Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Books: Sixty Stories, by Donald Barthelme

Everything I said about Barthelme's Forty Stories here applies, except 50% more. The two best stories are (the completely weird but wonderful) Me and Miss Mandible and (somehow less weird but equally wonderful) The Great Hug. One is long and one is short, but they both can and should be read.

A good lot of the other stories (e.g. Will You Tell Me?, The Emerald, The School, I Bought a Little City, A City of Churches) are interesting, at least in part, if a bit weird, confusing, distant, or surreal. They may warrant perusal if you have nothing better to do, or need some exposure to the outside of the box.

And some stories (Alice, Robert Kennedy Saved From Drowning, Paraguay, Eugenie Grandet, A Manual For Sons, Aria, How I Write My Songs, etc.) are basically unreadable and offer no prize for your labors. They should be avoided at all costs, lest you decide that all modern literature should be thrown out the window, and pledge from hereon to read nothing but Dickens.

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