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Stories In An Almost Classical Mode

3.95  ·  Rating Details  ·  370 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
Eighteen stories, most of them novella-length, are collected here. They form the basis of Brodkey's reputation as a great 20th-century American writer and span three decades.
Hardcover, 596 pages
Published September 12th 1988 by Knopf (first published 1988)
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Glenn Russell
Mar 26, 2016 Glenn Russell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Harold Brodkey (1930 – 1996) is a major twentieth-century American writer of highly polished, highly poetic fiction first published in The New Yorker, Esquire and other magazines over a thirty years span, 1960s through the 1990s. Published as part of the 1980s Vintage Contemporaries series, this magnificent collection contains 18 stories, some short, some long, 5 pages to 50 pages, but all of these stories speak to the feeling tone of memory and are expressed in such lyrical, elegant language, t
...more
James
If this isn’t the single largest non-Collected Stories collection of stories published in the modern era, it’s close enough that I totally could have lied about it just now and no one even remotely familiar with the work of Harold Brodkey would have raised an eyebrow. To the extent that Brodkey is remembered at all today, it is as a literary blowhard of the highest order, a writer whose perversely verbose self-examinations painted the pages of the New Yorker for decades, with their author perpet ...more
Geoff Wyss
Jun 20, 2014 Geoff Wyss rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book, though I'm not sure I would recommend it to most readers. The pieces that seem to be Brodkey at his most essential aren't really stories (or so I think would be the common complaint). "A Story in an Almost Classical Mode," for example, is really a 50-page character sketch (transparently fictionalized) of his step-mother--brilliant stuff, but no plot to speak of. (Perhaps the most amazing thing is that the story was originally published in the New Yorker, which tells you how co ...more
Lauren Albert
Dec 12, 2013 Lauren Albert rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I gave this 4 stars remembering how I love it when I read it in the 80s. I can see a glimmer of what I liked about it at the beginning. By the time I got to the eponymous story at almost 300 pages, I was skimming. Then I was skipping. It seemed self-indulgent, pretentious. In those first few stories I could sense what I originally liked but it's lost its flavor for me.


First read 1989
Albert
Aug 06, 2013 Albert rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I sampled ten stories from this collection and found them all to follow the same general motif: working through issues of childhood and adolescence in the present or retrospectively. An uneven collection that skews somewhat unrealistically towards the melancholy...at his best, Brodkey is illuminating, at his worst, his characters come across as mopey. All of the stories are about the emotional psychology of the characters. There is very little sense or place or historical context.
Anne Sanow
Feb 22, 2008 Anne Sanow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite stories of all time is the brief "Verona: A Young Woman Speaks," which is kind of just tucked in here amongst the longer and more autobiographically-based Brodkey stuff. Some of those get a bit blowhardy (you've got to be in the mood), even if they are good. Yes, Brodkey is a narcissist, but he is damn brilliant, too.
Peter
Mar 19, 2016 Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: belletristik
19.03.2016 Diese lange Erzählung (Novelle?) ist harter Tobak. Brodkey erzählt die Kindheitsgeschichte eines Adoptivlings. Die Geschichte enthält viele autobiographische Momente und ist von seltener psychologischer Grausamkeit. Das Kind wird nach dem Tod der leiblichen Mutter vom Vater verkauft. Beide Adoptiveltern erkranken schwer, der Adoptivvater geht in ein Veteranenspital (kostenlose Behandlung) und die Adoptivmutter verbleibt mit dem Kind in der Wohnung. Das Drama spielt sich zwischen der k ...more
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
"A Note on the Type

"The text of this book was set in a digitized version of Janson, a typeface long thought to have been made by the Dutchman Anton Janson, who was a practicing type founder in Leipzig during the years 1668-1687. However, it has been conclusively demonstrated that these types are actually the work of Nicholas Kis (1650-1702), a Hungarian, who most probably learned his trade from the master Dutch type founder Dirk Voskens. The type is an excellent example of the influential and st
...more
orsodimondo
Nov 18, 2012 orsodimondo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: americana, racconti
RACCONTA UN SACCO DI BUGIE SE VUOI AVERE UNA VITA FELICE
Ho letto che Brodkey è considerato il Proust americano – poi ho letto che è l’anello mancante tra Proust e David Foster Wallace.
Adesso mi aspetto di leggere che lo si ama o lo si odia, tanto per restare nei commenti che non significano nulla, e niente aggiungono o spiegano.

Brodkey sceglie un altro titolo bello e perfetto: storie in modo quasi classico, dopo primo amore e altri affanni. Che meraviglia.
In queste pagine, ci sono bambini che c
...more
SCARABOOKS
Apr 30, 2013 SCARABOOKS rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In questo periodo mi capita spesso di incontrare recensori che scovano scrittori neo-"proustiani". Checchè ne scrivano, non lo è, Brodkey. Anche se i ricordi, la memoria li maneggia con una capacità di ricostruire emozioni e flussi mentali veramente sorprendente.
La sua però, rispetto al tempo perduto, non è una ricerca. E' un dolorosissimo esorcismo. Il racconto sulla madre è splendido proprio perché è infarcito di una sofferenza asciutta, senza sbavature, che non cerca consolazione per se, nè c
...more
robert
May 02, 2010 robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
the stars are only for the amazing story Verona: a young girl speaks. "innocence" was fascinating. the title story is interesting, boys on their bikes less so, and ceil was outright lousy. frankly, based only on the five stories i read, i do not recommend this acclaimed book. the egotism seems less fun than norman mailer's. it's like reading proust without the saving grace of genius.
Conrad
Apr 19, 2007 Conrad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Sometimes this seems like the same story over and over again. Fortunately, it's a really good story.
Carrie
Oct 01, 2011 Carrie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So far I have read "His Son, in His Arms, in Light, Aloft"
Borden
Mar 25, 2014 Borden rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yes I'm still reading this. I'm savoring it story by story.
Mo
Aug 14, 2007 Mo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I kept this under my pillow for about a year in college.
Gary McDowell
Aug 20, 2007 Gary McDowell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: good-ones
Short stories? These suckers are long. But so good.
Danielle
"To see her in sunlight was to see Marxism die"
Josie O.
Dec 01, 2012 Josie O. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
still struggling with this guy...
Aleksandra
Jul 26, 2011 Aleksandra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant.
Ed
Ed rated it did not like it
May 28, 2016
Wyatt Receveur
Wyatt Receveur marked it as to-read
May 18, 2016
Duygu Uzunoğlu
Duygu Uzunoğlu marked it as to-read
May 16, 2016
Rachel Mykkanen
Rachel Mykkanen marked it as to-read
May 16, 2016
Yuanshi
Yuanshi marked it as to-read
May 15, 2016
Sang
Sang rated it it was amazing
May 13, 2016
Hillery Crawford
Hillery Crawford rated it liked it
May 12, 2016
Ms. Von
Ms. Von marked it as to-read
May 12, 2016
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Harold Brodkey was born into a Mid-Western Jewish family, moving to New York and coming to prominence as a writer in the early 1950s. During the following four decades, he established himself as a modern master of short fiction. He contracted the AIDS virus and died in 1996. Some of his books were published posthumously.
More about Harold Brodkey...

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“My protagonists are my mother's voice and the mind I had when I was thirteen.” 6 likes
“The disparity between what people said life was and what I knew it to be unnerved me at times, but I swore that nothing would ever make me say life should be anything...” 3 likes
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