ACDelco Radiators & Heating Components Shop Men's Watches Cloud Drive Photos nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon $5 Albums belkin All-New Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote Grocery Introducing Handmade Find the Best Purina Pro Plan for Your Pet Amazon Gift Card Offer wdftv wdftv wdftv  Amazon Echo Starting at $49.99 Kindle Voyage Nintendo Digital Games Shop Now Kids Halloween
The Night In Question: Stories (Vintage Contemporaries) and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

The Night in Question: Stories 1st Edition

33 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0679402183
ISBN-10: 0679402187
Why is ISBN important?
This bar-code number lets you verify that you're getting exactly the right version or edition of a book. The 13-digit and 10-digit formats both work.
Scan an ISBN with your phone
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
More Buying Choices
16 New from $14.00 81 Used from $1.49 35 Collectible from $7.50
Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Amazon Student Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student

Save up to 80% on Textbook Rentals Rent Textbooks

Editorial Reviews Review

Tobias Wolff has earned the deep respect of his many readers for direct, compelling stories marked by honesty and insight. The Night in Question is a collection of fifteen short works tied together by Wolff's upright style and unyielding interest in those moments when moral confusion crystallizes into clear, shining action and understanding. His characters, situations, and themes become familiar over time: children recognize the failings of their parents, men and women attempt to bridge the distance between themselves, and singular events shape everyday feelings into a new and more meaningful reality.

From Publishers Weekly

While some gifted writers make a show of their virtuosity, others, like Wolff, make what they do seem so artless that only upon reflection is the meticulous craftsmanship and intelligence of their work apparent. Wolff's first book of short fiction in over a decade (after his two acclaimed memoirs, This Boy's Life and In Pharaoh's Army) finds him writing at the top of the form. In each of the 14 stories in this splendid collection, Wolff's tone is unadorned, and a good number of the events he describes are just this side of prosaic; yet they are graced by an unerring sense of just how much depth can be mined from even a seemingly inconsequential situation. In "Firelight," an unnamed narrator recollects looking at rental apartments with his glamorous but impoverished mother; their brief interaction with another family showing them an apartment they can't possibly afford opens up into a meditation on home, family and belonging. The book begins with the wry and surprising "Mortals," in which a journalist is fired for writing the obituary of a man who proves to be very much alive. Other strong stories include "Flyboys," about an uneasy trio of youthful friends, and "The Chain," in which a man's desire for revenge after his daughter is attacked by a dog begets a cycle of violence with unforeseen consequences. In several stories, teenage protagonists and young men serving in Vietnam suddenly experience the instinct of self preservation; they and other characters learn to test the limits of their moral certitude. Wolff's characterizations are impeccable, his ear pitch-perfect and his eye unblinking yet compassionate. 30,000 first printing.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

See all Editorial Reviews

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1st edition (October 8, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679402187
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679402183
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #382,448 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By jmz VINE VOICE on September 20, 2003
Format: Hardcover
First let me just state that the whole of The Night In Question by Tobias Wolff is really great. Each story is written in such a way that you feel like someone really familiar is just talking to you -- face to face -- and you don't want to leave.
Second, if you can't read the whole book of short stories for some reason (you would really need a good one), then you need to spend some time reading the last story in the collect, Bullet in the Brain. I read this story in another collection of short stories by contemporary authors, and it's always been in the back of my head as one of the best. I just finished reading The Night in Question, and Bullet in the Brain was the ending of Wolff's collection. Having the chance to read the story again without seeking it out was great.
Essentially, Bullet in the Brain is about a man who just can't shut-up during a bank robbery. But then the ending pretty much slaps you in the face because Wolff took one incident that would basically end any story and just moves it right along. I would have to tell the ending of the short story in order to explain this -- and I really don't want to -- but believe me, it's the most creative and interesting ending to a short story like itself.
I was lucky enough to see a reading performed by Wolff at my university, and I will never forget the author's ease with the audience, and his smooth readings. Like he knew us all, and we knew him, and the story he wrote was meant just for us.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 30, 2005
Format: Paperback
Before I picked up this book I was only vaguely aware of Tobias Wolff, never having, as far as I can recall, read anything of his. I did remember that he had written a memoir of his peripatetic childhood that was praised probably fifteen years ago. I was unprepared for the power and grace of this collection of short stories published in 1996. A little research on the Internet tells me that Wolff is primarily a short story writer -- he has certainly found his niche in that, although I gather he has recently written a novel -- and is a professor at Stanford. But, most of all, he is a born story-teller. This is not to say that one is not also aware of the lapidary quality of his writing. My point is that even absent his writing skill he would still be someone you'd want to engage in conversation, or rather someone you'd like to sit and listen to as he spins yarns about the mundane. The mundane is his subject, but like all good writers, he puts it in such a perspective as to make it new and insightful.

Others before me, here at Amazon, have written about certain of the short stories here. The stories' subject matter is, generally, that of youth and young adulthood, and most importantly, about observation. His protagonists seem to have a preternatural writer's eye, which is part of what I look for in fiction. That's one of the great things about a great writer -- that ability to see things in ways most of us don't.

My favorite story? Probably 'Firelight,' about a boy and his hapless but courageous mother who go to look at apartments. Simple plot, but with deep implications about belonging, what home and family is, and about hope. The coda of this story, with the little boy all grown up and with a family of his own, tells us, as so often in Wolff's stories, how childhood experience colors our adult lives. Beautiful. I suppose now I'll have to go and read everything Wolff has written. Nice to contemplate.

Scott Morrison
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 2, 2000
Format: Hardcover
For fans of Raymond Carver, who wonder how his prose might have evolved had he not died in 1988, "The Night In Question" provides a possible glimpse. Wolff and Carver's close friendship is well-documented. And although Wolff is his own man and my favorite living writer, I believe that there's a tangible link between Carver's final stories, such as "Blackbird Pie" and "Errand," and Wolff's recent work. Wolff keeps Carver's legacy alive in a totally original, compelling way. I have read "The Night In Question" no less than four times. I have listened to the abridged audio version (abridged in the number of stories only) 7 times. There is a sheer mastery of the short story form here that astounds me. Bob Dylan once said of Gordon Lightfoot: "Every time I hear a Gordon Lightfoot song, I wish it would never end." I can imagine Carver saying the same thing about Wolff, for similar reasons. This book makes a great gift and is required reading for anyone serious about the art and craft of short fiction. I wished every story would never end.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Michael Meyerhofer on June 1, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've only read Tobias Wolff's short stories--both this book and the ones from "In the Garden of the North American Martyrs"--but this collection has continually left me speechless. Story after story focuses on the everyday happenings of mostly "ordinary" people with an attention to detail that reminds me of eastern poets. Yet Wolff blends his take on things with a distinctly "American" flavor--that is, he's an American writer at his best. Stories like "The Chain" and "Bullet in the Brain" are emphatic in their declarations of the human condition. After reading many of them, I couldn't wait to share some particular passage or insight with a loved one--or a stranger, for that matter. In this collection, moreso than "In the Garden of the North American Martyrs", I got the distinct impression of a vibrant, funny, quietly wise writer who--as Holden Caulfield from "The Catcher in the Rye" might have said--I really wish were a personal friend.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews