When John Edgar Wideman won the PEN Malamud Award in 2019, he joined a list of esteemed writers—from Eudora Welty to George Saunders—all of whom are acknowledged masters of the short story. Wideman’s commitment to short fiction has been lifelong, and here he gathers a representative selection from throughout his career, stories that “have a wary, brooding spirit, a lonely intelligence…[and] air the problem of consciousness, including the fragile contingency of our existence” (The New York Times).
Wideman’s stories are grounded in the streets and the people of Homewood, the Pittsburgh neighborhood of his childhood, but they range far beyond there, to the small western towns of Wyoming and historic Philadelphia, the contemporary world and the ancient past. He explores the interior lives of his characters, and the external pressures that shape them. These stories are as intellectually intricate as they are rich with the language and character. “Wideman has been compared to William Faulkner and James Baldwin…[these] prove that he is every bit as masterful a cartographer of the American spirit as his forebears" (Esquire).
Comprised of thirty-five stories drawn from past collections (American Histories, Briefs, God’s Gym, All Stories Are True, Fever, and Damballah), and an introductory essay by the National Book Critics Circle board member and scholar Walton Muyumba, this volume of Wideman’s selected stories celebrates the lifelong significance of this major American writer’s essential contribution to a form—illuminating the ways that he has made it his own. “If there were any doubts Wideman belongs to the American canon, this puts them to bed” (Publishers Weekly, starred review).
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|Scribner Book Company
|8.66" l x 5.72" w x 1.49"