cover image The Writers' Trade & Other Stories

The Writers' Trade & Other Stories

Nicholas Delbanco. William Morrow & Company, $18.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-688-04732-0

Delbanco writes with sympathy, irony and parodistic glee about the absurdities and perils of being a writer in a largely uncaring world. Each of these nine incisive stories centers on writers: a tenure-seeking Skidmore prof (``His Masquerade''), a randy 77-year-old memoirist (``And with Advantages''), a young first novelist flushed with success and ego (``The Writer's Trade''), a puffed-up celebrity novelist (``Palinurus''). As these wordsmiths exchange shoptalk, their lives careen out of control, plagued by divorce, frustrating lack of recognition or the corrupting bait of success. Delbanco, himself a novelist ( The Sherbrookes Trilogy ) and author of a previous short story collection ( About My Table ), crams each tale with the minute particulars of the writer's life. These mundane details are the raw stuff his protagonists transmute into creative gold, as they devour the lives of their closest kith and kin in search of material. (Feb.)