, in other words, I would have my tale.

"It was in the later eighties, Sir Geoffrey said. "I can't remember now how I first came to hear of it, though I shouldn't be surprised if it was some flippant note in Punch. I paid no attention at first; the popular delusions and madness of crowds' sort of thing. I'd returned not long before from Ceylon, and was utterly, blankly oppressed by the weather. It was just starting autumn when I came ashore, and spent the next four months more or less behind closed doors. The rain! The fog! How could I have forgotten? And the oddest thing was that no one else seemed to pay the slightest mention. My man used to draw the drapes every morning and say in the most cheerful voice, 'Another dismal wet one, eh, sir?' and I would positively turn my face to the wall."

He seemed to sense that he had been diverted by personal memories, and drew on his cigar as though it were the font of recall.

"What brought it to notice was a seemingly ordinary murder case. A farmer's wife in Winsford, married some decades, came one night into the Sheaf of Wheat, a public house, where her husband was lingering over a pint. From under her skirts she drew an old fowling piece. She made a remark which was later reported quite variously by the onlookers, and gave him both barrels. One misfired, but the other was quite sufficient. We learn that the husband, on seeing this about to happen, seemed to show neither surprise nor anguish, merely looking up and well, awaiting his fate.

"At the inquest, the witnesses reported the murderess to have said, before she fired, 'I'm doing this in the name of all the others.' Perhaps it it was 'I'm doing this, Sam [his name], to save the others.' Or possibly, 'I've got to do this, Sam, to save you from that other,' The woman seemed to have gone quite mad. She gave the investigators an elaborate and horrifying story which they, unfortunately, did take down, being able to make no sense of it. The rational gist of it was that she had shot her husband for flagrant infidelities which she could bear no longer. When the magistrate asked witnesses if they knew of such infldelities -- these things, in a small community, being notoriously difficult to hide -- the men, as a body, claimed that they did not. After the trial, however, the women had dark and unspecific hints to make, how they could say much if they would, and so on. The murderess was adjudged unfit to stand trial, and hanged herself in Bedlam not long after.

"I don't know how familiar you are with that oppressive part the world. In those years farming was a difficult enterprise at best, isolating, stultifyingly boring, unremunerative. Hired men were heavy drinkers. Prices were depressed. The women aged quick what with continual childbirth added to a load of work at least equal to their menfolk's. What I'm getting at is that it is, or was, a society the least of any conducive to adultery, amours, romance. And yet for some reason it appeared, after this murder pointed it up, so to speak, dramatically, that there was a veritable plague of inconstant husbands in northern Cheshire."

"It's difficult to imagine," I said, "what evidence there could br of such a thing."

"I had occasion to go to the county that autumn, just at at the height of it all," Sir Geoffrey went on, caressing an ashtray with the tip of his cigar. "I'd at last got a grip on myself and begun to accept invitations again. A fellow I'd known in Alexandria, a a commercial agent who'd done spectacularly well for himself, asked me up for the shooting ..."

Continues...

Excerpted from Novelties & Souvenirs by Crowley, John Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Author's note
Antiquities 1
Her bounty to the dead 12
The reason for the visit 24
The green child 32
Novelty 38
Snow 59
The nightingale sings at night 80
Great work of time 114
In blue 216
Missolonghi 1824 276
Exogamy 289
Lost and abandoned 294
Gone 302
An earthly mother sits and sings 319
The war between the objects and the subjects 333
Read More Show Less

First Chapter

Novelties & Souvenirs
Collected Short Fiction

Chapter One

Antiquities

"There was, of course," Sir Geoffrey said, "the Inconstancy Plague in Cheshire. Short-lived, but a phenomenon I don't think we can quite discount."

It was quite late at the Travellers' Club, and Sir Geoffrey and I had been discussing (as we seemed often to do in those years of the Empire's greatest, yet somehow most tenuous, extent) some anomalous irruptions of the foreign and the odd into the home island's quiet life -- small, unlooked-for effects which those centuries of adventure and acquisition had had on an essentially stay-at-home race. At least that was my thought. I was quite young.

