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The Stories of David Leavitt Paperback – 3 Oct 2005


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Product details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (3 Oct. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747574030
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747574033
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 3.4 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 723,553 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

‘An astonishing collection ... tender, funny, eloquent and wise’ -- New York Times

‘Leavitt ranks among the best short-story writers working today’ -- Houston Post

‘The emotionally engaging stories in this collection merit several readings and re-readings’ -- Boston Globe

About the Author

David Leavitt is the author of several novels including The Lost Language of Cranes and The Body of Jonah Boyd, three story collections and Florence, A Delicate Case, from Bloomsbury's series The Writer and the City. He lives in Gainesville and teaches at the University of Florida.

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Format: Paperback
I think I came to David Leavitt by accident. I was transfixed by a television adaptation of The Lost Language of Cranes which appeared in 1991 and which was set in a tower block in England – so I assumed he was English, and gay. It was a surprise, reading Equal Affections, to find he was American, but even so, I assumed some kind of transatlantic background.
It was a surprise, coming to this compilation of his short stories, to realise how deeply rooted he is in Jewish upper middle class educated US academia – the kind of person who borrows his friends’ Tuscan villas and knows people who are doing post graduate work in renaissance artists.

Many of the characters are drifting, overgrown students who have never quite matured into ordinary life and who then are flung prematurely into a half life of death and fear by the prospect of AIDS in the 1980s. They have time to reflect on their mothers, their friendships, their lost relationships.

But Leavitt has certainly seen the inside of cancer wards and AIDS hospices. He has stared death in the face. His response is described in Wikipedia as literary minimalism – he sticks to the surface. His characters seem ordinary yet strangely distanced from their lives as though we are seeing them submerged. There are strange reminders of the small child in Lost Language of Cranes seeking to understand the world through the peculiar signals sent by the movements of the cranes – because nothing is quite directly received or quite directly makes sense. There is dislocation, potential failure, a vivid, elegiac sense of loss of life.

Despite the fundamentally unsatisfactory nature of Leavitt, then, as a witness of any kind of extraordinary or ordinary life, his stories have a peculiar addictive quality, inviting you to make pictures.
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Great Stories. Love it ..........
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