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Someone to Watch Over Me: Stories Paperback – May 3, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (May 3, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060930705
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060930707
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,642,864 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Confused relations and the panic of loss suffuse the tales in Bausch's (Rare and Endangered Species) stunning fifth collection of short fiction. In a typical instance, a man is afraid that he and his ex-wife are about to lose their daughter to her violent new stepdad. All 12 stories here are full of domesticity, danger and people who sense disaster but, in a kind of dream-state impotence, can shout no warning. Fathers and daughters, husbands and wives, lovers and families watch their lives explode and unravel, and deceive themselves by believing they once had a grip on their realities. There's a witty Thurber touch as well, as in "Riches," in which a lottery winner is immobilized by his determination to stay "the same" amid hilariously crude family demands and sudden alienation from his once-familiar existence. In the title story, the much younger wife of a worldly man uses expensive brandy and obnoxious behavior to simultaneously confront and then evade the painful injustices of her year-old marriage. The heartbreaking and vivid "Valor" imagines a man's heroism after a school-bus accident, and his mistaken assumption that his marriage can be saved if his wife sees the proof of his bravery on TV. "Glass Meadow" follows a family of four to a forest cabin, ostensibly for a "vacation," but in actual fact in flight from an eviction notice. Bausch's chilling and believable dramas are haunting; the stories advance with the gravity of stop-motion photography. And the characters, driven to desperate acts, incapable of hearing one another, will linger long in readers' minds.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In every human relationship there are defining momentsAmoments that clarify feelings and expectations and alter the fabric of our lives. It is just such moments that Bausch (In the Night Season, LJ 5/1/98) explores in the 12 stories (ten previously published) that make up this collection. It may be an anniversary dinner ruined because the restaurant was recommended by a former wife, or a ne'er-do-well but loving father handing his son a knife and suggesting that he and his brother rustle up some grub when the larder at their "vacation" cottage proves bare. The results may lead to a reignition of romance in the lives of a separated couple, a decision to shoot an abusive son-in-law, or a simple acceptance of the way things are. Bausch's approach is matter-of-fact, using the cadences of ordinary conversation and eschewing the edginess of so much current fiction. A rewarding read for those who appreciate good as opposed to flamboyant writing; suitable for any public or academic library.ADavid W. Henderson, Eckerd Coll. Lib., St. Petersburg, FL
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

An acknowledged master of the short story, Richard Bausch has written 11 novels and eight collections of short fiction. He has won two National Magazine Awards, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Lila-Wallace Reader's Digest Fund Writer's Award, the Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and The 2004 PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story as well as the 2010 Dayton Peac Prize for his novel Peace. Before, During, After - a novel, is forthcoming.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By David Winkler on June 11, 1999
Format: Hardcover
In his unsparing revelations of family dynamics, Bausch gets under the skin of marriage as no other author I know of. He is the only writer who can make me squirm with discomfort at the same time he keeps me riveted to the page. In book after book he writes with incredible clarity, precision, and humor; SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME is no exception. Just when you think you're ready to put the book down, you are compelled to go on to the next story. And the next. Who can read about the murderous protagonist of "Valor" without feeling compassion? And who can fail to be amused by the Myrna Loy/William Powell antics of the parents in "Glass Meadow" while at the same time sympathizing with their sons? Not to laugh out loud at the observations of the young wife in the title story would be as heartless as not feeling her pain. And to resist Richard Bausch is to resist the greatest practitioner of the short story in America today.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dorion Sagan on February 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
Richard Bausch in these stories--of an older men with younger women, of a woman recovering from a dysfunctional relationship who hooks up with a horrible golfer who persuades himself he is good, of a man with low self-esteem who stumbles out of a bar drunk one morning to save a busload of children, of a man who wins the lottery only to face the final anomie of life as loss--takes somewhat downtrodden and mundane middle-to-lower class characters and reveals them in their secret glory. He has a way of fully seizing an everyday situation and revealing to us its depths, sometimes switching character point of view within the same story. The stories have the opposite effect of Chinese food according to the culinary cliche: they may seem on the light side while being mentally digested, but in retrospect they confer literary nutrition--staying, like the best fiction, with you long after the book is closed; these then are stories whose characters, if not the most memorable, are so real, so deeply sliced from the pie of modern American life, that their quandries and partial resolutions, their fictional or fictionalized lives, tend to merge with one's own memories.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
Seems an oxymoron, but anyone who's read other books by Bausch knows it isn't. Bausch portrays deeply painful situations with humor and a sense of abiding compassion for his characters. You will put this book down in pain, both in empathy for its characters and in sorrow that it's over. A wonderful read.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jeanne Lightly on June 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
Bausch's stories provide the certainty that you can eavesdrop on any life and find something worth hearing. The stories may not cheer you up, but they'll make you glad you read them.
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