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 mobile phone number.

Stories in the Worst Way

4.0 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0970942807
ISBN-10: 097094280X
Why is ISBN important?
ISBN
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
7 New from $11.36 22 Used from $3.86
Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Prime Student Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

The Underground Railroad
The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more
click to open popover

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Not bad stories, whatever the title. Rather, Gary Lutz's debut collection shimmers with a spare, elegant prose and a witty sensibility rare for such a young writer. Each story flashes by so quickly it's difficult to get your bearings before its gone and the next is thrust upon you. Even the sentences barely pause for breath: "I was a flask shaped man in a velour shirt sitting at long lunchroom tables in business schools, cosmetology schools, junior colleges, community colleges." --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Postmodern in tone and structure, the 36 short stories collected in this debut by Lutz are unremittingly grim, pretentious and oblique. More character studies than narratives, the pieces involve unsavory, self-hating characters: an antisocial college professor with an unfortunate bowel condition ("Slops"); an obsessive, gay office drone who spends his days secretly harassing his female co-workers ("Certain Riddances"); another gay man whose random promiscuity masks a deeper loneliness ("SMTWTFS"). The narratives themselves are static, if vivid, portraits. In "Waking Hours," a gay, divorced man with a dull new job instructing middle-management types on "how to bestow awards on undeserving employees" describes himself as "self-devastated," and goes on to prove it: he has a strained meal with the "mothered-down version" of his young son; he believes that check-out clerks at the supermarket might truly understand him through eye-contact; he pays attention to?and mimics?every noise his fellow tenants make in his apartment building. In a grotesque, misogynist fable, "The Pavilion," a man devises "a new angle on how to start a family," which essentially turns out to be hiring a woman, getting her pregnant and then, before an audience, pulling out her teeth and tongue while she gives birth. In spite of Lutz's flair with an airlessly ironic wit and occasional clever wordplay (an office worker's "extracubicular life"), these stories, all too unoriginally, live up to the collection's title.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 170 pages
  • Publisher: 3rd Bed Books (September 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 097094280X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0970942807
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,643,261 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Susan Sontag speaks of the need for getting back to the
sensous surface of art, to see what stories provide that
fascinates in and of themselves. Gary Lutz is one of the few writers who actually gets there. His
stories are sinuous, the sentences tightly wound, words
spilling out in ways we don't expect.

Lutz' stories cut
right through to the heart of what makes us what we are.
Rather than dilemmas and big tragedies and conflicts, the
situations of these characters consist of the daily, little
human hang-ups we all have: "If I have a problem, it is
this: there is a story in which everything costs a dollar."

These little hang-ups add up to large blots on
the self, to full blown obsessions and compulsions.
In his scrutiny of the family and of the social rituals
that we use to bind our lives together, Lutz can be both
funny and merciless, calmy telling us, for instance, that
"The wedding was curt and almost entirely without result."
It is the movement between the humorous and the disturbed,
the ability to show the dark and light faces of the same
situation, that gives Lutz his strength.

A funny and disturbing book, Lutz's Stories in the Worst
Way is an auspicious debut.

-- Brian Evenson (evenson@osuunx.ucc.okstate.edu)
Comment 13 people found this helpful. 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
Format: Hardcover
Lutz is a master wordsmith. He is Pablo Neruda chained to a wall, injected with heroin and winched in hard between American culture and a hard place. He is Sherwood Anderson nauseated by time travel. He is Thomas Pyncheon finally equipped with the brevity in the soul of wit. He is Kurt Vonnegut leaking sad little pools of schadenfreude.
The sad reverberations of his comedy and the comic undertones of his tragedy are so subtly realized that his grace may escape you if let it. Don't let it . The ghosts of our discontent orbit through his stories with dismal whimsy. It's the best collection of short stories of the last half century. Lutz can do in three paragraphs what it takes others a novel to accomplish.
Extraordinary writer, haunting book.
1 Comment 16 people found this helpful. 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
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a kind of master class in the art of sentence-writing, this book is remarkable. Gary Lutz is of the Gordon Lish school of writing that values voice, sentence-level inventiveness, and elliptical effects above all else. A few years back, The Believer published a transcription of a brilliant lecture Lutz gave, "The Sentence Is a Lonely Place." In it, he dissects with charming passion what he values most in prose, and the compact yet seemingly infinite space of a sentence can contain all that thrills him. He encourages practices like verbing nouns, adverbing nouns, coining new words (often onomatopoeic), adding all manner of -ic, -ish, -y, etc. to the ends of words, as well as chasing after an epigrammatic, "summational" effect in each sentence, so that within a story every sentence might almost seem to have the finality of, well, the final sentence.

The problem with this collection of not-quite-forty stories--the longest of which is ten pages, many of them only one or two--is that, time and time again, Gary out-Lutzes himself. Those techniques he offers in "The Sentence Is a Lonely Place" for enlivening sentences are present in most every sentence here--he certainly practices what he preaches--but after a while, it begins to seem less witty or inventive than programmatic. With every sentence striving for firework status, the paragraphs (and, by extension, the bizarro stories they construct) come to seem like cramped and joyless spaces, gummed up by all the fussy verbiage.

For instance, a brief, four-sentence paragraph from "Recessional":

"She had a strapping, hoydenish body. She maintained a sunlamped handsomeness. But she was hygienically delinquent.
Read more ›
1 Comment 2 people found this helpful. 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
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
At first the style was off-putting. Gradually Lutz's rhythms insinuated themselves into my brain, like Gertrude Stein's prose sometimes can. Then I began to see actual method in his madness... the sentence structures and the themes reinforce intriguingly.

NOTE TO AMAZON: Please get rid of the ridiculous 'buttons' you require be clicked by reviewers of stories and novels. You make us choose from three characterizations ("predictable" , "some twists" or "full of surprise") that are fairly irrelevant to anything but thrillers and mysteries. I don't enjoy being compelled to evaluate literary fiction as if plot mattered more than everything else. I'm sure you don't mean to express either philistinism, or contempt for those of us who enjoy non-genre fiction, but that's the implicit message
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
Format: Hardcover
This word--I know what it means even though I'm sure it's made-up. That's the kind of edge that Gary Lutz dances on and gleefully. He will surprise a reader with a turn of phrase or a turn of plot or character that elicits a gasp and sometimes also a guffaw. I particularly loved "The Daughter," the last story in the book, where the narrator creates an index about his daughter. "Inconsolably okay, 00" This book is inconsolably underread.
Comment 6 people found this helpful. 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


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?