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The Lonely Voice: A Study of the Short Story Paperback – June 7, 2011
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“A dazzling and provocative introduction to talking about what people do when they sit down to write short stories.” —from the introduction by Russell Banks
“This is a brilliant book on a subject about which little has been written. It carries, besides, the authority a critical work always possesses when its author is a distinguished practitioner of the art he is criticizing.” —The New York Times Book Review
About the Author
Frank O'Connor is widely recognized as one of Ireland’s greatest writers and cultural figures. He lived in the United States off and on after 1952, teaching at Harvard and Stanford, and writing stories for The New Yorker magazine. His most popular works include his Collected Stories, Guest of the Nation, and An Only Child.
Russell Banks is the author of sixteen works of fiction. He has received numerous international prizes, and two of his novels— The Sweet Hereafter and Affliction—have been made into award-
winning films. Banks lives in upstate New York.
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Top Customer Reviews
O'Connor was a noted short story writer in his own right as well as an essayist and literary critic. His central premise in this book, that short stories tend to arise out of "submerged populations" (i.e., minority groups, immigrants, etc.) may not have gained wide acceptance in academic circles, but that doesn't diminish the interest or the charm of this book in the least. It's a thoroughly fascinating examination of the short story as an art form, and a rollicking fun read to boot.
Much of the "fun" part comes from O'Connor's unabashed and delightfully expressed opinions. Here he is on one of Ernest Hemingway's short story classics:
"In 'The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber' Francis runs away from a lion, which is what most sensible men would do if faced by a lion, and his wife promptly cuckolds him with the English manager of their big-game hunting expedition. As we all know, good wives admire nothing in a husband except his capacity to deal with lions, so we can sympathize with the poor woman in her trouble. [...] To say that the psychology of this story is childish would be to waste good words. [...] Clearly, it is the working out of a personal problem that for the vast majority of men and women has no validity whatever."
This may not represent the consensus opinion on Hemingway's story, but what fun it is to see someone stand up to the old pugilist and tweak his nose!
This is not to say that all of O'Connor's comments are snarky; he freely calls other Hemingway stories works of genius. And he bubbles over with enthusiasm when discussing many, many other authors as well.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
THERE ARE SEVERAL STORIES EACH STORY IS BETTER THAN THE ONE BEFORE IT, I LOVE READING HIS WORK
IN SEVERAL STORIES I FELT LIKE IT WAS A FAMIY EXPERIENCE
As a recent English(creative writing)graduate , I bought this book hoping it would be helpful in my endeavors to write a really solid short story for my grad school admissions. Read morePublished on August 21, 2013 by D. Lalley