“Barthelme . . . happens to be one of a handful of American authors, there to make us look bad, who know instinctively how to stash the merchandise, bamboozle the inspectors, and smuggle their nocturnal contraband right on past the checkpoints of daylight ‘reality.'” —Thomas Pynchon, from the Introduction
Sixty-three rare or previously uncollected works by a master of the American short story form
*A hypothetical episode of Batman hilariously slowed down to soap-opera speed.
*A game of baseball as played by T. S. Eliot and Willem “Big Bull” de Kooning.
*A recipe for feeding sixty pork-sotted celebrants at your daughter’s wedding.
*An outlandishly illustrated account of a scientific quest for God.
These astonishing tropes of the imagination could only have been generated by Donald Barthelme, who—until his death in 1989—seemed intent on goosing American letters into taking a quantum leap. Gleeful, melancholy, erudite, and wonderfully subversive, The Teachings of Don B. is a literary testament cum time bomb, with the power to blast any reader into an altered state of consciousness.
“A small education in laughter, melancholy, and the English language.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Barthelme, who died in 1989, was a distinctive master of fragments . . . Anger, wit, extravagant associations and disassociations; these would be less memorable if it were not for Barthelme’s ability to evoke dreams and the tenderness with which he does it.” —Los Angeles Times