Our Story Begins: Book summary and reviews of Our Story Begins by Tobias Wolff

Our Story Begins

New and Selected Stories

by Tobias Wolff

Our Story Begins by Tobias Wolff X
Our Story Begins by Tobias Wolff
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2008
    400 pages
    Genre: Short Stories/Essays

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Book Summary

Tobias Wolff’s first two books, In the Garden of the North American Martyrs and Back in the World, were a powerful demonstration of how the short story can “provoke our amazed appreciation,” as The New York Times Book Review wrote then. In the years since, he’s written a third collection, The Night in Question, as well as a pair of genre-defining memoirs (This Boy’s Life and In Pharaoh’s Army), the novella The Barracks Thief, and, most recently, a novel, Old School.

Now he returns with fresh revelations — about biding one’s time, or experiencing first love, or burying one’s mother — that come to a variety of characters in circumstances at once everyday and extraordinary: a retired Marine enrolled in college while her son trains for Iraq, a lawyer taking a difficult deposition, an American in Rome indulging the Gypsy who’s picked his pocket.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Wolff expertly uses irony and empathy to explore facets of contemporary life. " - Publishers Weekly.

"Wolff's alchemy in these stories is oddly and deeply transformative. They inevitably rise above their ostensible subject into some universal terrain. How Wolff achieves this effect is something of a miracle. He manages without a particularly striking prose style. What he has in spades, though, is intelligence, compassion and a radical openness to life's unfathomable surprises." - San Francisco Chronicle.

"Our Story Begins is a hybrid; ten new stories preceded by 21 favorites from Wolff’s three previous collections (including “Mortals”). The dramas here are firmly realist: a hunting accident, a coke binge, a stranger’s charity, a soldier’s boredom. But with a gentle and steady focus, Wolff imbues each with cosmic stakes." - Time Out Chicago.

"Richard Yates, Raymond Carver and Robert Stone are the modern masters whom Wolff most resembles. Like their best work, his own exhibits classic richness and depth, and it's built to last." - Kirkus Reviews.

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Author Information

Tobias Wolff

Tobias Wolff is the author of seven previous books and the editor of The Vintage Book of American Short Stories. Among his honors are the PEN/Malamud Award and the Rea Award, both for excellence in the short story, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the PEN/Faulkner Award. He lives in Northern California and teaches at Stanford University.

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