Collected Stories

Collected Stories

4.03 (680 ratings by Goodreads)
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This is the definitive collection of short stories by Saul Bellow. Abundant, precise, various, rich and exuberant, the stories display the stylistic and emotional brilliance which characterises this master of prose. Some stories recount the events of a single day, some are contained in a wider frame; each story is a characteristic combination of observation and a celebration of humanity. This volume contains a preface by his wife, Janis Bellow, and an introduction by James Wood. It is an essential more

Product details

  • Paperback | 464 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 30mm | 324g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 0140292896
  • 9780140292893
  • 1,274,285

Review Text

This new collection from the Nobel prize-winning author gathers together some of his finest short stories of the last 40 years. The introduction describes Bellow as 'with Faulkner, the greatest modern American writer of prose', and each one of these finely crafted pieces more than lives up to that praise. With an economical yet remarkably rich narrative, the author encapsulates within a few pages the essence of human nature, the essence of human experience and the essence of time and place. More often than not, he chooses Chicago as the backdrop for his tales, and here his descriptive powers find their voice: 'in winter, armored in gray ice, the sky low, the going heavy', 'the streets, block after block, bound together by the iron of the sky'. Such powers are evident too in the portraits of his characters, as he distils the substance of their being into one physical trait such as the black, unshaveable cleft in the chin of Zetland. Despite its economy, Bellow's narrative voice is so warm, so lyrical, so intimate, that he seems to be addressing each of his readers personally. This conversational style then gives way to a stream of consciousness as in 'Cousins', for example, where the narrator strings together a string of cameos of what his ex-wife dryly refers to as 'collateral relatives'. Indeed such wit, verging on black comedy, is never far from the author's lips as he describes Woody from 'A Silver Dish' stuffing his Christmas turkey with hashish or gives us the unforgettable image of the 17-year-old narrator of 'Something to Remember Me By' running the icy streets of Chicago in a dress, a prostitute having stolen his clothes, whilst his mother is on her deathbed. It is in this story, too, that we find one of the deeply poignant moments that characterize so many of the human relationships in Bellow's stories: the hapless youth feels a perverse sense of gratitude as his father aims a blow at his head on his return; it means his mother is still alive. (Kirkus UK)show more

Author information

One of the leading North American writers of his generation, Saul Bellow was born in Canada in 1915. His most recent novel, Ravelstein was published to widespread critical acclaim and a renewed appreciation of this great writer. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in more

Rating details

680 ratings
4.03 out of 5 stars
5 33% (225)
4 43% (290)
3 20% (137)
2 3% (23)
1 1% (5)
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