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Our Story Begins: New and Selected Stories Paperback – April 7, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
These are not stories that forces the reader to dig deep for symbolism and didacticism. Each is accessible, but each also presents a universal truth that somehow, someway, burrows its way straight into the reader's own mind and heart. This reader kept pausing and thinking, "But how did he KNOW that? How an he possibly be so empathetic and get it so darn RIGHT?"
There's the at-loose-ends professor with a one hopeful chance, who finally finds the courage to give back as much as is dished out to her. The hunters in the snow who stand up to a bully. The American in Rome who feels a strange connection with the gypsy who picked his pocket. A night in question, where filial connections are explored. A first love that never stops haunting the now successful man.
Many of these stories are ordinary occurrences that rise to the extraordinary. Many involve regular folks who gain the authenticity to truly become themselves...or to discover the meaning behind their lives and their actions. I know I will not soon forget many of these characters, who in ten or fifteen pages, solidly come to life.
For anyone who wants to explore the human condition -- our cowardice, our selfishness, our dreams, our connectiveness -- I urge you to read Tobias Wolff. He's the real thing.
Mr.Read more ›
So every time I end one of the brilliant stories in this collection I think: "How does Mr Wolff do it, how can he make such masterly stories with the help of such a clean-cut choice of words and terms? And conversations and settings?
But then I give it up; Tim O'Brien is right: this phenomenon cannot be explained. And I? I simply go on reading these great stories."
Never before have I come across a prominent writer who was publishing new stories and simultaneously re-editing previously published works. Revising already published work struck me as going overboard on perfectionism, and I questioned the appropriateness of tampering with what was already printed for a wide audience.
Personally, I appreciate an artist's early works (with whatever "flaws"). They serve a valuable function by allowing new writers and serious readers the opportunity to follow the growth of a favorite writer. Original works are part of the process of publishing and they should be preserved rather than altered in light of the writer's heightened skills. For most readers this probably makes no difference, but personally, I hope it doesn't become common practice. Sharing that information at the opening of this volume demonstates both respect for readers and admirable ethics.
Wolff has the uncanny ability to slip inside the heads of his characters and weave dialogue, traits, and surroundings that feels so authentic that the reader accepts his fictional beings as real people. The wide range of settings and situations from which his stories spring distinguishes him among modern short story writers. In addition, the sensitivity with which he draws both male and female characters is unique. It is remarkable how he intuits female emotional triggers so accurately.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Love this book! Each short story is full of rich flavor that has a surprise in the middle !Published 7 days ago by Susan lewis
read this for our book club and had so many good discussions about these short stories.Published 1 month ago by jcdjcd
Normally I like stories to have a clear ending, not leave me with questions. However this is the first book where many of the short stories left me hanging and I thoroughly enjoyed... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Ada Castle
It took a while to finish this book, but not because it wasn't compelling. In my quest to read as many short stories as I can, in hopes of improving my own, I'm glad I found and... Read morePublished 6 months ago by P. Laster
Amazing collection; I cared about each character, cared what happened to them. I particularly liked the way the author concluded each story line. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Groucho
Tobias Wolff is one of the finest authors of Short Fiction alive. This is an exceptional collection and well worth your quality time to enjoy - over and over again.Published 12 months ago by Jack in Charlotte
Tobias Wolf gives such an intense, in-depth look into characters, astoundng us with possible motives for their behavior. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Marie D. Reid
Very well written short stories that tend to dark and somewhat odd themes.Published 16 months ago by John Tait
The stories are very "down to earth" and "accessible," but readers will learn quickly that Wolff has important themes operating (often humorously) that ought to be... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Joseph Dupras