Forty Stories

Forty Stories

Book - 1987
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Publisher: New York : Putnam, [1987]
Copyright Date: ©1987
Branch Call Number: FICTION BARTH
Alternative Title: 40 stories

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lukasevansherman
Nov 18, 2013

Dave Eggers writes an unbearable introduction for this collection, but it's totally fitting as this is basically ground zero for the McSweeney's (and George Saunders) house style: deeply ironic, po-mo and slightly absurd. Barthleme did it first and did it better, without the twee-ness and self-consciousness that mars the work of his successors. This is post-modern writing at its most playful and witty, with stories about Goethe, Paul Klee, armadillos and Bluebeard. "Sentence" is exactly that: a story made up of a single sentence. "Conversations with Goethe," "Porcupines at the University" and "Some Of Us Had Been Threatening Our Friend Colby," in which a co-worker is hanged, could be published today and would not seem dated at all. A master.

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