The Law of Averages by Frederick Barthelme
New and Selected Stories

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 2 Critic Reviews

unrated

Synopsis

Two decades of stories from one of the premier writers of American fiction.

Twenty years ago Frederick Barthelme began publishing stories that turned readers' expectations on their heads. In The New Yorker, Esquire, GQ, and elsewhere he published story after story that confounded the prevailing literary assumptions, treating our very ordinary lives with a new kind of careful and loving attention and imagination. He wrote intimate, funny, odd, detailed, laugh-out-loud stories about relationships that almost happen and ones that almost don't, about the ways we look at each other when we mean things we cannot bring ourselves to say.

Before there were slackers, or kids in parking lots, or stories that took the mundane seriously, there were these prescient stories by Frederick Barthelme. He took a post-ironic stance before the post-ironic had a name. He took fiction where few were then willing to go, took as his subject small romances, private fears, suburban estrangement, office angst, cultural isolation, apparently insignificant humiliations, and the growing information surplus (CNN is a sociological novel, he once remarked). He wrote-and continues to write-with a laser-surgery precision that stuns and delights both readers and critics. If he arrived at the new-literature party a little earlier than the other guests, he has not left early, and is thus well represented in The Law of Averages, with old and new stories side by side, ready to give up their abundant pleasures.

 

About Frederick Barthelme

See more books from this Author
Frederick Barthelme, an American writer in the minimalist tradition, depicts in his writings loneliness, isolation, and fear of intimacy in modern life. Born in 1943 in Houston, Texas, Barthelme attended Tulane University and the University of Houston before studying at Houston's Museum of Fine Arts from 1965-66. He worked as an architectural draftsman, assistant to the director of New York City's Kornblee Gallery, and creative director for advertising firms in Houston during the 1960s and early 1970s. At the same time, his art was featured in such galleries as the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Barthelme's fiction often concentrates on scenes rather than plots. They frequently include "snapshots" of popular culture, such as shopping malls and McDonald's restaurants, to illustrate the emotional shallowness of the late twentieth century. Characters who show their feelings and thoughts through actions rather than language are another aspect of Barthelme's work. Barthelme began to write fiction in the 1960s, leading to a change in the direction of his life and art. He earned an M.A. in English from Johns Hopkins University in 1977, then became an English professor at the University of Southern Mississippi and the editor of the Mississippi Review. Barthelme's work includes the novels Two Against One (1988), Natural Selection (1993), and Bob the Gambler (1997), the short story collections Rangoon (1970) and Chroma (1987), and the screenplays Second Marriage (1985) and Tracer (1986). Barthelme is the brother of the well-known experimental writer Donald Barthelme (1931-1989).
 
Published July 11, 2001 by Counterpoint. 352 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Law of Averages

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

In the 6 new stories among the 29 collected here, a father worried about his teenaged daughter looks up from charting his favorite stock on the computer when he hears a car hit a tree in his front yard;

| Read Full Review of The Law of Averages: New and ...

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

""Reset"" begins: ""People at the office assumed Ann and I had been having an affair for the five years she'd been working for me."" From that wonderfully suggestive beginning, the story explores the jealousy, affection and inertia between the two co-workers.

| Read Full Review of The Law of Averages: New and ...

Reader Rating for The Law of Averages
85%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 11 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review