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The Stories of Richard Bausch Paperback – November 9, 2004

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (November 9, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060956224
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060956226
  • Product Dimensions: 1.6 x 5.2 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #236,650 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Bausch is a compelling storyteller whether he's creating such richly layered novels as Hello to the Cannibals (2002) or his electrifying short stories. Notable for their structural perfection, convincing physicality, and psychological depth, Bausch's masterful stories were showcased in a selected collection in 1996, and are now presented in a major retrospective volume containing 42 indelible tales. An intrinsically American writer, Bausch captures the sense of alienation that haunts so many of us, the feeling that life is arbitrary, bereft, and absurd, and that even those closest to you are, in fact, total strangers, and none too benign. Again and again in Bausch's riveting short stories, siblings, spouses, and parents and children suddenly find themselves in conflict or utterly estranged. And yet in spite of their isolation, Bausch's down-on-their-luck characters also feel trapped. Helpless in the grip of anger, fear, or longing, they lash out, lie, badger, argue, and disappear. Confusion reigns; life is "so frail and precarious"; violence is always a possibility; and sources of joy--a pregnancy, winning the lottery--turn out to be liabilities. But these are truly redemptive tales given that Bausch illuminates both benevolent and malevolent aspects of human nature with dark humor, a spiky imagination, consummate artistry, and unfailing compassion. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“Perfection … many deserve inclusion among the best American stories of the past 20 years.” (Boston Globe)

“Effortlessly engaging...that closing the book feels like pushing the door shut on some clamorous party.” (New York Times Book Review)

“Beautiful ... a delight to read.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

Grade: ‘A’ “Read just a few of these staggeringly literate and well-observed short fictions and you’ll soon realize that it’s not only God who dwells in the details.” (Entertainment Weekly)

“The book for which Bausch will be remembered....A fine, fat collection of 42 tales.” (Kirkus Reviews (Starred))

“A memorable collection.” (Boston Herald)

“A master storyteller at his finest.” (Charlotte Observer)

“Bausch [is] a magical storyteller.” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

“Bausch writes about things that matter.” (Raleigh News & Observer)

“A literary treasure.” (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

“Precision of thought, the philosophical framework of a true aesthetic, pervades these stories.” (Village Voice)

“Bausch draws the reader into lives that seem real. His characters look and sound like ... ourselves.” (Seattle Times)

“Richard Bausch is, simply, one of our greatest short story writers.” (Andrea Barrett)

“Richard Bausch is a master of the short story.” (New York Times Book Review)

“No writer has a finer insight into the delicate nuances of the human heart than Richard Bausch.” (Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain)

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

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 9 customer reviews
He's got novels I bet are worth buying as well.
Kristine Dukes
This collection is best read in chunks separated by other works - a novel, maybe, or stories by other authors.
Debbie Lee Wesselmann
Because the true greats all have their own voice and style.
Roger W. Wright

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Debbie Lee Wesselmann TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Richard Bausch has always been better known for his short fiction than for his novels, and this hefty compilation of his stories demonstrates why. Bausch is a master at showing vulnerable moments, the points at which marriages, familial relationships, and psyches break down. He condenses entire lives into a few telling scenes. The awkwardness with which his protagonists approach relationships makes them endearingly fallible, with their missteps costing them in ways they never anticipate. Bausch is so skilled at evoking the reality of interpersonal encounters that one always gets the feeling that these solidly believable characters survive beyond the last line of their individual tales.
These forty-two stories are not meant to be read as a marathon, for to do so would be overwhelming. The recurrent motifs of personal blunders, regrets, and foundering relationships can wear on a reader if taken all at once. This collection is best read in chunks separated by other works - a novel, maybe, or stories by other authors. With this kind of space between readings, almost every story is a gem. "Nobody in Hollywood" tells of the ruined loves of two brothers and the ironic twist that unites them. "Someone to Watch Over Me" details what is perhaps the final night of a marriage, at an outrageously expensive restaurant that reveals the unbridgeable rift between Ted and Marlee. "Ancient History" subtly exposes the depth of emotion a teenage boy feels as he, his mother, and his aunt celebrate their first Christmas without his father. "Contrition" tells of the obsession an ex-con has with an old photograph of his father and the idyllic moment it captured.
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30 of 36 people found the following review helpful By G. Bestick VINE VOICE on February 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Say your goal is to locate a short story writer in relation to his peers. Start by imagining a map of a valley, with Mount Munro at one end and Mount Carver at the other. Mount Munro, after Alice, is the summit of capacious stories that range widely across time and space, containing fully laid out lives. Inner worlds are slowly peeled back and the reader is led, subtly and inexorably, to a shiver of revelation. At the other extreme, Raymond Carver's brief stories seem found rather than made. The insights come all at once and hit you so fast you feel defenseless, then dazed. The impact lingers long after you've put down the story.
The Stories of Richard Bausch lie in the Carver end of the valley, somewhere fairly high up on the flanks of Mount Carver. The guy can write, and, like Carver, he can crack open whole worlds in a few pages. Each story read separately is a gem. Read them in a batch, though, and you may feel that you're stuck in the same bleak place. Bausch writes mostly about men whose lives are spinning out of control. These men seem to lack the something - courage, self-awareness, time, money or energy - they need to step off the entropy express. Individually, the lives are poignant; collectively they're depressing.
Which isn't to say there aren't small masterpieces here. Like Valor, about a drunk who saves a busload of kids only to come home and find his wife is leaving him. Or Glass Meadow, a marvelous depiction of what it feels like to be a twelve year old boy, wrapped in a story that's funny and sad and tender and true. Or The Person I Have Mostly Become, about the futility of good intentions, one of the saddest stories you'll ever read.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 12, 2003
Format: Hardcover
A Comparative Feel -Good Book
Say you had a bad day, lost a pet, found out a friend has cancer, and you needed to forget your sorrows, so you go to the local soup kitchen and volunteer for an evening. After four hours of serving food to luckless people on the hind end of life or drugs or circumstance, you feel better, in comparison.
This is the dubious charm of Richard Bausch's anthology, The Stories of Richard Bausch.
He has been called "a master of the short story" in the New York Times Book Review, and this anthology underscores the truth of that. It includes 42 jewel cut stories that could make most writers cry with envy of Bausch's craft. Character development is the core strength of the stories, his simple clear piling on of spare words that imprint a character's appearance, morality, intellect and even smell into the reader's brain. It is a most intimate experience to meet a Richard Bausch character, because you are not reading at arm's length. Rather, his talent for character realization is so great that the hopeless, untalented, unlucky brutes are sitting in your lap, lying by your side, holding your hand as you read.
Yet, who wants to hold hands with these characters? Even the so-called "happy" stories are grounded in characters so flawed or damaged, that you want to give them a bottle of Prozac and run away. In fact, though the stories are told in the first person, the characters' lack of self-awareness is appalling. This is true of all the characters, from two boys being dragged around the country by self-absorbed amoral parents, to an upper middle class oaf who strives to be a good golfer and takes his obsession to a painful end, that somehow charms an abused woman into a relationship with him. This is the closest Bausch comes to a happy ending.
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