FORTY STORIES by Donald Barthelme


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In 1981 appeared Sixty Stories, and now come 40 more, rounding out the collected whole--whether for new need or for the pleasures of mere symmetry--to an even 100. After effulgent praise punctuated by a moment or two of cautionary criticism, Kirkus concluded of Sixty Stories: ""Lots of very good Barthelme, then, a smidgin of pretty good new Barthelme: a collection without reason, perhaps [all of Barthelme, at that time, having been still in print], but an expansive sampling for newcomers and a chic bedside book for fans who want to replace their tattered paperbacks."" Ditto, though in very slightly fainter tones. It might be added that two of the included stories (""The Tolstoy Museum"" and ""The Flight of Pigeons from the Palace"") are among those of the author's that ""[make] use of period graphics"" (Kirkus lamented there being too few of such in Sixty Stories). Of the 40 here, too, it should be noted that only nine have not previously appeared in book form. In all? More of the irrepressible verbalist, satirist, tone-maker, and imagist Barthelme, swinging between vacuous preciosity at the one extreme and sheer wordsmith genius at the other.

Pub Date: Sept. 21st, 1987
ISBN: 0142437816
Publisher: Putnam