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The Art of the Story


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Table of Contents

The Art of the StoryPreface

Ama Ata Aidoo, Ghana
A Gift from Somewhere
Hanan Al-Shaykh, Lebanon
The Keeper of the Virgins
Julia Alvarez, United States
Amor Divino
Martin Amis, England
The Immortals
Reinaldo Arenas, Cuba
The Glass Tower
Margaret Atwood, Canada
Wilderness Tips
Toni Cade Bambara, United States
Gorilla, My Love
Russell Banks, United States
My Mother's Memoirs, My Father's Lie, and Other True Stories
Nicola Barker, England
Julian Barnes, England
Richard Bausch, United States
Aren't You Happy for Me?
Ann Beattie, United States
In Amalfi
T. Coraghessan Boyle, United States
Rara Avis
Robert Olen Butler, United States
Mr. Green
Peter Carey, Australia
The Fat Man in History
Angela Carter, England
The Courtship of Mr. Lyon
Raymond Carver, United States
Are These Actual Miles?
Patrick Chamoiseau, Martinique
The Old Man Slave and the Mastiff
Vikram Chandra, India
Sandra Cisneros, United States
Never Marry a Mexican
Jim Crace, England
The Prospect from the Silver Hills
Edwidge Danticat, Haiti
Night Women
Lydia Davis, United States
The House Behind
Daniele del Giudice, Italy
All Because of the Mistake
Junot Diaz, Dominican Republic
Patricia Duncker, England
Duong Thu Huong, Vietnam
Reflections of Spring
Deborah Eisenberg, United States
The Girl Who Left Her Sock on the Floor
Nathan Englander, United States
The Twenty-seventh Man
Victor Erofeyev, Russia
The Parakeet
Peter Esterhazy, Hungary
Roberto Narrates
Nuruddin Farah, Somalia
My Father, The Englishman, and I
Richard Ford, United States
Eduardo Galeano, Uruguay
The Story of the Lizard Who Had the Habit of Dining on His Wives
Herve Guibert, France
The Hammam
Abdulrazak Gurnah, Tanzania
Barry Hannah, United States
Midnight and I'm Not Famous Yet
Peter Hoeg, Denmark
Portrait of the Avant-Garde
Pawel Huelle, Poland
Moving House
Kazuo Ishiguro, England
A Family Supper
Roy Jacobsen, Norway
Edward P. Jones, United States
The First Day
James Kelman, Scotland
Remember Young Cecil
Hanif Kureishi, England
Torgny Lindgren, Sweden
The Stump-Grubber
Bobbie Ann Mason, United States
Colum McCann, Ireland
Everything in This Country Must
Ian McEwan, Wales
Steven Millhauser, United States
Behind the Blue Curtain
Lorrie Moore, United States
Mary Morris, United States
The Lifeguard
Mohammed Mrabet, Morocco
The Canebrake
Bharati Mukherjee, India
The Management of Grief
Murathan Mungan, Turkey
Muradhan and Selvihan or The Tale of the Crystal Kiosk
Haruki Murakami, Japan
The Elephant Vanishes
Joyce Carol Oates, United States
Mark of Satan
Ben Okri, Nigeria
In the Shadow of War
Amos Oz, Israel
Where the Jackals Howl
Victor Pelevin, Russia
The Life and Adventures of Shed Number XII
Francine Prose, United States
Talking Dog
Salman Rushdie, England
The Free Radio
Ken Saro-Wiwa, Nigeria
Africa Kills Her Sun
Ingo Schulze, Germany
The Ring
Graham Swift, England
Learning to Swim
Antonio Tabucchi, Italy
A Riddle
Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Kenya
Minutes of Glory
Tatyana Tolstaya, Russia
On the Golden Porch
Rose Tremain, England
Luisa Valenzuela, Argentina
Who, Me a Bum?
Edmund White, United States
Cinnamon Skin
Zoe Wicomb, South Africa
You Can't Get Lost in Cape Town
John Edgar Wideman, United States
Doc's Story
Joy Williams, United States
The Farm
Jeanne Wilmot, United States
Dirt Angel
Jeanette Winterson, England
The Green Man
Tobias Wolff, United States
The Night in Question
Can Xue, China
The Child Who Raised Poisonous Snakes
Banana Yoshimoto, Japan
Biographical Notes

About the Author

Daniel Halpern is the author of eight collections of poetry, and has received numerous grants and awards (including fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as the 1993 PEN Publisher Citation). For twenty-five years he edited the literary magazine Antaeus. He is currently Editorial Director of The Ecco Press/HarperCollins and divides his time between Princeton, New Jersey and New York City.


A decade after Halpern's Art of the Tale anthology comes a hefty companion volume, this one collecting 78 international, contemporary authors, those born between 1938 and 1970. The new book elegantly shrugs off the dictates of political and cultural theorists to answer the demands of literary aesthetics. Yet the stories represented here, written by authors from 35 countries, are rife with honest social commentary: Haruki Murakami's suburban fantasy "The Elephant Vanishes" is told by a bourgeois Japanese man living outside Tokyo; the characters in Bobbie Ann Mason's "Wish" are poor tobacco farmers with crocheted pillows, sour stomachs and dirt yards; "Escort" by Abdulrazak Gurnah tells of a Tanzanian who returns briefly from England, where he is a teacher and a scholar of poetry, and becomes unwillingly involved with his taxi driver, a meticulously evil lapsed Muslim named Salim. The philosophy guiding Halpern's choices, as he points out in a refreshingly brief introduction, is that contemporary authors, unlike the early moderns collected in his previous anthology, are essentially reactionary: they respond conservatively, critically and satirically to the effluvia of current popular media. Though claiming to be an international selection, the majority of these stories were written in English, and many are by the usual suspects for such a collection: Lorrie Moore, Joyce Carol Oates, Julian Barnes, Martin Amis, T.C. Boyle, Raymond Carver. The international scene is represented by well-known writers-in-translation like Banana Yoshimoto, Patrick Chamoiseau and Peter Esterhazy, along with some distinguished voices not yet discovered by mainstream American readers. Halpern selected these stories with great intelligence and zero trendiness, and the anthology is a true pleasure at every turn. (Nov.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

This carefully chosen collection features 78 writers from 35 countries, all born between 1938 and 1970. Many of them will be familiar, like Margaret Atwood and Salman Rushdie, but many will be new to readersÄHanif Kureishi, Torgny Lindgren, and Ben Okri, to name a few. Halpern has included short biographical notes on all of the authors following the text. The quality of the stories is consistently high, proving that the short story is very much alive and that it is still a powerful form of writing. Halpern is also the editor of The Art of the Tale and the author of eight poetry collections. This new collection is an ideal purchase for anyone looking for an extraordinary book of short stories that is truly global. An important volume for public and academic libraries.ÄLisa Rohrbaugh, East Palestine Memorial P.L., OH Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

"A grand convocation of writers from across the globe - middle-aged and young, famous and obscure."

"One of the best primers to appear in years . . . Running the gamut from high farce to domestic realism, these tales celebrate the artistic liveliness of short fiction today."

-Boston Phoenix

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