Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Stories in the Worst Way Paperback – September 1, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-0970942807 ISBN-10: 097094280X

10 New from $11.99 20 Used from $2.90
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback, September 1, 2002
$11.99 $2.90

Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student


--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Hero Quick Promo
Browse in Books with Buzz and explore more details on the current pick, "The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee" by Marja Mills.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 170 pages
  • Publisher: 3rd Bed Books (September 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 097094280X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0970942807
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,417,438 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Not bad stories, whatever the title. Rather, Gary Lutz's debut collection shimmers with a spare, elegant prose and a witty sensibility rare for such a young writer. Each story flashes by so quickly it's difficult to get your bearings before its gone and the next is thrust upon you. Even the sentences barely pause for breath: "I was a flask shaped man in a velour shirt sitting at long lunchroom tables in business schools, cosmetology schools, junior colleges, community colleges." --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Postmodern in tone and structure, the 36 short stories collected in this debut by Lutz are unremittingly grim, pretentious and oblique. More character studies than narratives, the pieces involve unsavory, self-hating characters: an antisocial college professor with an unfortunate bowel condition ("Slops"); an obsessive, gay office drone who spends his days secretly harassing his female co-workers ("Certain Riddances"); another gay man whose random promiscuity masks a deeper loneliness ("SMTWTFS"). The narratives themselves are static, if vivid, portraits. In "Waking Hours," a gay, divorced man with a dull new job instructing middle-management types on "how to bestow awards on undeserving employees" describes himself as "self-devastated," and goes on to prove it: he has a strained meal with the "mothered-down version" of his young son; he believes that check-out clerks at the supermarket might truly understand him through eye-contact; he pays attention to?and mimics?every noise his fellow tenants make in his apartment building. In a grotesque, misogynist fable, "The Pavilion," a man devises "a new angle on how to start a family," which essentially turns out to be hiring a woman, getting her pregnant and then, before an audience, pulling out her teeth and tongue while she gives birth. In spite of Lutz's flair with an airlessly ironic wit and occasional clever wordplay (an office worker's "extracubicular life"), these stories, all too unoriginally, live up to the collection's title.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 7, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Susan Sontag speaks of the need for getting back to the
sensous surface of art, to see what stories provide that
fascinates in and of themselves. Gary Lutz is one of the few writers who actually gets there. His
stories are sinuous, the sentences tightly wound, words
spilling out in ways we don't expect.

Lutz' stories cut
right through to the heart of what makes us what we are.
Rather than dilemmas and big tragedies and conflicts, the
situations of these characters consist of the daily, little
human hang-ups we all have: "If I have a problem, it is
this: there is a story in which everything costs a dollar."

These little hang-ups add up to large blots on
the self, to full blown obsessions and compulsions.
In his scrutiny of the family and of the social rituals
that we use to bind our lives together, Lutz can be both
funny and merciless, calmy telling us, for instance, that
"The wedding was curt and almost entirely without result."
It is the movement between the humorous and the disturbed,
the ability to show the dark and light faces of the same
situation, that gives Lutz his strength.

A funny and disturbing book, Lutz's Stories in the Worst
Way is an auspicious debut.

-- Brian Evenson (evenson@osuunx.ucc.okstate.edu)
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 3, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Lutz is a master wordsmith. He is Pablo Neruda chained to a wall, injected with heroin and winched in hard between American culture and a hard place. He is Sherwood Anderson nauseated by time travel. He is Thomas Pyncheon finally equipped with the brevity in the soul of wit. He is Kurt Vonnegut leaking sad little pools of schadenfreude.
The sad reverberations of his comedy and the comic undertones of his tragedy are so subtly realized that his grace may escape you if let it. Don't let it . The ghosts of our discontent orbit through his stories with dismal whimsy. It's the best collection of short stories of the last half century. Lutz can do in three paragraphs what it takes others a novel to accomplish.
Extraordinary writer, haunting book.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Monkey Deathcar on December 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
I suspect the only audience for "Stories in the Worst Way" will be other writers - no one else is likely to have heard of Lutz (or even Gordon Lish, for that matter) and his stories haven't and won't ever find an appreciative mainstream audience.

Lutz's prose is really interesting, the way that he invents and re-invents words and constructs sentences in bizarre fragments. After reading "Stories ..." I was honestly inspired to start playing with language and taking risks with my own writing. Unfortunately, Lutz's characters and stories are poorly developed and dreadfully boring. Every narrator is a repellant, self-loathing neurotic. Every story just sort of starts, meanders around for awhile and then ends. Nothing happens. The man can really write prose but his stories frankly suck.

I'm giving this three stars only because Lutz approach to language is so different and fresh, but that is the only reason to read "Stories in the Worst Way."
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. Dunn on November 16, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fragments of an unfulfilled life. Lutz is an urban Carver with a sophisticated grasp on grammar. Sparse and exact, this is smart language. Every sentence is a feat, an accomplishment in perspective. To read this book fast is to miss the point. Sit with the incredible delicacy of Gary's prose and you begin to understand why Gordon Lish felt publishing "Stories in the Worst Way" was more important than keeping his own job.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By R. Morell on October 7, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This word--I know what it means even though I'm sure it's made-up. That's the kind of edge that Gary Lutz dances on and gleefully. He will surprise a reader with a turn of phrase or a turn of plot or character that elicits a gasp and sometimes also a guffaw. I particularly loved "The Daughter," the last story in the book, where the narrator creates an index about his daughter. "Inconsolably okay, 00" This book is inconsolably underread.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By futuret@teleport.com on August 25, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Where the hell did this guy come from? How come there's no picture of him on the book? Why isn't he world famous?! This amazing collection is like nothing I've ever read. Bits of smug language mixed with chunks of black humour and inventive story construction will make your head spin!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By WordWizard on October 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
Gary Lutz is to postmodernism what Henry Miller was to modernism, it's as simple as that. Here we have a writer who deserves to be cannonized, by his unique aplomb, cutting-edge wit, incomparable story-craft, and sensitivity to social issues pervading our culture of commodity and appearances...and yet he's outright ignored by the "Establishment." There is no hope for those glib, irony-insensitive, self-righteous critics who think of his work as overbaked and pretentious...he's obviously trying to use his style to make a valid point or two. Go back to the classroom and stop trying to impress us all with your fashionably hateful and derived commentary.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images

Search

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?