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The Stories of Breece D'J Pancake Paperback – July 1, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books; Reprint edition (July 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316715972
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316715973
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #139,634 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Breece D'J Pancake was born in West Virginia in 1952. He attended Marshall University, taught English at Virginia military schools, and then entered the creative writing program at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where he died in 1979. During his lifetime, his short fiction was published primarily in The Atlantic.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 37 customer reviews
I took his recommendation and read Pancake's only work.
Jason Baker
And his collection is a masterpiece in the most understated and important sense of the word.
TMac
These stories are quite unique -- or so they seem to me.
Melvin Schuster

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 52 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 6, 2001
Format: Paperback
Breece Pancake killed himself with a shotgun in Charlottesville, Virginia on Palm Sunday in 1979. He was 26 years old at the time and had just completed a graduate writing program at the University of Virginia. Four years later "The Stories of Breece D'J Pancake" was published, a collection of twelve stories that posthumously established his literary reputation as one of the finest short story writers in twentieth century American literature.
Pancake grew up in the hollows of West Virginia and each of the carefully wrought stories in this collection deals with the seemingly desperate lives of the working poor in that part of the country. They are remarkably crafted stories, written with a deep sense for the locale and the people from which they are drawn. They are also models of precision, the kind of stories that deserve to be read over and over, studied for the way in which they use foregrounding and the mundane details of everyday life--albeit everyday life that quietly screams with the desperation of poverty, deadening work, drinking, promiscuity, and brutality-to draw complex portraits of people who endure, even when endurance is no more than a substitute for hope. As he writes in "A Room Forever," the story of a tugboat mate spending New Year's Eve in an eight-dollar-a-night hotel room where he drinks cheap whiskey out of the bottle and eventually ends up with a teen-aged prostitute: "I stop in front of a bus station, look in on the waiting people, and think about all the places they are going. But I know they can't run away from it or drink their way out of it or die to get rid of it. It's always there."
The best of these stories are "Trilobites," "The Honored Dead," "Fox Hunters," and "In the Dry." But there really isn't a weak story in the bunch.
Read more ›
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 6, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are times when things come together in such a way that you know it's perfect. It can be a phrase of music, a blending of colors and sounds in film, or, in this case, the words of a story. This book tells stories that fall together in a timeless way, but are still firmly rooted in a specific place and time.
Having grown up in West Virginia, there were parts of these stories that spoke to me from a sort of "native" perspective. But more to it was the emotion that was the core, the skin and the stitching of each of these stories.
It's a good book to own. To read from when you feel like being taken to another place for a while. And to carry a piece of that place with you once you put the book down.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Jason E. Wandling on April 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
Having been raised only five or so miles away from the town Pancake grew up in, I was a little bit more than amazed that I'd never heard of him. Adding to my amazement, I was an English Lit major going to college in West Virginia. Pancake's insights are almost horrifyingly close to the truth. His "Faulknerian" insight (as many have phrased it) is so much more powerful because it honestly conveys the spirit of southern W.Va. Powerful stories, especially valuable to anyone raised in Appalachian America.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By "botatoe" on April 16, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Breece Pancake killed himself with a shotgun in Charlottesville, Virginia on Palm Sunday in 1979. He was 26 years old at the time and had just completed a graduate writing program at the University of Virginia. Four years later "The Stories of Breece D'J Pancake" was published, a collection of twelve stories that posthumously established his literary reputation as one of the finest short story writers in twentieth century American literature.
Pancake grew up in the hollows of West Virginia and each of the carefully wrought stories in this collection deals with the seemingly desperate lives of the working poor in that part of the country. They are remarkably crafted stories, written with a deep sense for the locale and the people from which they are drawn. They are also models of precision, the kind of stories that deserve to be read over and over, studied for the way in which they use foregrounding and the mundane details of everyday life--albeit everyday life that quietly screams with the desperation of poverty, deadening work, drinking, promiscuity, and brutality-to draw complex portraits of people who endure, even when endurance is no more than a substitute for hope. As he writes in "A Room Forever," the story of a tugboat mate spending New Year's Eve in an eight-dollar-a-night hotel room where he drinks cheap whiskey out of the bottle and eventually ends up with a teen-aged prostitute: "I stop in front of a bus station, look in on the waiting people, and think about all the places they are going. But I know they can't run away from it or drink their way out of it or die to get rid of it. It's always there."
The best of these stories are "Trilobites," "The Honored Dead," "Fox Hunters," and "In the Dry." But there really isn't a weak story in the bunch.
Read more ›
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Rod Cooper on July 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
In this volume, the writer's surviving voice really hits home and stays there. Like that perfect song that stays in your head and carries you through the day, Breece Pancake's words and wisdom echoe through the reader's mind forever after reading them. In this life, there is always something around to remind of a Breece Pancake story. From the time weathered fossils in the creek beds to the rare West Virginia 120 m.p.h. strait stretches, after reading this volume I see Pancake everywhere, no matter where I am in the world. Like the trilobite preserved beneath the earth that hides it, these stories are a tangible (and for some reason widely unknown), history of a time and generation that, like the tragedy of Pancake's suicide, is destined to be repeated if ignored.
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