The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Short Stories

( 7 )

Overview

The thirty-three stories in this volume prove that American short fiction maybe be our most distinctive national art form. As selected and introduced by Tobias Wolff, they also make up an alternate map of the United States that represents not just geography but narrative traditions, cultural heritage, and divergent approaches.

Contributors and stories include: Mary Gaitskill, "A Romantic Weekend"; Thom Jones, "A White Horse";  Andre Dubus, "The Fat Girl"; Tim O'Brien, ...

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Overview

The thirty-three stories in this volume prove that American short fiction maybe be our most distinctive national art form. As selected and introduced by Tobias Wolff, they also make up an alternate map of the United States that represents not just geography but narrative traditions, cultural heritage, and divergent approaches.

Contributors and stories include: Mary Gaitskill, "A Romantic Weekend"; Thom Jones, "A White Horse";  Andre Dubus, "The Fat Girl"; Tim O'Brien, "The Things They Carried"; Chris Offutt, "Aunt Granny Lith"; Raymond Carver, "Cathedral"; Joyce Carol Oates, "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?"; Robert Stone, "Helping";  Mona Simpson, "Lawns";  Ann Beattie, "A Vintage Thunderbird"; Jamaica Kincaid, "Girl"; Stuart Dybek, "Chopin in Water"; Barry Hannah, "Testimony of Pilot";  John Edgar Wideman, "Daddy Garbage"; Ron Hansen, "Wickedness"; Denis Johnson, "Emergency"; Edward P. Jones, "The First Day"; John L'Heureux, "Departures"; Ralph Lombreglia, "Men Under Water"; Leonard Michaels, "Murderers"; Robert Olmstead, "Cody's Story"; Jayne Anne Phillips, "Home"; Susan Power, "Moonwalk"; Amy Tan, "Rules of the Game"; Stephanie Vaughn, "Dog Heaven"; Joy Williams, "Train"; Dorothy Allison, "River of Names"; Richard Bausch, "All The Way in Flagstaff, Arizona"; Carol Bly, "Talk of Heroes"; Scott Bradfield, "The Darling"; Kate Braverman, "Tall Tales from the Mekong Delta"; Richard Ford, "Rock Springs"; and Allan Gurganus, "Minor Heroism."

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Editor Wolff (This Boy's Life, LJ 1/89) describes the stories he selected for this volume as representing a reaction to the postmodern, self-conscious fictional attitude emerging from the Sixties. Realistic and convincing, these voices of the past decade and a half create a sense of kinship that remains with readers as insistently as do their own memories. This collection gives us 33 well-chosen stories. Side by side with classics by favorite writers-Raymond Carver, Ann Beattie, Richard Ford-are recent contributions by Dennis Johnson, Allan Gurganus, Thom Jones, and others. While these diverse stories defy categorization as an identifiable trend in writing, they do share exuberance and clarity, offering depictions of often painful contemporary situations softened by humor and honesty. Highly recommended.-Eleanor Mitchell Arizona State Univ., West Phoenix
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679745136
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/28/1994
  • Series: Vintage Contemporaries Series
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 576
  • Sales rank: 212,766
  • Product dimensions: 5.19 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Meet the Author

Tobias Wolff
Tobias Wolff
Best known for his short stories and his autobiographical writing, Tobias Wolff riveted readers and held them fast with This Boy's Life, a groundbreaking literary memoir that redefined the genre for an entire generation.

Biography

Although Tobias Wolff has described his own youthful self as a liar and an imposter, he has achieved in his writing a level of honesty so unflinching it is almost painful to read. The author of two groundbreaking literary memoirs and several volumes of autobiographical fiction (short and long), Wolff is not just willing to lay bare his pretenses and self-deceptions; he feels an obligation to do so. Like Rumpelstilskin, he has spun experience, memory, and a remarkable gift for storytelling into literary gold.

Growing up in Birmingham, Alabama, Wolff barely knew his largely absent father, a man he and his older brother Geoffrey (also a writer) have described as a con artist and a compulsive liar. While he was still young, Wolff's parents officially split up. Geoffrey went to live with his father; Tobias stayed with his mother, who moved around from state to state in a steady, westerly progression that finally landed them in Washington. Never a good judge of character where men were concerned, his mother married an abusive martinet who made her son's life miserable. Wolff recounted his misspent, miserable youth in This Boy's Life, a groundbreaking 1989 memoir that later became a movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Barkin, and Robert De Niro.

