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Our Story Begins
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About the Author

Tobias Wolff lives in Northern California and teaches at Stanford University. He has received the Rea Award for excellence in the short story, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the PEN/Faulkner Award.

Reviews

Wolff's first story collection, In the Garden of the North American Martyrs (1981), was a major salvo in the short story renaissance that included Raymond Carver. The 10 spare, elegant new stories here, collected with 21 stories from Wolff's three previous collections, are as good as anything Wolff has done. In most, there is a moment of realization, less a startling epiphany than a distant, gradual ache of understanding, that changes how the character looks at the world. The retired, 41-year-old female Marine of "A Mature Student," compares her female professor's experiences in Communist-era Prague and her own son's service in Iraq. "Deep Kiss" movingly chronicles the fractious results when a teenaged boy, infatuated with a promiscuous classmate, neglects to bond with his dying father. A hilarious description of a brash, ignorant thug in "Her Dog" shows Wolff's gift for demotic speech. In an author's note, Wolff says that since he has never considered any of his stories "sacred texts," he has edited some "clumsy or superfluous" passages in earlier works. In all the stories, Wolff expertly uses irony and empathy to explore facets of contemporary life. (Mar.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Ten new stories with ordinary folks in extraordinary circumstances, from the retired marine in college to the pickpocketed American in Rome. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

"Unforgettable.... Wolff's voice is unfailingly authentic, while his embrace of the variety of American experience is knowing, forgiving and all-encompassing." --The New York Times Book Review"A volume that belongs on everybody's shelf. . . . Wolff conjures stories that etch your memory--which is to say, they become a part of you." --Los Angeles Times Book Review"It's impossible to read Tobias Wolff and not come away transformed. . . . [He] fully exposes the good, bad, and ugly about what it means to be alive in this day and age."--The Philadelphia Inquirer"Tender, dazzling, heart-stopping fiction from a master of deep truths and unexpected turns. . . . Intensely pleasurable." --O, The Oprah Magazine "The complexity of emotion [he] evokes within the space of a few pages, from hilarity to heartbreak, is often nothing short of astonishing." --Rocky Mountain News"Sublime art. . . . Wolff's alchemy in these stories is oddly and deeply transformative. They inevitably rise above their ostensible subject into some universal terrain [with] intelligence, compassion and a radical openness to life's unfathomable surprises." --San Francisco Chronicle"Cause for celebration. . . . There's no one else practicing the form with as much warm devotion or cool mastery." --The Washington Post"Wolff is a superb storyteller who makes almost anything he touches ring true." --Newsweek "For thirty years Wolff has been publishing stories that feel yanked from the jagged mouth of real experience and turned into art...The entire moral crux of life pivots on an instant...These stories remind a reader how powerful and important good stories are, especially ones that look unblinkingly into our wicked, yearning hearts." --John Freeman, Sunday Star-Ledger"Adept short stories-whole worlds evoked in just a few pages-[with] the heft and density, the unexpected beauty, of Alice Munro, of Chekhov." --Lisa Jennifer Selzman, Houston Chronicle "Wolff reminds us again and again why we still return to fiction for what we need to know about how people live their lives." --Daniel Torday, Esquire "Restrained, droll, and nearly flawless in structure, Tobias Wolff's keen-edged stories often concern confused folks who want to do the right thing, or at least find a way to allow themselves to believe that they're doing the fith thing...Ten of [these] stories are new, and they're more accomplished than ever." --Karen Karbo, Entertainment Weekly, (Grade A)"[Tobias Wolff] writes with the exacting precision of a bombmaker. With steady hands and sinister ambitions, he crafts his best fictions in miniature, detonating his characters' lives in the time it takes to read a paragraph, crafting tales that turn on a single, diabolical sentence...Wolff's stories are filled with such distillations of intense, life-altering moments, and Our Story Begins presents the best examples from his past quarter century of writing." --Joe Woodward, Poets & Writers"Wolff dexterously probes, in immaculately clear prose, the core of ordinary people's passions and vulnerabilities." --Brad Hooper, Booklist"[Our Story Begins] exhibits classic richness and depth, and it's built to last...An impressive range of contemporary experience is distilled into crisp, urgent little dramas." --Kirkus Reviews

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