"It's no good your saying 'of course' in that offhand tone," I said, attempting to catch the eye of Barnett, whom I felt as much as saw passing through the crepuscular haze of the smoking room. "I've no idea what the inconstancy Plague was."

From within his evening dress Sir Geoffrey drew out a cigar case, which faintly resembled a row of cigars, as a mummy case resembles the human form within. He offered me one, and we lit them without haste; Sir Geoffrey started a small vortex in his brandy glass. I understood that these rituals were introductory -- that, in other words, I would have my tale.

"It was in the later eighties, Sir Geoffrey said. "I can't remember now how I first came to hear of it, though I shouldn't be surprised if it was some flippant note in Punch. I paid no attention at first; the popular delusions and madness of crowds' sort of thing. I'd returned not long before from Ceylon, and was utterly, blankly oppressed by the weather. It was just starting autumn when I came ashore, and spent the next four months more or less behind closed doors. The rain! The fog! How could I have forgotten? And the oddest thing was that no one else seemed to pay the slightest mention. My man used to draw the drapes every morning and say in the most cheerful voice, 'Another dismal wet one, eh, sir?' and I would positively turn my face to the wall."

He seemed to sense that he had been diverted by personal memories, and drew on his cigar as though it were the font of recall.

"What brought it to notice was a seemingly ordinary murder case. A farmer's wife in Winsford, married some decades, came one night into the Sheaf of Wheat, a public house, where her husband was lingering over a pint. From under her skirts she drew an old fowling piece. She made a remark which was later reported quite variously by the onlookers, and gave him both barrels. One misfired, but the other was quite sufficient. We learn that the husband, on seeing this about to happen, seemed to show neither surprise nor anguish, merely looking up and well, awaiting his fate.

"At the inquest, the witnesses reported the murderess to have said, before she fired, 'I'm doing this in the name of all the others.' Perhaps it it was 'I'm doing this, Sam [his name], to save the others.' Or possibly, 'I've got to do this, Sam, to save you from that other,' The woman seemed to have gone quite mad. She gave the investigators an elaborate and horrifying story which they, unfortunately, did take down, being able to make no sense of it. The rational gist of it was that she had shot her husband for flagrant infidelities which she could bear no longer. When the magistrate asked witnesses if they knew of such infldelities -- these things, in a small community, being notoriously difficult to hide -- the men, as a body, claimed that they did not. After the trial, however, the women had dark and unspecific hints to make, how they could say much if they would, and so on. The murderess was adjudged unfit to stand trial, and hanged herself in Bedlam not long after.

"I don't know how familiar you are with that oppressive part the world. In those years farming was a difficult enterprise at best, isolating, stultifyingly boring, unremunerative. Hired men were heavy drinkers. Prices were depressed. The women aged quick what with continual childbirth added to a load of work at least equal to their menfolk's. What I'm getting at is that it is, or was, a society the least of any conducive to adultery, amours, romance. And yet for some reason it appeared, after this murder pointed it up, so to speak, dramatically, that there was a veritable plague of inconstant husbands in northern Cheshire."

"It's difficult to imagine," I said, "what evidence there could br of such a thing."

"I had occasion to go to the county that autumn, just at at the height of it all," Sir Geoffrey went on, caressing an ashtray with the tip of his cigar. "I'd at last got a grip on myself and begun to accept invitations again. A fellow I'd known in Alexandria, a a commercial agent who'd done spectacularly well for himself, asked me up for the shooting ..."

Novelties & Souvenirs
Collected Short Fiction
. Copyright © by John Crowley. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Read More Show Less

Reading Group Guide

Introduction

John Crowley's Novelties & Souvenirs: Collected Short Fiction brings together fifteen stories and novellas written over a span of twenty-five years, and offers readers a astonishing range of fictive experiences. From an "inconstancy plague" spread by mummified Egyptian cats to a visit from beyond the grave by Virginia Woolf, anything can happen in a Crowley story. What will happen, how it will happen, and what it may mean are questions the stories -- and often the stories within those stories -- explore with tremendous intellectual and formal dexterity.

