The Selected Stories of Frederick Busch

Frederick Busch. Norton, $32.95 (480p) ISBN 978-0-393-23954-6
Arriving seven years after the untimely death of novelist and short story writer Busch (Girls), this collection showcases his mastery of the short story form over the span of almost 40 years. Whether his subject is domestic life (“The Lesson of the Hôtel Lotti”) of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (“Good to Go” and “Patrols”), Busch’s method is to take seemingly insignificant moments and, through sudden, subtle strokes of characterization, infuse them with an overwhelming significance. Nowhere is this clearer than in his tales of marriages threatened by infidelity (“Bob’s Your Uncle,” “Joy of Cooking,” “Still the Same Old Story”) and unexpected disasters (“What You Might as Well Call Love,” “Reruns”). “To the Hoop” concerns a father and son coping with a mother’s suicide, while in the superb “Ralph the Duck” a campus guard observes a professor’s exploitative affair with a much younger student. Some of Busch’s most powerful writing concerns fraught bonds between parents and children, as in “Name the Name,” about a teacher visiting his jailed son, or “The Ninth, in E Minor,” about an awkward father-daughter reunion. While his delicate method leads to some moments of ponderous dialogue, the stories have a richness of detail and insight that will appeal to readers of literary fiction and cement Busch’s status as an exemplary craftsman. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 09/30/2013
Release date: 12/01/2013
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 480 pages - 978-0-393-24194-5
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