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The Early Posthumous Work Paperback – February 1, 2010

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Red Hen Press; 1 edition (February 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597093882
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597093880
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 4.9 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,605,405 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


There’s a much-vaunted notion of writing as craft, but precisely what is meant by this is not often clear. Steven Barthelme’s essays serve as the best of definitions.  They afford us the complete pleasure of hearing a thing said with utmost economy and utmost elegance, the two being one.  In essay after essay, Barthelme finds memory’s perfect pitch. His experience becomes ours: a 1966 TR4-A in need of endless reassembly, Speckled King snakes in their unsung beauty, boyhood dogs whose humans mirror them, a father whose belief that all was possible, and that a good house was not made and left alone, but constantly remade in pursuit of a happy ideal: “All you needed was the willingness to care”—a willingness found everywhere in this collection, along with the compensatory and permanent power of words, crafted by a master.

—Angela Ball



Reading The Early Posthumous Work of Steve Barthelme is like having a scintillating conversation with a much smarter friend, a friend with an enterprising sense of wonder and a faithfulness to the ambiguity of life. There’s not a moment of self-absorption in these wise, wry, and wildly entertaining essays. Barthelme pays attention to our world, celebrates our fragile and complicated lives, and opens a space in front of us so we can see more clearly.

—John Dufresne, Requiem, Mass.

About the Author

Steven Barthelme has published short stories extensively in periodicals, in Pushcart and other anthologies, and in the collection And He Tells the Little Horse the Whole Story.  A memoir, Double Down, co-authored with his brother Frederick, was issued by Houghton Mifflin in 1999.  With a long-time interest in non-fiction, he has written pieces for the New York Times Magazine, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Texas Observer, Oxford American, and other newspapers, magazines, and quarterlies. He writes and teaches in Mississippi.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Lovely stuff: the Houston suburbs of the early 60s; fathers; dogs; snakes; childhood. Growing up in a family whose members are unnervingly intellectual, talented, and ironic; growing up as a bit of an outsider in this family, by virtue of being by far the youngest. Wonderful and unexpected observations on the middle class, and teaching, and car repair. Also, and best of all - cats.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ellis Purdie on July 10, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Perhaps I am biased; Steven Barthelme has been my teacher for the past year, and I consider him a friend. That being said, if I'm a decent reader, said friendship should not blind me to the poor nature of a friend's story, essay, or novel. Bad writing is bad writing, and that's that. And if I am a friend, the last thing I should do is deem a bad piece of writing good when it is anything but.

Steven Barthelme's collection of creative nonfiction essays is near-perfect. His words are weighty with heart, and reflect a precise attention to the life. There are dogs and cats, memories, personal ruts, and fears laid bare. Steve's is a voice and tone that makes the reader want to sit still, to hear this, because it is honest and smart, written with clean and well punctuated prose. It's not a chore to read Steve's work. It's a delight.

Buy this book. Read it. Share it with your friends.
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