Thirteen Stories and Thirteen Epitaphs

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Pantheon Books, 1991 - Fiction - 318 pages
5 Reviews
This stunning new collection of stories confirms William T. Vollmann's growing reputation as the American writer whose books "tower over the work of his contemporaries by virtue of their enormous range, huge ambition, stylistic daring, wide learning, audacious innovation, and sardonic wit" (Washington Post Book World). All these qualities are in evidence in this collection in which the character of the writer and that of some of his intimates - both real and imaginary - surface and resurface in a series of extraordinary situations and encounters.
Two astonishing stories frame this collection. The first, "The Ghost of Magnetism," tells about a young man leaving San Francisco to become a sort of literary hobo living on his freeze-dried memories. The last, "The Grave of Lost Stories," describes the death of Poe in a fungus-encrusted tomb somewhere deep in the earth.
Here is the colorful and disreputable group of people familiar to us from Vollmann's earlier fiction - pimps, tramps, pornographers, witch doctors, and massage-parlor girls. Within these stories, Vollmann gives us one of the most searching, bizarre, and subversive views of America today.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - cat-ballou - LibraryThing

So, it got too Kafka-esque too quickly at the end, but things were really pretty good up until that point. Although, if you have a sensitive stomach, a vivid imagination, or, horrors, both, you will want to put this book down at points. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - HadriantheBlind - LibraryThing

Exactly what it says on the title - thirteen stories, each with their own coarse epitaph appended after each one. Obsession, fragile and 'impure' love, whores, war, tragedy. I hesitate to use the ... Read full review


Authors Note
Epitaph for Yummy and Ken Thailand
Epitaph for Mien Vietnam

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About the author (1991)

Journalist and novelist William T. Vollmann was born in 1959 and educated at Cornell University. He worked as a comptuer programmer before becoming a journalist and covering Bosnia, Sarajevo and Afghanistan. He has written extensively since 1987, when his first book, You Bright and Risen Angels, was published. The Atlas (1996) won the PEN Center USA West Award for the best novel by a writer living west of the Mississippi. His newest work of Non-Fiction is entitled, Imperial.

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