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Esther Stories Paperback – April 23, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for ESTHER STORIES (2001)

"There's startling intimacy in every story of Peter Orner's debut collection."―Judy Doenges, Washington Post

"I was stunned by a sentence or two in every one of the works in Esther Stories." Rick Moody, The Hartford Courant

"A luminous debut collection. . . .Like Amy Bloom and Charles Baxter, Orner has a gift for revealing how the tragic and the mundane occupy equal berths in our limited mental space."―John Freeman, Chicago Tribune

"Some of Orner's very short stories are the best of that form that I have read since Isaac Babel's."―Andre Dubus

"If the short story were in need of a future, it has been found in Peter Orner."―Dennis Lehane

"These are stories of unusual delicacy and beauty, and this is a remarkable collection."―Charles Baxter

"Orner doesn't simply bring his characters to life, he gives them souls."―Margot Livesey, New York Times Book Review

About the Author

Peter Orner is the author of two other books, The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo, and Love and Shame and Love. Some of the stories in Esther Stories first appeared in Atlantic Monthly, Epoch, North American Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, and Southern Review, among other periodicals. One was reprinted in The Best American Short Stories 2001, and another in The Pushcart Prize XXVI. Orner was born in Chicago and now lives in San Francisco.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books (April 23, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316224685
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316224680
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #178,092 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David Marquette on June 11, 2013
Format: Paperback
Re-reading ESTHER STORIES (2001) more than a decade after its original publication, I continue to be astonished by the tender worldliness, quiet passion, understated wisdom, and luminous poetry of Orner's first collection. So does Marilynne Robinson, who provides an insightful "Foreword" to the new paperback edition. These 34 precise and economical stories are dense with details (names, places, dates, smells, tastes), scattered with things--especially with books and photographs, with love's debris. The narrator of the title story looks at a photograph of his Aunt Esther, and sees someone who wants to be seen and not just looked at, "someone [he] would have loved had [he] been there." Orner does not just look at his characters, he sees them, sees their souls, lovingly re-imagines their stories and shares his revelations, his characters' simple, aching stories, with us in language we can understand and remember. These are stories about love and remembrance in America, stories about remembering to love and remembering to remember. These are stories that deserve to be taught in schools, next to stories by Poe and Hawthorne and Malamud and Roth to illustrate the art of short American stories. These are stories that should be shared by families who care about loving and remembering and about knowing each other's stories. And of course they should send you back to Orner's last haunting book, LOVE AND SHAME AND LOVE (2012), and forward to his next and most mature collection so far, LAST CAR OVER THE SAGAMORE BRIDGE (August 2013). One or more of these stories is sure to convince you that Orner has been eavesdropping on your family.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By KVA on October 2, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The chief thing I noticed in this book was the ability of its author to create an atmosphere which gives substance to the lives that take shape within it. He is simply marvellous at that. The lives themselves are often ones of "quiet desparation" but well worth our notice. The result is a kind of comment on the condition of living today.
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By David on September 21, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Just as my attention span is getting shorter and shorter.
Peter Orner is saving me. Perfect short stories at, sometimes,
less than a page. I've been able to finish each one at one sitting.
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By Brian Glennon on November 27, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
well done
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