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In the Walled City

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3.34  ·  Rating Details ·  83 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Stewart O'Nan's In the Walled City was chosen by Tobias Wolff as the winner of the thirteenth Drue Heinz Literature Prize. The collection of twelve short stories was selected from more than 375 manuscripts submitted to the contest by published writers. O'Nan gives us people who face a bleak and often hostile world but yearn for grace. A man who drives a van of terminal pat ...more
Hardcover, 170 pages
Published December 1st 1993 by University of Pittsburgh Press (first published 1993)
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Community Reviews

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Lennie
Mar 17, 2011 Lennie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ever since I read “Last Night at the Lobster” I’ve been a big fan of Stewart O’Nan and he is now one of my favorite authors. “In the Walled City” is a collection of stories which was published in the early years of this author’s career and so it was a real treat for me to come across it in a used bookstore and be able to have the chance to read it and compare his writing style then to now. Unfortunately the stories in this collection aren’t what I consider compelling but I feel that this book wa ...more
Christopher Rex
The characters in these short-stories are very well crafted, believable and display the talents of the author. The problem with the book was getting going. The stories get better as you go along, so it is worth plowing through this short collection. I liked the stories, but I wouldn't go out on a limb to recommend them. If you are looking at writing and character-development as a "craft" I think this is a solid author. If you are looking for stories that are multi-faceted or intellectually-stimu ...more
Mark
Feb 24, 2017 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: story-collection
It is a story collection about regular working-class people (O'Nan's specialty) struggling through difficult times, with economical, health and marital issues. This was written a bit earlier in his career and his writing isn't quite as polished, but there is still much to enjoy.
El
Since I enjoyed A Prayer For the Dying so much I thought I would start at the beginning of O'Nan's work to see the progression of his writing. I found In the Walled City at the library and thought it would be a good chance to take a look at his short stories, see how they compare to a longer novel. I assume this collection (c1993) is his first published collection of short stories and it especially feels like it. O'Nan has a good concept of the craft, but execution sometimes left a little to be ...more
Steven
May 08, 2008 Steven rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Thoughts on a few of these stories: "Winter Haven" is a cacophonous story whose narrative style mimics the narrator's state of mind. Throughout the story, right to the last sentence, it raises more problems than it solves. I was completely lost in the first section of "Calling," actually confused by some of the descriptions, but I kept reading because the situation intrigued me. After that opening section, the story started coming together as a series of explanatory scenes culminating in the sce ...more
Lori L (She Treads Softly)
The Stewart O'Nan fan club is back in session.
I finally read his short story collection, In the Walled City, and it was exquisite. O'Nan was the winner of the 13th Drue Heinz Literature Prize for this collection of twelve stories.

In the twelve stories, O'Nan's well crafted characters are all average people facing some physical or emotional upheaval or turning point in their lives. For some of his characters there is a glimmer of hope; others face a bleak, tragic future; some are just plodding al
...more
Carol
Aug 01, 2012 Carol rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
O'Nan's perfect-pitch ear for the nuances of human sadness is astounding. I think Stewart O'Nan is a great writer. So predictably, O'Nan's writing borders on elegant, and his understanding of the feelings of loss and uncertainty, as well as his ability to convey this with subtle intensity through his characters, is unmatched.

That said, my feeling about short stories remains unchanged even with the beautiful writing of Stewart O'Nan. Just as I am deeply into the story, it comes to a screeching h
...more
Sheila
I wanted to read some of O'Nan's early work before starting "Snow Angels." I was interested in his short stories because, well, nobody really pay attention to them any more. Some of these stories were small jewels, containing a sense of completeness; some portraits in miniature,with characterization that had you standing like a voyeur peering in at the windowpane of someone else's life; and some were like old greeting cards or letters you save for sentimental reasons. Overall, I think this shows ...more
Todd
Feb 25, 2008 Todd rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice stories, very real people in very real situations. A little Carver-eque, but, you know, longer, and a lot of the stories hit the same note. Still, it was really interesting to see the Proto-Snow Angels and how many things from his stories made it into the novel.
Sharon
Nov 18, 2012 Sharon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
This was one of those books of lovely, still, closely observed short stories. It's not my deal, really, but it's well written.
Katie
May 23, 2008 Katie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection of stories focuses on people in transition. The roots of Snow Angels appear as a short story here.
Debra
Aug 02, 2011 Debra marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Stephen King friend and recommended author.
LInda L
Aug 27, 2012 LInda L rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Don't like short stories very much -- some of these were OK, some were incomprehensible.
Mark Alden
Stewart O'Nan's writing is high quality. Seemed like the stories got better and more interesting as the book progressed.
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Stewart O'Nan is the author of eleven novels, including Snow Angels and A Prayer for the Dying, a story collection, and two works of nonfiction. His previous novel, Last Night at the Lobster, was a national bestseller, was nominated for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and was named one of the New York Public Library Books to Remember. Additionally, Granta named him one of the 20 Best Young Ameri ...more
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