Reality in these stories is a malleable substance. In "Great Work of Time," the ability to travel back in time to alter the course of future events is only the first of the fantastic possibilities the story entertains. In "Missolonghi 1824," an English lord and poet recalls an encounter with a wild man who seems to be a representative of Homer's bronze-age Greece. In "The Green Child," a pair of fairy children appear at a place called the "Wolf-pits" and one of them goes on to marry and -- possibly -- have children with an ordinary man. The narrator reassures us that, "If there were children, and children of those children, so that in some way that green land elsewhere ... entered our plain human race, it must surely be so diluted now, so bound up and drowned in daylight and red blood, as not to be present in us at all." And yet one wonders. In "Snow," a recording device called a "wasp" follows a woman through her life and stores 8,000 hours worth of footage. But when her husband searches it after her death, he is confronted with the limits of technology, and of memory itself. "The Nightingale Sings at Night" offers a wonderfully inventive creation myth, in which we learn why the Nightingale has come to sing at night and in which the Moon reveals the essence of what it means to be human and mortal.

In these and in the other stories of Novelties & Souvenirs, and in writing that is richly metaphoric, wildly inventive, and always engaging, John Crowley takes readers on journeys that they would never have planned for themselves, and will likely never forget.

Questions for Discussion

  1. Why has John Crowley titled the collection, Novelties & Souvenirs? In what ways are the stories novel? In what sense might they be seen as souvenirs?

  2. In what ways do the stories in Novelties & Souvenirs bend the rules of reality? Are the strange phenomena Crowley writes about -- time travel, fairies, a "plague of inconstancy" caused by mummified Egyptian cats, a race of obsequious house-servant robots, etc. -- completely implausible? How does Crowley make them seem real?

  3. What origins does "The Nightingale Sings at Night" explain? How is it similar to and different from the Biblical story of Eden?

  4. "Snow" describes a device that can record and store 8,000 hours of one's life. If such a device really existed, would you want to record your life? Would you want to be able to view the life of a loved one after his or her death? Why or why not?

  5. The writer in "Novelty" has only one subject: "the idea of a notion or a holy thing growing clear in the stream of time, being made manifest in unexpected ways to an assortment of people" [p. 43]. In what ways do nearly all the stories in the collection involve time, and things "growing clear in the stream of time"? How do past, present, and future get jumbled in Novelties & Souvenirs?

  6. Near the beginning of "Great Work of Time," Sir Geoffrey says that "we ruminate endlessly, if, what if, if only ... The world seems always somehow malleable to our minds, or to our imaginations anyway" [p. 130]. In what ways does that statement turn out to be true, or not true, in the story? In what ways do the stories themselves treat the world as malleable to the imagination?

  7. In "Gone," the narrator describes the Elmers as "sinking and melting like ... snowmen ... shriveling into a sort of dry flocked matter and then into nearly nothing at all, like cotton candy in the mouth" [p. 305]. What does this kind of highly metaphoric writing add to the stories? How does it help you grasp what Crowley is describing? Where else do such metaphors appear in Novelties & Souvenirs?

  8. At the end of "An Earthly Mother Sits and Sings," when Ineen Fitzgerald sees the stranger who had visited her returning to the sea, "she knew whom she had had in her. She had known all along, but now she knew to see and to think: to think what would come of this, now and in the months and years to come" [p. 332]. Who is he? What will be the result of their union?

  9. Why is Lord Byron in "Missolonghi 1824,", so affected by the capture of the wild man? Why does he free him? What does this Greek who appears to have arrived from t he world of Homer represent for the British poet?

  10. In what ways do the stories in Novelties & Souvenirs differ from most short-story collections? How are they unlike realistic fiction? What similarities and differences did you notice between the stories in the collection? What distinctive qualities might identify them as Crowley stories?

About the author

John Crowley lives in the hills above the Connecticut River in northern Massachusetts with his wife and twin daughters. He is the author of Daemonomania; Love & Sleep; Little, Big; and, most recently, The Translator.

Read More Show Less

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)