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On With the Story -- Stories

Barth, John

188 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0316083593 / ISBN 13: 9780316083591
Published by Back Bay Books, Boston, 1997
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From Books First (Washington, DC, U.S.A.)

AbeBooks Seller Since November 18, 1998 Seller Rating 4-star rating

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About this Item

Originally published in hardcover by Little Brown, 1996. This is the first Back Bay paperback edition, second printing (number line starts with "2"), 1997. Stories by John Barth, inscribed "T0 ---- , Cheers, John Barth." PB is in Fine condition, protected with maylar cover. No DJ as issued. 257 pages. Scarce, especially signed. Bookseller Inventory # 140438

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Bibliographic Details

Title: On With the Story -- Stories

Publisher: Back Bay Books, Boston

Publication Date: 1997

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: No Jacket

Signed: Inscribed by Author(s)

Edition: First Back Bay Books PB edition

About this title


Using the venerable literary device of the bedtime story, which links fictions as different as The Arabian Nights and Charlotte's Web, John Barth ingeniously interweaves stories from an ongoing, high-spirited but deadly serious nocturnal game of tale-telling by a more or less desperate loving couple vacationing at their "last resort". As Scheherazade spun out her bedtime stories to save her life, the narrator of On with the Story spins out his to postpone The End, and to explore en route - wittily, mournfully, tenderly - love in modern life and postmodern literature. As the narrative cycles through the lifescapes of his subjects' stories, Barth affords a view both panoramic and microscopic of our own landscape. With eye and pen both sharp and beautiful he depicts love ranging from the obsessively puppy through the sophisticatedly fatigued, the delusionally murderous, even the quantum-physical, to the superbly fulfilled.


John Barth has the paradoxical ability to turn literature on its head in a post-modern sense at the same time he employs a tour-de-force of traditional literary devices. In On with the Story, he tells a story within a story within a collection of short stories. To wit, an affluent and sophisticated retirement age couple is on vacation when the woman receives terrible news about her husband. Is he dying of cancer? Or is that another story? Have they faced death or have they not? With Barth, only the reader can say for sure, having engaged in an experience as unique as it is fascinating.

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