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All the Time in the World: New and Selected Stories Kindle Edition

3.6 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Length: 306 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Advanced Praise for All the Time in the World

“Virtuoso Doctorow is revered for his grandly dimensional novels, but he is also a superlative and transfixing short story writer. The incandescent new stories and forever stunning vintage tales…that Doctorow selected for this powerhouse collection portray psychological outliers on the edge of either liberation or an abyss. Doctorow is rightfully treasured for his social acuity and fluency in urban life, but he is also a penetrating observer of nature and our concealed primal selves….Like iron trellises wreathed with flowering vines, Doctorow’s complex and masterful tales of the strangeness, pain, and beauty of life are wise and resplendent…A landmark collection from a preeminent and popular writer who elevates the best-seller lists with each new book.”
--Booklist

“The new and previously published stories in All the Time in the World are a reminder that, for decades, Mr. Doctorow has been a first-rate artist in the short form, able to coax forth readerly empathy for almost all his creations…Mr. Doctorow is now 80, and as the assessments of his long career commence, it is clear that he has been, like his characters, a man apart from his contemporaries. The stories of All the Time in the World do not seem to belong to any school or style but to emanate from his own solitary visions.”
–WALL STREET JOURNAL

“Wonderful descriptions [and] gorgeous sentences…seem to fall effortlessly from Doctorow's fingertips….Doctorow's stories generally come back to the melancholy reality of imminent doom — yet they are rarely dreary and can be, in fact, quite funny. His characters, trapped as they are, manage to make a ragged music by rattling their chains.”
–CHICAGO TRIBUNE

“Distinctive, sharply focused, glistening with crisp language….Wherever they take place, these memorab...

About the Author

E. L. Doctorow’s novels include Homer & Langley, The March, City of God, The Waterworks, Welcome to Hard Times, The Book of Daniel, Ragtime, Loon Lake, Lives of the Poets, World’s Fair, and Billy Bathgate. Among his honors are the National Book Award, three National Book Critics Circle awards, two PEN/Faulkner awards, the William Dean Howells Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the presidentially conferred National Humanities Medal. E. L. Doctorow lives in New York City.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3690 KB
  • Print Length: 306 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (March 22, 2011)
  • Publication Date: March 22, 2011
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004IK8PZA
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #755,907 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

E. L. Doctorow's works of fiction include Homer & Langley, The March, Billy Bathgate, Ragtime, The Book of Daniel, City of God, Welcome to Hard Times, Loon Lake, World's Fair, The Waterworks, and All the Time in the World. Among his honors are the National Book Award, three National Book Critics Circle awards, two PEN/Faulkner awards, the Edith Wharton Citation for Fiction, and the presidentially conferred National Humanities Medal. In 2009 he was short-listed for the Man Booker International Prize honoring a writer's lifetime achievement in fiction, and in 2012 he won the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction, given to an author whose "scale of achievement over a sustained career [places] him . . . in the highest rank of American literature." In 2013 the American Academy of Arts and Letters awarded him the Gold Medal for Fiction.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
E.L. Doctorow is without a doubt one of the most critically acclaimed authors publishing in America today. He has enthralled me with Ragtime, mesmerized me with Homer & Langley, snapped me to attention with March, and provoked me to think outside of the box with The Book of Daniel.

But even though I've periodically read his short stories in The New Yorker, I never quite viewed him as a "short story writer." Well, after finishing All The Time in the World, that perception has definitely changed.

Stylistically, Doctorow has been described as a nomad, leaping across styles and genres and this collection is no exception. The reader must dig hard to discover a thread that connects these disparate stories, finally deferring to Doctorow's own judgment as defined in the preface, "I see there is no Winesburg here to be mined for humanity... What may unify them is the thematic segregation of their protagonists. The scale of a story causes it to home in on people who, for one reason or another, are distinct from their surroundings - people in some sort of contest with the prevailing world."

Take these stories for example: an affluent lawyer at the end of an ordinary workday decides to become an observer of his own life, hiding within feet of his wife and twin daughters. As he pares his life down to the bare essentials, it is only the thrill of competition that brings him back once again.

A husband and wife - who have elevated verbal sparring to a fine art - see their relationship exposed in bare relief when a homeless poet who once lived in their home enters their life.

A young immigrant, with aspirations to produce films, takes a dishwasher's job in a criminal enterprise, and agrees to marry the top honcho's beautiful niece for money.
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Format: Paperback
E.L. Doctorow's new short story collection, All the Time in the World, is a collection of twelve stories that have been published previously in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Kenyon Review, and The New American Review. Moreover, six of the stories have been included in previous short story collections, meaning that only six of the twelve are appearing in book form for the first time. Because, as the book jacket notes, the stories were written over a period of "many years," the collection is an opportunity for first-time readers of Doctorow short stories to experience a representative selection of styles favored by the author.

And, stylistically, these stories are all over the map. That means, of course, that the appeal of individual stories will vary from reader to reader. I, for example, generally favor stories with relatively direct approaches to plot and theme, and I consider it a bonus if the stories also offer fully developed characters. Stories with a less linear approach, particularly those that use a stream-of-consciousness style, work less successfully for me. Several of the stories in All the Time in the World are of that type - and two or three of them, I confess, did leave me a bit mystified.

Several of these dozen stories are particularly notable, including the first in the collection, "Wakefield." This is the story of a businessman who, almost by accident, fails to return to his family one evening after the return leg of his work commute is disrupted by a massive power failure. Instead, he hides out above the family garage, from where - over several months - he watches his wife and two daughters get on with the rest of their lives while he creates a strange new existence for himself.
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Format: Hardcover
If E. L. Doctorow and his publisher had wanted to choose an apt title for his third collection of short stories, they might have called it "American Misfits." Although in a brief preface he expresses doubt that "stories collected in a volume have to have a common mark, or tracer, to relate them to one another," in virtually all of these tales, spanning more than 150 years of this country's history, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author portrays troubled individuals struggling to make sense of their lives in a society that exalts individualism over community.

No story better illustrates that unity than "Wakefield," which opens the volume. Drawing its inspiration from the same wellspring as John Cheever's classics "The Country Husband" or "The Swimmer," Doctorow describes a character who stumbles back to his suburban home after a power outage strands his commuter train and decides to take up residence in his detached garage, vanishing from his life in the process. Doctorow renders that bizarre premise completely plausible, as Howard Wakefield, a seemingly successful New York City attorney, manages to slip the bonds of his crumbling marriage. "I lived in Diana's judgment," he observes of his wife on the night of his fateful decision, "it shone upon me as in a prison cell where the light is never turned off."

"Walter John Harmon" and "Heist" both deal with characters experiencing crises of faith. The narrator of the former story lives in a community led by a Jim Jones/David Koresh-like character who makes off with both the narrator's wife and the community's treasury. The story's concluding sentence is as chilling as any to be found in recent short fiction.
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