Sixty Stories

Sixty Stories


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780142437391
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/02/2003
Series: Penguin Classics Series
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 244,581
Product dimensions: 5.02(w) x 7.72(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 18 - 17 Years

About the Author

Donald Barthelme (1931-1989) published twelve books, including two novels and a prize-winning children's book. He was a regular contributor to the New Yorker and taught creative writing at the University of Houston. In his career, he won a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Book Award, and a National Institute of Arts and Letters Award, among others.

David Gates is a book critic at Newsweek. He is the author of three acclaimed works of fiction.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Barthelme can focus our feeling into a bright point that can raise a blister. These 60 stories show him inventing at a fever pitch." —The Washington Post

"Donald Barthelme may have influenced the short story in his time as much as Hemingway and O' Hara did in theirs." —The New York Times

"The delight he offers to readers is beyond question, his originality is unmatched." —Los Angeles Times

Customer Reviews

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Sixty Stories 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
figre on LibraryThing 11 months ago
I have never read such a collection of sublime, incomprehensible, subtle, perplexing, satisfying, confusing, stunning, hard, exciting, tantalizing, wonderful, stymieing, infuriating, [insert your own adjective] stories in my life. (Can you tell I¿m not entirely sure what I just went through, but I¿m glad I went there?) Moving from one story to the next, I was never quite sure what I was going to get into. However, no matter what I might have thought of any one story, each held adequate evidence of skill and genius at work. Some of these stories are (as I¿ve already stated) incomprehensible. I just don¿t get them. I don¿t understand entirely what is trying to be achieved. Yet, even those I found enjoyable. Other stories tickled the edge of my brain. I am not sure I understood them ¿ understood what Barthelme was trying to get at ¿ but it felt like I was close.And then there are the sublime. Just about the time I thought I might want to give up, I would come across another story that left me breathless, that made me just set the book aside for a moment and utter (and I literally did this after one story while on a plane flight) ¿Wow¿. Stories like ¿The Balloon¿ in which a portion of New York finds itself under a balloon that is spreading/growing across the city ¿ a message that one person is trying to send to another. Stories like ¿Robert Kennedy Saved from Drowning¿ in which snippets of K¿s life are told in ways that twist the reader¿s understanding of who K is. Stories like ¿The Dolt¿ in which a writer is taking an exam to be able to be considered a writer, coming close to success, but not quite getting there. Stories like ¿The Phantom of the Opera¿s Friend¿ in which we get a slightly skewed impression of who the Phantom of the Opera is/was. Stories like ¿The King of Jazz¿ which is a deceptively simple telling of two jazz greats determining who is actually the king. Stories like ¿The Emerald¿ (oh my gosh, ¿The Emerald¿, what a story) in which a woman gives birth to an emerald which all people want for their own nefarious reasons.Sixty stories, and these are just a few that will take your breath away. These short descriptions (obviously) do not do them justice, but I hope they give you a small taste of the strangeness. You will have to dive in yourself to determine what a great swim it is.So, in spite of not quite knowing where some of these stories go, each had enough to draw me into the next. And if it weren¿t for the incomprehensibility of some of the stories, it would be a perfect collection. But, even with this, it is a collection well worth exploring.
Patrick311 on LibraryThing 11 months ago
I'm making my way through this book in between others. It's mind-dissolving. I love it.
abirdman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Graceful, short, sophisticated stories with a bent sense of humor mixing ennui and a sense of naughty fun. Barthelme's genius is to write stories which feel avant garde and accessible at the same time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
cpauthor More than 1 year ago
Postmodern/avant-garde/experimental authors tend to range from excellent to unreadable. Barthelme is one of the figures (along with Pynchon, Wallace, and Gaddis) that gives this new breed of weird, challenging fiction a good name. He was peers with John Barth. Interesting story: one time, an interviewer asked Barthelme his advice for fiction writers. He said they should read every philosophy book from Plato to the present. Another reviewer posed the same question to John Barth, repeated what Barthelme said, and Barth answered, "read every piece of fiction from Gilgamesh to the present." Reading his fiction, you can tell the guy read everything. Many of his stories parody writing itself, with stories written as spoofs of travel brochures and encyclopedia listings. I like this collection the most out of all of his work.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I fail to understand the high praise Barthelme gets; most of these stories are incoherent and pointless to me, and I do not foresee a desire to read them again at any time later in my life. If you expect that a `story' tells a story, you will be disappointed. Most of the texts in these `60 Stories' would not suffer if you rearranged the paragraphs, or left out some (even many) sentences. Of course, this leaves much room for interpretation and hermeneutics, so it is perhaps understandable if these texts are found useful in literature classes. The back cover blurb cites a New York Times review which states "Sixty Stories is a Whole Earth Catalogue of life in our time", so perhaps this book is more interesting for those readers who like to browse a list of catalogue items.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nauseated More than 1 year ago
Will you tell me why this book was published?