A Rather Interesting Tale (From Barthelme’s The Dead Father)

It is rather an interesting tale, said the Dead Father, which I shall now tell. I had been fetched by the look of a certain maiden, a raven-haired maiden —He looked at Julie, whose hand strayed to her dark dark hair. A raven-haired maiden of great beauty. Her name was Tulla. I sent her many… Continue reading A Rather Interesting Tale (From Barthelme’s The Dead Father)

Barthelme/Calvino/Garner/Jackson (Books acquired, 19 Nov. 2021)

Spent a spare hour this afternoon at the local used bookshop. A few months ago I found a first edition of Donald Barthelme’s collection Forty Stories. This afternoon I picked up a first edition of my favorite Barthelme novel, The Dead Father. The jacket design–by Ruth Ansel–is really cool, which doesn’t really come through in the photograph. The back… Continue reading Barthelme/Calvino/Garner/Jackson (Books acquired, 19 Nov. 2021)

Donald Barthelme’s Sixty Stories in reverse: Chapter the Last, featuring Thirty Stories, Fifteen Stories, and Ten Stories

Previously, Stories 60-55 Stories 54-49 Stories 48-43 Stories 42-37 Stories 36-31 Stories 30-25 Stories 24-19 Stories 18-13 Stories 12-7 Stories 6-1 I don’t know if there’s a need for a defense of Donald Barthelme, and I do know that I am not the person to mount that defense. I spent the last two months re-reading Sixty… Continue reading Donald Barthelme’s Sixty Stories in reverse: Chapter the Last, featuring Thirty Stories, Fifteen Stories, and Ten Stories

Donald Barthelme’s Sixty Stories in reverse, Part IX

I am rereading Donald Barthelme’s Sixty Stories, starting with the sixtieth story and working my way to the first and writing about it. Previous entries: Stories 60-55 Stories 54-49 Stories 48-43 Stories 42-37 Stories 36-31 Stories 30-25. Stories 24-19 Stories 18-13. In this post, stories 12-7 12. “The Dolt” (Unspeakable Practices, Unnatural Acts, 1968) An odd domestic… Continue reading Donald Barthelme’s Sixty Stories in reverse, Part IX

Donald Barthelme’s Sixty Stories in reverse, Part VIII

I am rereading Donald Barthelme’s Sixty Stories, starting with the sixtieth story and working my way to the first and writing about it. Previous entries: Stories 60-55 Stories 54-49 Stories 48-43 Stories 42-37 Stories 36-31 Stories 30-25. Stories 24-19. This post covers stories 18-13. 18. “The Phantom of the Opera’s Friend” (City Life, 1970) Barthelme’s goof… Continue reading Donald Barthelme’s Sixty Stories in reverse, Part VIII

Donald Barthelme’s Sixty Stories in reverse, Part VII

I am rereading Donald Barthelme’s Sixty Stories, starting with the sixtieth story and working my way to the first and writing about it. Previous entries: Stories 60-55 Stories 54-49 Stories 48-43 Stories 42-37 Stories 36-31 Stories 30-25. This post covers stories 24-19. 24. “Critique de la Vie Quotidienne” (Sadness, 1972) A cruel cruel story bristling with… Continue reading Donald Barthelme’s Sixty Stories in reverse, Part VII

Donald Barthelme’s Sixty Stories in reverse, Part V

I am rereading Donald Barthelme’s Sixty Stories, starting with the sixtieth story and working my way to the first and writing about it. Previous entries: Stories 60-55 Stories 54-49 Stories 48-43 Stories 42-37 This post covers stories 36-31. 36. “The Captured Woman” (Amateurs, 1976) Simultaneously creepy and funny, “The Captured Woman“ is narrated by an unnamed… Continue reading Donald Barthelme’s Sixty Stories in reverse, Part V

Donald Barthelme’s Sixty Stories in reverse, Part II

I am rereading Donald Barthelme’s Sixty Stories, starting with the sixtieth story and working my way to the first. I wrote about stories 60-55 here, stories collected in 1981. This post covers stories 54-49. 54. “How I Write My Songs” (previously uncollected, 1981) Like his postmodernist contemporaries Robert Coover and William H. Gass, many of Donald… Continue reading Donald Barthelme’s Sixty Stories in reverse, Part II

Read “The Piano Player,” a very short story by Donald Barthelme

“The Piano Player” by Donald Barthelme from Come Back, Dr. Caligari (1964) Outside his window five-year-old Priscilla Hess, square and squat as a mailbox (red sweater, blue lumpy corduroy pants), looked around poignantly for someone to wipe her overflowing nose. There was a butterfly locked inside that mailbox, surely; would it ever escape? Or was the… Continue reading Read “The Piano Player,” a very short story by Donald Barthelme

“Patricide: Patricide is a bad idea” (Donald Barthelme)

Patricide: Patricide is a bad idea, first because it is contrary to law and custom and second because it proves, beyond a doubt, that the father’s every fluted accusation against you was correct: you are a thoroughly bad individual, a patricide! — member of a class of persons universally ill-regarded. It is all right to […]

Continue reading “Patricide: Patricide is a bad idea” (Donald Barthelme)

Some Fathersons Go to Museums of Fine Art — Richie Pope

Richie Pope’s Fatherson showed up in today’s mail—it’s issue #13 of Youth in Decline’s monograph series Frontier. It’s so, so good—I’ve gone through it a few times now, and its immediate vibrancy and apparently simplicity slips into richer and richer territory each time. It reminded me at first of a book my wife brought back to me years… Continue reading Some Fathersons Go to Museums of Fine Art — Richie Pope

“Patricide: Patricide is a bad idea” (Donald Barthelme)

Patricide: Patricide is a bad idea, first because it is contrary to law and custom and second because it proves, beyond a doubt, that the father’s every fluted accusation against you was correct: you are a thoroughly bad individual, a patricide! — member of a class of persons universally ill-regarded. It is all right to… Continue reading “Patricide: Patricide is a bad idea” (Donald Barthelme)

“Patricide: Patricide is a bad idea” (Donald Barthelme)

Patricide: Patricide is a bad idea, first because it is contrary to law and custom and second because it proves, beyond a doubt, that the father’s every fluted accusation against you was correct: you are a thoroughly bad individual, a patricide! — member of a class of persons universally ill-regarded. It is all right to… Continue reading “Patricide: Patricide is a bad idea” (Donald Barthelme)