Wolfe escaped his troubled home environment by falsifying an application to a private boys' school in the East and fabricating a resumé so remarkable it got him in. He flunked out before graduating, enlisted in the military, and was sent to Vietnam -- an experience he chronicled in a second memoir, In Pharaoh's Army: Memories of the Lost War, published in 1994. When he was discharged from service, he visited England, fell in love with the country, and studied, with the help of tutors, to gain entrance to Oxford. He graduated with honors in 1972 and received a scholarship to Stanford, where he received his master's degree.

A three-time winner of the O. Henry Award, Wolff is widely respected for his short stories. His first collection, In the Garden of the North American Martyrs, was published in 1981 and received rave reviews from such past masters of the genre as Annie Dillard and Joyce Carol Oates. Subsequent anthologies have only served to solidify his reputation as a preternaturally gifted storyteller. His 1984 novella The Barracks Thief won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction; and in 2003, he published his first novel, Old School, a shrewdly observed, heavily autobiographical coming-of-age tale set in an elite boys' boarding school.

Nearly as famous for his teaching as for his books, Wolff served on the faculty of Syracuse University for 17 years before accepting a position at Stanford in 1997 as a professor of English literature and creative writing. He is also a crackerjack editor and has shepherded several short story anthologies through to publication.

Good To Know

  • Leonardo DiCaprio beat out 400 hopefuls from Los Angeles, New York, Florida, and all places in between to star as Tobias Wolff in the film version of This Boy's Life.

  • Separated at a young age by their parent's divorce, Tobias and Geoffrey Wolff both grew up to become successful writers. Geoffrey's 1979 memoir of life with his con-artist father is called The Duke of Deception.

  • In an interview with The Boston Book Review, Tobias Wolfe discussed the phenomenon of selective memory this way: " Memory is something that you do; it is not something that you have. You remember, and when you remember you bring in all the resources of invention, calculation, self-interest and self-protection. Imagination is part of it too."
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      1. Also Known As:
        Tobias Jonathan Ansell Wolff (full name)
      2. Hometown:
        Northern California
      1. Date of Birth:
        June 19, 1945
      2. Place of Birth:
        Birmingham, Alabama
      1. Education:
        B.A., Oxford University, 1972; M.A., Stanford University, 1975

    Table of Contents

    Introduction
    River of Names 3
    All the Way in Flagstaff, Arizona 13
    A Vintage Thunderbird 29
    Talk of Heroes 48
    The Darling 69
    Tall Tales from the Mekong Delta 89
    Cathedral 108
    The Fat Girl 125
    Chopin in Winter 141
    Rock Springs 162
    A Romantic Weekend 185
    Minor Heroism 207
    Testimony of Pilot 229
    Wickedness 256
    Emergency 274
    The First Day 286
    A White Horse 291
    Girl 306
    Departures 308
    Men Under Water 320
    Murderers 342
    Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? 347
    The Things They Carried 366
    Aunt Granny Lith 385
    Cody's Story 399
    Home 410
    Moonwalk 426
    Lawns 445
    Helping 467
    Rules of the Game 497
    Dog Heaven 509
    Daddy Garbage 521
    Train 537
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    Customer Reviews

    Average Rating 4
    ( 7 )
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    Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
    • Anonymous

      Posted October 1, 2013

      Required book for college creative writing course.

      Order arrived promptly and in great condition, but I haven't actually started reading the stories yet.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted December 15, 2009

      Try it yourself

      Many diverse short stories that cover a range of not only authors but also topics, themes, and styles of writing. You may not like all the short stories in this collection, but you will certainly find a few hidden gems. Don't read this book from cover to cover, skip around to different stories.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted July 28, 2005

      take this book with you when you leave the country

      This book is packed with 500 pages lots of great, lots of good, and maybe just one or two stories I didn't connect with. I won't call them bad, because anyone is bound not to like something here and there. Overall, it's a fantastic value - definitely outstanding. Tobias Wolff did a great job as editor of this volume. You can read each of these stories in about 20 or 30 minutes. In this collection I particularly liked the stories by Ann Beattie, John L'Hereaux, Mona Simpson, Raymond Carver, Thom Jones, and that guy who wrote Jesus' Son. That guy's story is craazzy.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted December 18, 2000

      Realistic non-purged stories

      This is a group of realistic stories of realistic aspects of life in which something such as abuse may have occurred--not just a group of happy stories. It's great if one doesn't want the cold, hard world filtered out of one's stories.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted December 17, 2009

      No text was provided for this review.

    • Anonymous

      Posted January 5, 2010

      No text was provided for this review.

    • Anonymous

      Posted June 1, 2010

      No text was provided for this review.

    Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews

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