Collected Stories (Penguin Classics)

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9780143107255: Collected Stories (Penguin Classics)

A collection of treasured stories by the unchallenged master of American fiction

Nobel Prize winner Saul Bellow has deservedly been celebrated as one of America’s greatest writers. For more than sixty years he stretched our minds, our imaginations, and our hearts with his exhilarating perceptions of life. Here, collected in one volume and chosen by the author himself, are favorites such as “What Kind of Day Did You Have?”, “Leaving the Yellow House,” and a previously uncollected piece, “By the St. Lawrence.” With his larger-than-life characters, irony, wisdom, and unique humor, Bellow presents a sharp, rich, and funny world that is infinitely surprising. With a preface by Janice Bellow and an introduction by James Wood, this is a collection to treasure for longtime Saul Bellow fans and an excellent introduction for new readers.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

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Review:

Saul Bellow's Collected Stories, handpicked by the author, display the depth of character and acumen of the Nobel laureate's narrative powers. While he has garnered acclaim as a novelist, Bellow's shorter works prove equally strong. Primarily set in a sepia-toned Chicago, characters (mostly men) deal with family issues, desires, memories, and failings--often arriving at humorous if not comic situations. In the process, these quirky and wholly real characters examine human nature.

The narrative is straightforward, with deftly handled shifts in time, and the prose is concise, sometimes pithy, with equal parts humor and grace. In "Looking for Mr. Green," Bellow describes a relief worker sized up by tenants: "They must have realized that he was not a college boy employed afternoons by a bill collector, trying foxily to pass for a relief clerk, recognized that he was an older man who knew himself what need was, who had more than an average seasoning in hardship. It was evident enough if you looked at the marks under his eyes and at the sides of his mouth." This collection should appeal both to those familiar with Bellow's work and to those seeking an introduction. --Michael Ferch

About the Author:

Saul Bellow (1915–2005) was the author of nearly twenty works of literature, including Seize the Day, The Adventures of Augie March, The Victim, Herzog, and Humboldt’s Gift. He taught at the University of Chicago and Boston University.

Janis Bellow teaches literature at Tufts University. She was married to Saul Bellow from 1989 until his death in 2005. She spends as much time as possible in Vermont, where she lives for several months each year with her daughter, Rosie.

James Wood is a staff writer at the New Yorker, a visiting lecturer at Harvard University, and the author of the national bestseller How Fiction Works and a novel, The Book against God. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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