With these audacious and murderously witty stories, Donald Barthelme threw the preoccupations of our time into the literary equivalent of a. This excellent collection of Donald Barthelme’s literary output during the s and s covers the period when the writer came to. Donald Barthelme is not afraid to be stupid. If you’re expecting to open this book, read it from start to finish, and for there to be recognizeable.

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A mixed bag, but an extremely interesting one. Looking for More Great Reads?

On the other hand, when Barthelme can wed his daring formal experimentalism with more traditional content — character, conflict, emotion — the results are breathtaking. Forty Storiesa companion volume to Sixty Storieswas published six years later, in I read it from start to finish, yes, but not before I’d already skimmed most of the stories, cracked up a few times, read various parts over, ignored the boring bits, and marked my place with a crayon.

Like all of Barthelme’s work, the sixty stories collected in this volume are triumphs of language and perception, at once unsettling and irresistible. I have no further use for this book. He often cited collage as the central artistic principle of the last century and many of his stories work in just such a way, mashing historical and artistic allusions into pop-cultural references and voices that shift between the demotic, the bureaucratic and the formal.

Dec 20, Grant rated it liked it.

I can’t pick a favourite from these. Here’s an odd coincidence: The philosophic, emotional and societal investigations are sharp and witty, the humor dark, and the settings surreal.


Sixty Stories

These stories vary in the extreme, barhhelme a love story about an enormous balloon to the hilarious tale of a witch who gives birth to a diamond to a manual on how to deal with fathers to a falling dog to Montezuma to etc. Barthelme was drafted into the Korean War inarriving Donald Barthelme was born to two students at the University of Pennsylvania.

Although their approaches couldn’t be more different, Barthelme is, like Hemingway or H. If not, it’s a discourtesy to the reader to hide behind such a strange veil. But the difference is Joyce had a unifying vision, at least with “Ulysses”, and that is what makes him a greater writer.

Some damned fool couldn’t keep his mouth shut. Some stories will grab you instantly, others will seem incomprehensible or opaque. The above passage is the rarest of examples of Barthelme explicitly stating the theme of any of his stories. If I had a fireplace, however, I could certainly find one more use for storie book.

Dec 12, Peter Landau rated it really liked it. The best idea is to chain heavy-duty truck tires to them, one in front, one in back, so 660 their leaps become pathetic small hops.

The vast majority of his work, unlike that of many of his formally adventurous contemporaries, remains fresh, despite its reputation having been unfairly tarnished by underachieving copyists.

Just like With the exception of a couple of stories, particularly “Game,” I found this collection of stories to be affected, precious, and irritatingly obscure like the New Yorker magazine in which they so often appeared. They seem to be much of the point.

A brief survey of the short story part Donald Barthelme | Books | The Guardian

We have Presbyterian, Unitarian, Pentecostal, protestant… you name it, and they have it. Barthelme seems far more interested in what language can do, what one word placed next to another can make, rather than communicating any theme or point. We have the deadly testicle-destroying telegram. Probably it helped even more that I had suffered serious disappointments and intermittently drank too much. Barthelme’s approach to art was collage and he thought by combining elements from history and art to create something new, you’re being an artist.


A City of Churches read only. Yes, Rebecca is a lizard, though she’s also a person. Although he continued to take classes untilhe never received a degree. May 25, John rated it it was amazing Shelves: Donald Barthelme published twelve books, including two novels and a prize-winning children’s book. Read this one first.

These stories have iconoclastic and seemingly improvisational qualities that I found irresistible; Barthelme’s anarchic imagination and unpredictability are major reasons for recommending him to readers with offbeat sensibilities. Having now read authors like David Foster Wallace and Ben Marcus since last reading this book, it has become clear to me how much their formal experimentalism benefited from Barthelme’s early explorations.

How can I justify my indifference to Donald Barthelme?

His work clearly bears the influence of both, and of the Eliot of The Waste Land particularly in the repeated “Fragments are the only forms I trust” refrain of ‘s See The Moon?