Essential Stories (Modern Library) Paperback – 27 Jan 2005
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From the Inside Flap
Introduction by JEREMY TREGLOWN
"In his daily walks through London," notes Jeremy Treglown in his Introduction to this collection, "Pritchett watched and listened to people as a naturalist observes wild creatures and birds. He knew that oddity is the norm, not the exception." This finely attuned sense, coupled with an understanding that nothing in life is mundane, is what makes these stories so immensely enjoyable. Drawing on a vast treasure chest of writings, Treglown has selected sixteen of Pritchett's gems, including "A Serious Question," which makes its debut in book form here. Featuring some of the best work from a long career, this new compilation of Pritchett's brilliantly compact stories illuminates his legendary skills.
About the Author
Jeremy Treglown (Introduction) is also the author of Roald Dahl: A Biography and Romancing: The Life and Work of Henry Green, which won the Dictionary of Literary Biography Award. Now a professor of English at the University of Warwick, he was editor of The Times Literary Supplement from 1982 to 1990. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He lives in London.
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Top customer reviews
This book is a collection of wonderful short stories. Here, Pritchett takes the commonplace and turns it into something extraordinary. In lesser hands, many of these stories would be rendered as full length novels, such is the breadth and depth of the worlds he constructs.
Really worth reading.
There are sixteen short stories which take up 223 pages. The author was born in 1900 and started getting work published in the 1920's. Apparently he was a well-known critic as well as a writer of short stories.
Alongside reading this book, I have also been reading Hemingway's "Complete Short Stories of .. " and Katherine Mansfield's "The Collected Stories of .. " (all of which are short stories). The short stories by Pritchett are, for me, far superior to Hemingway's or Mansfield's. To be fair to Hemingway and Mansfield, Pritchett's stories are "selected", so he may well have written less interesting stories; I enjoyed this selection, anyway. I never felt like the author was just filling up the page with words; there's a real story, with a purpose, and some of the endings have got a real punch to them - "The Fall" and "When my girl comes home" were my favourites.
With other 1920's and 1930's writers I often need a dictionary to work out vocabulary, but this author keeps the words relatively simple - he just gets on with an entertaining story.
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