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Flying to America

45 More Stories

List Price: $17.95

March 13, 2018 | Paperback | 5.5 x 8.2, 352 pages | ISBN 9781619029996
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“Barthleme may have been radical in his time, but he’s perfectly suited to our own.” —Houston Chronicle

One of the most influential and inventive writers of the twentieth century, Donald Barthelme wrote novels, short stories, parodies, plays, satires, fables, and essays that captured the good, the bad, but most of all the strange of America. With Barthelme, strange may come both in the tale and in the form, but however it appears, Barthelme has tooled the absurd so that is rings true. As observed by Thomas Pynchon (who coined the term Barthelmismo), Barthelme’s work conveys something of “the clarity and sweep, the intensity of emotion, the transcendent weirdness of the primary experience.”

Flying to America, first published in 2007, presents all of Barthelme’s previously unpublished and uncollected short fiction. For both devotees and those new to Barthelme’s playful irreverence, erudition, and unmatched imagination, this unprecedented survey offers up a rare and wonderful treat.

About The Authors

DONALD BARTHELME was a writer and critic, a National Book Award recipient, a director of PEN and the Authors Guild, a member of the American Academy and the Institute of Arts and Letters, and a founder of the renowned University of Houston Creative Writing Program. He was the author of more than fifteen published books, including City Life, one of Time's Best Books of the Year, and Sixty Stories, which was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Even after his death in 1989, Barthelme's contributions to the world of American letters remain unparalleled.

KIM HERZINGER is a critic who writes on minimalism and other contemporary literary phenomena, a Pushcart Prize-winning writer of fiction, and the editor of two other Donald Barthelme collections, Not-Knowing and The Teachings of Don B. He taught at the University of Southern Mississippi and now owns and operates Left Bank Books in New York City.

Praise for Flying to America

"It is possible . . . to trace [in Flying to America] the author's development from an early postmodern baroque . . . to the fragmentary, almost minimalist style of his late-'60s and early-'70s prime." --Los Angeles Times

"Flying to America's Barthelmanian treasures: three previously unpublished stories, one of which he was working on at his death; his first published story (1959); the winning entry of a contest in which the author asked readers to finish a story of which he'd written the first three paragraphs; and a bunch of masterful work from The New Yorker . . . some of these stories--'Flying to America, ' 'Three, ' 'Tickets'--were among his very best." --New York Magazine

"Donald Barthelme . . . creates a crowd of characters whose struggle 'ill-advised' optimism and struggle for meaning mirror his own life's effort." --Chicago Tribune

"Barthelme's legacy resides as much in his sensibility as in the stories themselves. His style melded the personal and the political with reams of detailed book learning. It's likely a combination of those elements--the confessional, polemical and esoteric (I quiver to think what Barthelme would have done with the Internet)--that people are responding to in his work today. He may have been radical in his time, but he's perfectly suited to our own." --Houston Chronicle

"Barthelme's collection arrives like a wondrous jewel unearthed." --Literary Journal

"Most of these stories have the signature style that made Barthelme as pervasive through the '60s as Peter Max--the dialogue that never quite connects, as if two people are talking past each other, the non sequiturs that suggest that literary cause-and-effect is merely artifice, an exercise in absurdity . . . There is the first story that he ever published, using a pseudonym ('Pages from the Annual Report'), and the last that he published in the New Yorker ('Tickets') just months before his 1989 death." --Kirkus Reviews

"Along with Kurt Vonnegut, Barthelme (1931-1989) was one of the great 20th-century American absurdists . . . Barthelme's funhouse mirrors reflect the world's tragicomic essence." --Publishers Weekly

Praise for Donald Barthelme

"Donald barthelme almost single-handedly has revived the genre of the short story and made it into a fresh art form... He can, and does, write stories of every kind." --People

"Probably the most perversely gifted writer in the United States." --Life

"Among the leading innovative writers of modern fiction." --New York Times

"The delight he offers readers is beyond question; his individuality is unmatched." --Los Angeles Times

"Alongside Raymond Carver, the most emulated short story writer in America." --Chris Power, The Guardian

"A sophisticated entertainer and an elegant stylist...There are New Yorker captions which would look at home in Barthelme's dialogue, just as there are lines in his stories which the cartoonists might envy." --Patrick Parrinder, London Review of Books

"Barthelme's fiction is affected, weightless, utterly original. One wouldn't have it any other way." --Arizona Republic

"Every sentence I read makes me want to stop and write something of my own. He fires all of my synapses and connects them in new ways. He sends a herd of wildebeest through my mind. It's a whole jungle full of animals, really, every color and shape, and he sends them scurrying all over my brain, screaming, defecating, fornicating." --Dave Eggers, author of The Circle

"One of the great citizens of contemporary world letters." --Robert Coover, author of Going for a Beer

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