The Palace Thief: Stories

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Overview

This brilliant new work from the acclaimed author of Emperor of the Air presents four novellas--each a stunning fictional portrait--that tell of peo ple trying to understand why their lives have taken such surprising turns.
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1994 Hardcover Excellent condition jacket * A fine book at a fair price. Bright, clean, unmarked. Text is Immaculate. We ship within 24 hours, carefully wrapped. We guarantee ... your satisfaction. Why pay more? We sell books from New to Acceptable. We take care to be accurate in our description. Most of our books were gently read and in fine condition. BNCTucsonbooks ships daily. Proceeds from the sales of books support an endowed scholarship to Brandeis University, Waltham Mass. Read more Show Less

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Palace Thief

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Overview

This brilliant new work from the acclaimed author of Emperor of the Air presents four novellas--each a stunning fictional portrait--that tell of peo ple trying to understand why their lives have taken such surprising turns.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Canin, whose short-story collection Emperor of the Air was justly feted, as his novel Blue River was not, here offers four brilliant longer stories, each seamlessly structured and with prose and characters to linger over. The book's ostensible theme is Heraclitus's observation that character is fate, which is all well and good until we try to understand the meaning of either term. Take Mr. Hundert, the honorable boys' school teacher who in the title story tries to make sense of a student's rise from a cheating dullard to an industrial and political leader. As for the question of character, hardly does a protagonist gain a slippery hold on the essence of another person's character, when a forced self-evaluation occurs: in ``City of Broken Hearts'' a recently divorced man considers his son as alien but in fact, the youth is the one person who sees through--and redeems--his father's bluff boorish exterior. Canin keeps readers so thoroughly engaged that the anticipation of resolution is almost like dread, as in the beautiful and wrenching ``Batorsag and Szerelem,'' in which the narrator recalls the gradual revelation of his family's painful secrets and a quiet secret of his own, the most painful and insidious of all. BOMC and QPB selection; author tour. (Feb.)
Library Journal
Four stories from Harvard Medical School graduate Canin, author of the fine collection Emperor of the Air ( LJ 2/1/88).
Donna Seaman
If one were to diagram Canin's fictional form, it would have to be of classical proportions: clean, noble, and golden. His latest book presents us with four beautifully told long short stories. In each, a man muses over his past and realizes how little control he has had over pivotal moments in his life. "Accountant" is a gripping variation on the turtle and the hare fable. The turtle, and narrator, is Abba Roth, a serious student turned dutiful accountant. The hare is Eugene Peters, Roth's academically disinclined boyhood friend who was able to parlay his enthusiasm for auto mechanics into a hugely lucrative business. Now solidly middle-aged, they have a showdown of sorts at a fantasy baseball camp overseen by none other than the great Willie Mays. As Roth surprises everyone with his able performance on the field and incredible awkwardness everywhere else, he finally gives into his deeply buried "impulse for uproar and disorder." The title story also tells the tale of a methodical, even fussy man brought up short by the bold, unscrupulous acts of richer and more powerful figures. In each story, Canin proves himself adept at articulating moments of profound embarrassment followed by flashes of self-knowledge that are either invigorating or demoralizing. Moving and memorable.
From the Publisher

"Marvelous...Each plot is dramatic, its characters highly engaging, the suspense sustained and irresistible...A commanding performance."-The New York Times

"Extraordinary for its craft and emotional effect...a writer of enormous talent and charm." -The Washington Post

"These four long stories are not only splendid reading material; they are stunning art, the kind if art that, blessed with an adamant yet unadorned intelligence, capers at the edge of life's deepest mysteries." -The Dallas Morning News

"Superb."-Time

“Masterful...[Canin is] a keen and compassionate talent. His writing is cut of whole cloth; it is beautiful and it wears well.” —New York Daily News

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679419624
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/25/1994
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224

Meet the Author

Ethan Canin

Ethan Canin is the author of Emperor of the Air, For Kings and Planets,and Carry Me Across the Water, among other books. A former physician, he is now on the faculty of the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

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    1. Hometown:
      Iowa City, IA
    1. Date of Birth:
      196007
    2. Place of Birth:
      Ann Arbor, MI
    1. Education:
      A.B., Stanford, 1982; M.F.A., University of Iowa, 1984; M.D., Harvard Medical School, 1991

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 6 )
Rating Distribution

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(1)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

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1 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2008

    EXCELLENT

    This book was an excellent read! I typically don't like collections of short stories, however, I picked this up after reading America America by the same author, and I was very pleasantly surprised. The stories are thought-provoking, intense, deep emotions, and some surprising endings as well! It was a very good book and a quick read. I highly recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2007

    Thought Provoking

    I read this book in a couple days and enjoyed all four stories. This was a book recommended for a discussion group. Glad I was introduced to this author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2003

    Absolutely Dire!

    I suggest that Mr Varney reads a little more if this is the 'most engrossing piece of prose' that he has ever read. This book despite its pretensions is horrifically derivative; Canin's style flaunts its supposed cleverness but has little in the way of real emotion or feeling. Its view of the education system is stunted at best and treads a line that has been depicted in so many mediocre works of this kind.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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