Why I Like This Story
Title Details

17th June 2019

364 Pages

21.59 x 13.97 cm

Imprint: Camden House

Why I Like This Story

Edited by Jackson R. Bryer

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Reviews
Presents essays by leading short-story writers on their favorite American short stories and why they like them. It will send readers to the library or bookstore to read - or re-read - the stories selected.
On the assumption that John Updike was correct when he asserted, in a 1978 letter to Joyce Carol Oates, that "Nobody can read like a writer," Why I Like This Story presents brief essays by forty-eight leading American writers on their favorite American short stories, explaining why they like them. The essays, which are personal, not scholarly, not only tell us much about the story selected, they also tell us a good deal about the author of the essay, about what elements of fiction he or she values.
Among the writers whose stories are discussed are such American masters as James, Melville, Hemingway, O'Connor, Fitzgerald, Porter, Carver, Wright, Updike, Bellow, Salinger,Malamud, and Welty; but the book also includes pieces on stories by canonical but lesser-known practitioners such as Andre Dubus, Ellen Glasgow, Kay Boyle, Delmore Schwartz, George Garrett, Elizabeth Tallent, William Goyen, Jerome Weidman, Peter Matthiessen, Grace Paley, William H. Gass, and Jamaica Kincaid, and relative newcomers such as Lorrie Moore, Kirstin Valdez Quade, Phil Klay, Viet Thanh Nguyen, and Edward P. Jones. Why I Like This Story will send readers to the library or bookstore to read or re-read the stories selected.
Among the contributors to the book are Julia Alvarez, Andrea Barrett, Richard Bausch, Ann Beattie, Andre Dubus, George Garrett, William H. Gass, Julia Glass, Doris Grumbach, Jane Hamilton, Jill McCorkle, Alice McDermott, Clarence Major, Howard Norman, Annie Proulx, Joan Silber, Elizabeth Spencer, and Mako Yoshikawa.

Editor Jackson R. Bryer is Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Maryland.
Introduction - Jackson R. Bryer
"The Fourth Alarm" by John Cheever - Lee K. Abbott
"A Father's Story" by Andre Dubus - Elliot Ackerman
"Use of Force" by William Carlos Williams - Julia Alvarez
"Leaving the Colonel" by Molly Giles - Rilla Askew
"A Cautionary Tale" by Deborah Eisenberg - Andrea Barrett
"The Wounded Soldier" by George Garrett - Richard Bausch
"Consolation" by Richard Bausch - Ann Beattie
"Where Is the Voice Coming From?" by Eudora Welty - Doris Betts
"How Can I Tell You?" by John O'Hara - Frederick Busch
"Triumph Over the Grave" by Denis Johnson - Maud Casey
"No One's a Mystery" by Elizabeth Tallent - Alan Cheuse
"Who Is It Can Tell Me Who I Am?" by Gina Berriault - Kate Christensen
"Cathedral" by Raymond Carver - Susan Coll
"The Magic Barrel" by Bernard Malamud - Nicholas Delbanco
"Dare's Gift" by Ellen Glasgow - R. H. W. Dillard
"The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien - Ellen Douglas
"In Another Country" by Ernest Hemingway - Andre Dubus
"Like Life" by Lorrie Moore - Pamela Erens
"Ghost and Flesh, Water and Dirt" by William Goyen - George Garrett
"The Tree of Knowledge" by Henry James - William H. Gass
"Sur" by Ursula Le Guin - Molly Giles
"FRAGO" by Phil Klay - Julia Glass
"My Father Sits in the Dark" by Jerome Weidman - Herbert Gold
"The Jilting of Granny Weatherall" by Katherine Anne Porter - Jack Greer
"The Bridegroom's Body" by Kay Boyle - Doris Grumbach
"The Doorbell" by Vladimir Nabokov - Olga Grushin
"Good Country People" by Flannery O'Connor - A. R. Gurney
"Jubilee" by Kirstin Valdez Quade - Jane Hamilton
"Winter Dreams" by F. Scott Fitzgerald - Edmund Keeley
"In Dreams Begin Responsibilities" by Delmore Schwartz - Joyce Kornblatt
"Goodbye and Good Luck" by Grace Paley - Beverly Lowry
"Flight" by John Updike - Jill McCorkle
"A Silver Dish" by Saul Bellow - Alice McDermott
"Flying Home" by Ralph Ellison - Clarence Major
"Blessed Assurance" by Langston Hughes - Edward Kelsey Moore
"Big Black Good Man" by Richard Wright - Sabina Murray
"Travelin Man" by Peter Matthiessen - Howard Norman
"Pet Milk" by Stuart Dybek - Leslie Pietrzyk
"The Pedersen Kid" by William H. Gass - E. Annie Proulx
"Bartleby, the Scrivener" by Herman Melville - Joanna Scott
"Old Boys, Old Girls" by Edward P. Jones - Rion Amilcar Scott
"The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" by James Thurber - Mary Lee Settle
"Sonny's Blues" by James Baldwin - Joan Silber
"The Laughing Man" by J. D. Salinger - Elizabeth Spencer
"Girl" by Jamaica Kincaid - Diana Wagman
"Fatherland: A Short Story" by Viet Thanh Nguyen - Kao Kalia Yang
"The Pura Principle" by Junot Diaz - Mako Yoshikawa
"Honeydew" by Edith Pearlman - Mary Kay Zuravleff
"Insightful and personal (but not academic), these essays should be warmly welcomed by any fan of short fiction." LIBRARY JOURNAL
"A thoughtful collection. . . . The authors do a fantastic job of explaining their relationship to the stories that resonate with them and why. . . . Reading this made me feel like I was back in English class, getting life and literature lessons from the best teachers ever." THE OKLAHOMAN
"It is hard for an Englishman to confess, but Americans excel at the short story, and here is the proof. And what better guide could you have than fellow writers who explain why each story deserves our attention, in the process crucially revealing something of themselves. These are not critics deconstructing a text but authors explaining why, for them, each story lives on the pulse, and why, therefore, it might for us. Is a short story less compelling than a novel? You might as well ask whether a sonnet is less powerful than a narrative poem. It is the very form, the discipline, the intensity, which, as in the case of this remarkable collection, engraves it on the mind.--"

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Title Details

17th June 2019

364 Pages

2.159 x 1.397 cm

Imprint: Camden House