Excuse Me While I Disappear: Stories

Excuse Me While I Disappear: Stories

by Joanna Scott


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From a Pulitzer Prize finalist and "greatly gifted and highly original artist" comes a masterful collection of stories about the timeless universal struggle to connect (New York Times).

Joanna Scott, the critically acclaimed author of ten novels and two collections, turns her “incandescent imagination” (Publishers Weekly) back to the craft of the short story, with breathtaking results. Ranging across history from the distant past to the future, Scott tours the many forms our stories can take, from cave wall paintings to radio banter to digitized archives, and the far-reaching consequences of our communications.

In Venice in the Late Middle Ages, a painter's apprentice finds a way to make his mark on canvases that will survive for centuries. In the near future, after the literary canon has been preserved only on the cloud and then lost, a scholar tries to piece together a little-known school of writers committed to using actual paper. In present day New England, a radio host invites his electrician to stay for dinner, opening up new narrative possibilities for both men.

Written in prose so naturally elegant, smooth, and precise that it becomes invisible, Excuse Me While I Disappear asks what remains of our stories—as individuals and civilizations—after we are gone.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316498746
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 04/20/2021
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 1,158,331
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Joanna Scott is the author of ten novels, including Arrogance, a PEN-Faulkner finalist, The Manikin, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and Follow Me, a New York Times Notable Book. Her awards include a MacArthur Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Ambassador Book Award from the English-Speaking Union, and the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Scott is the Roswell Smith Burrows Professor of English at the University of Rochester.

Table of Contents

The Limestone Book 3

Dreaming of Fire 14

The Knowledge Gallery 44

Thank Ye, Jim Bridger 62

Principles of Uncertainty 69

The Silver Pearl 91

The Maverick 103

Teardrop 112

Infidels 128

No One Is Available 141

The Palimpsest 147

Excuse Me While I Disappear 158

Absolute Zero 175

Somewhere in Germantown 190

When Drummers Drum 194

Acknowledgments 211

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