Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Thirteen Great Stories/various authors/256 pp.

I'll be the sacrificial lamb and write the first review...
I'm almost finished with this compilation of short stories "by 13 master storytellers"; I've started the last story in the book, "The Morning Watch" by James Agee. By the way, this book was "remaindered" from the MULSA book sale!

The anthology includes stories by Saul Bellow, James Joyce and F. Scott Fitzgerald, but also includes work by lesser-known artists like Felipe Alfau of Spain, Luigi Pirandello of Italy, and Isaak Babel of Ukraine. Most of the stories were written in the 1930s-1950s, and the book was published in 1955. The stories are truly representative of their time; two stories written by American authors deal with changing racial relationships in the Deep South, and Babel's work details the life of the Soviet worker during the early days of the Soviet Union. (Interestingly, although Babel himself was an "enthusiastic Communist", according to Wikipedia, he was killed during Stalin's purges in the 1930s.)

Here's a full list of the stories (and authors) included in this collection: "The Beggar", by Felipe Alfau; "Looking for Mr. Green", by Saul Bellow; "The Jar", by Luigi Pirandello; "Hook", by Walter van Tilburg Clark; "The Downward Path to Wisdom", by Katherine Anne Porter"; "The World's Fair", by F. Scott Fitzgerald; "Two Gallants", by James Joyce; "The White Rooster", by William Goyen; "The Bath of Death", by Joaquin Arderius; "And I Am Black, But O! My Soul Is White", by Peggy Bennett, "Benya Krik, the Gangster", by Isaak Babel; "The Eye", by J.F. Powers; and "The Morning Watch", by James Agee.