Publisher: University of Texas Press
Length: 463 pages
About: Stories of childhood, old-age, tragedy and comedy
Style: 3rd person
Where: US and Europe
When: 1940s and 1950s
This collection of thirty stories includes some of Jean Stafford's best short fiction from the period 1944-1968. Including such favorites as In the Zoo, Children Are Bored on Sunday, and Beatrice
Trueblood's Story, the collection offers the work of this popular writer of the 1940s and 1950s to a new generation of readers and critics.
Keening harshly in his senility, the blind polar bear slowly and ceaselessly shakes his head in the stark heat of July and mountain noon. His open eyes are blue. No one stops to look at him; an
old farmer, in passing, sums up the old bear's situation by observing, with a ruthless chuckle, that he is a "black number." Patient and espairing, he sits on his yellowed haunches on the central
rock of his pool, his huge toy paws wearing short boots of mud.
EVERYTHING that we desire from a collection of short stories, from the art of fiction, in fact, can be found in this gathering of Jean Stafford's work: a superior and controlled craftsmanship,
human dilemmas uniquely individual, yet common to all of us, backgrounds and situations authentic in themselves and per fect for providing the skeletal structure of her tales, and those insights into
human behavior and personality that we call wisdom.
New York Times, Thomas Lask 14th February 1969
Not so good:
None found so far.
About the author
Born in California, July 1, 1915 - March 26, 1979. A series of traumas scarred Stafford's early adulthood. While attending the University of Colorado, where she earned concurrent bachelor's
and master's degrees in 1936, she witnessed the suicide by shooting of her friend Lucy McKee. After a year studying philology in Heidelberg, Germany, she returned to Boulder, where she met the poet
Robert Lowell at a writers' conference. And in 1938, she was severely injured in an automobile accident in which Lowell was driving, and had to undergo reconstructive facial surgery. Her only brother
died in World War II. Stafford taught briefly at St. Stephens College, in Columbia, Missouri, but disliked teaching; she also worked at the Southern Review in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and lived with
Lowell in New York City and Tennessee before moving to Boston, where (despite suing him in connection with the accident) she married him in 1940.
Her first novel, Boston Adventure was a best-seller, earning her national acclaim. She wrote two more novels in her career, but her greatest medium was the short story: her works were
published in The New Yorker and various literary magazines. For many years Stafford suffered from alcoholism, depression, and pulmonary disease. By age sixty-three she had almost stopped eating and
died of cardiac arrest in White Plains, New York in 1979.