Elizabeth Strout has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for “Olive Kitteridge,” a collection of 13 linked short stories. The stories are set in rural Maine and center around Olive Kitteridge, a seventh-grade teacher.
Isn’t it great that people are recognizing great story collections? I haven’t read it yet, but several of my friends have been telling me that it’s terrific.
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Recently, three new literary biographies about Flannery O’ Connor, John Cheever, and Donald Barthelme have placed a new spotlight on the short story.
A. O. Scott wrote a piece in the NY Times this past weekend about the new resurgence of the short story. He writes:
Reading through their collected stories, you wonder if novels are even necessary. The imperial ambitions of a certain kind of swaggering, self-important American novel — to comprehend the totality of modern life, to limn the social, existential, sexual and political strivings of its citizens — start to seem misguided and buffoonish. More of life is glimpsed, and glimpsed more clearly, through Barthelme’s fragments, Cheever’s finely ground lenses or the pinhole camera of O’Connor’s crystalline prose.
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