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Winesburg, Ohio (Forgotten Books) Paperback – October 16, 2008
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From School Library Journal
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
It is obvious that the writer loves these people, and is frustrated at the isolation and unhappiness of their lives, even though he makes it clear that they hold within themselves everything needed to make them happy. The character in the first story is a dying old writer who is attempting to write about all the people he has known as a "book of grotesques". What follows is the collection of stories, which each character fulfilling that expectation.
There are the young lovers who don't quite connect; there is a old man so obsessed with religious fervor that he attempts to sacrifice his grandson; there is a married man who regrets it all and tries to warn a younger man of future unhappiness; there's a doctor and a sick woman who try to connect. The book is full of people who toil all their lives and never achieve happiness. As I made my way through the book I kept hoping that even one of the characters would rise above the morass. It didn't happen.
The writer has a wonderful sense of place and the town of Winesburg in the early part of the 20th Century is very real. These people were not poor or disadvantaged in the usual sense of the word; they didn't suffer fire, floods or famine. Instead, they trapped themselves in their own psychological webs that made it impossible for them to lead anything but sad unfulfilled lives. This is a fine book and stands alone as a clear voice of its time.
I did not get past the introduction before I uncovered a recommendation that reinforced the others. Sherwood Anderson was a mentor to both Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner, no small matter in itself. The not very fictional town of Winesburg, Ohio is based on the very real town of Clyde, Ohio, wherever that is. It proves to be located not that far off the shores of Lake Erie, between Cleveland and Toledo. Clyde still has only around 6,000 people, and their website promotes the virtues of small town living. But where is their most famous writer? You have to "drill down" two levels in their website, to find a brief, two sentence mention of the writer who literally "put them on the map." They'd rather talk about their Civil War General, James McPherson, or the Whirlpool plant. So, perhaps the ultimate endorsement: he had told too much about them, a realistic assessment of the town that jars with the "pro-business" image the website promotes, and thus numerous folks today are still not fond of him.
The book itself is composed of 24 short stories; many of them could be "stand alone" in their excellence.Read more ›
The book inside is more akin to a Hopper painting than a Degas. Anderson manages an amazing level of character development within the short stories. The stories themselves work independently, but also work together to tell the story of an American Midwestern town. And the feeling one is left with is that everything you have read is essentially and authentically American.
To comment on the Kindle version specifically, it seems well formatted to this reader. I've noticed a typo here and there, but nothing glaring, and nothing that distracts from the experience of reading the book.
This novel is really a collection of loosely interrelated short stories, or perhaps even a series of character sketches, but so what? The value here is in the individual images and insights that Anderson provides, not in any emergent "plot."
The glimpses into the inner lives of ordinary Americans and the fine descriptions of place, mood, and events that Anderson provides in this work still speak to some readers, at least, today. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a wonderful exposition of the underbelly of the human condition. With intense honesty and realism, Anderson creates characters who reflect the more painful side of life,... Read morePublished 7 days ago by Richard
I can see why Ray Bradbury considered this classic collection of stories, based on Sherwood Anderson's years in the small midwestern town of Clyde, Ohio, to be the primary... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Neil R. Hughes
A great series of somewhat interconnected stories about the residents of a small town. The events in this book are small and the pace is slow, it's mainly ruminations about how... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Scott Gray
Writers varying from Henry Miller to John Steinbeck to Ernest Hemingway all highly praised this book. They weren't wrong. Read morePublished 3 months ago by just a dude
I found Anderson's writing style to be somewhat confusing. He would start with one character pov, and then suddenly switch (and no, I do not consider that a plot twist). Read morePublished 4 months ago by Cattleman
My opinion is jaded as I have been a northern Ohio resident for 39 years. I enjoyed hearing about places that I've been to. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Jacob