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The Universe and Other Fictions

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Called "one of the most original talents in American fiction" by The New York Times Book Review, Paul West is a continuously surprising and satisfying writer, whose oeuvre stands as one of the most important in American literature in recent decades. With these reissues, Overlook and Tusk continue its program of publishing the brilliantly lyrical fiction of Paul West.

In The Universe, and Other Fictions, Paul West embraces galaxies and molecular events, creating singular fiction ...

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1989 Trade paperback New. No dust jacket as issued. Clean and tight-unused copy-Excellent! ! Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. 224 p. Audience: General/trade.

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Overview

Called "one of the most original talents in American fiction" by The New York Times Book Review, Paul West is a continuously surprising and satisfying writer, whose oeuvre stands as one of the most important in American literature in recent decades. With these reissues, Overlook and Tusk continue its program of publishing the brilliantly lyrical fiction of Paul West.

In The Universe, and Other Fictions, Paul West embraces galaxies and molecular events, creating singular fiction as combustible and astonishing as Creation itself. In The Very Rich Hours of Count von Stauffenberg, West weaves a brilliant tapestry of fact and imagination about the ill-fated attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler. In the dark literary thriller, The Women of Whitechapel and Jack the Ripper, West brilliantly recasts the Jack the Ripper story, drawing on up-to-date research and his own dazzling imagination to plumb the lower depths of Victorian England.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Paul West (Rat Man of Paris, The Very Rich Hours of Count Von Stauffenberg) gathers here 18 of his supercharged fictions from 1966 to the '80s. West is a gifted wordslinger. In the title story, the Universe speaks, as if recorded on a cassette tape, punning along the way on the ``verse'' in universe. Another galactic tale, ``Life with Atlas,'' features the god talking about his work, his mythical family and his neuroses, while ``The Sun in Heat'' carries on with witty wantonness about the big star's lust for another celestial body, a ``star-slut.'' West's variety of voices includes Moby's monologue in ``Captain Ahab: A Novel by the White Whale,'' where the albino mammal sings of her love for Ahab, now tied bodily to her forever. ``How to Marry a Hummingbird,'' the earliest and most realistic of the stories, gets inside the head of a woman who, not wanting to bear her faithless husband's child, takes desperate steps. Two outstanding narratives, ``The Glass Bottomed Boat'' and ``The Season of the Single Women,'' reveal the seething, misdirected restlessness of a black Caribbean man. Overall, the collection is marked by West's astounding flare for the outrageous and the fantastic. His turbulent verbal play proves an apt medium for his wonder at ``the insolent profusion of things.'' (April)
Library Journal
Novelist West, noted for such rarefied works as Rat Man of Paris, demonstrates a diachronic, global sensibility in this first collection of stories. Relativizing time and space, he emphasizes the arbitrariness of what we experience and the indeterminacy of what we think. Whether housewife, anthropologist, or astronomer, his characters share a sort of cosmic ennui less plausible in some than in others. This, coupled with his dense language and methodical saturation of images, makes the work a fair representative of a postmodern aesthetic that would celebrate an agglomeration of global detail from which any sense of continuity and realism has been removed. For large collections. Mollie Brodsky, Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick, N.J.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780879513160
  • Publisher: Overlook Press, The
  • Publication date: 7/30/1989
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.42 (w) x 7.86 (h) x 0.62 (d)

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