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I have never been much of a reader of Literature. My tastes tend to run toward simpler fare that I can enjoy on a level that doesn’t require a great deal of thought on my part. In short, I typically read to be entertained, not moved. So, when I heard an interview with William Maxwell on NPR in ’95 about his new collection of stories, “All the Days and Nights,” I didn’t take much notice. But as the interview went on and the late Mr. Maxwell read selections from the book, I found myself purchasing ...more
Nov 04, 2011 Wayne rated it liked it · review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of short stories
Recommended to Wayne by: my Mum's maiden name - Maxwell
I bought this a couple of years ago because I had never heard of William Maxwell and because my mother's family are the Mad and Mighty Maxwells.
These collected stories range over the period from 1939 to 1992, so it will be interesting to note any consistencies or changes in whatever areas - style, themes, locations etc.
70 pages into it and so far so good.
The Autobiographical Stories : Their nostalgia and the raking over remnants of the Past was often intriguing as is the putt ...more
William Maxwell's collection of short stories is special. The stories have a quality of simplicity while simultaneously containing profound truths about life and relationships. Each story touches on aspects of the 1950s and 1960s in the United States which stirred memories of growing up in that era. One of my favorite is the sound of the newspaper thumping as it hit the front porch when the delivery boy rode by, tossing the paper with practiced expertise. That is just one of many sensory experie ...more
The first story in this collection, "Over the River" is a must-read. Much of the story takes place at night, which is fascinating, what happens in public spaces and domestic spheres while most of the world is sleeping. Maxwell seems to have no restrictions, no strict rules, about point of view, and this narrative freedom is refreshing and worth examining.
nice, mannered short stories trying to capture "how people are" (my quotes, not his) , maxwell was fiction EDITOR at new yorker for FORTY YEARS , gah. many stories take place in small, small town in rural illinois, where to the protag (maxwell really) returns and....wonders.
I was introduced to William Maxwell by an advert for his novel 'Time Will Darken It' in John William's novel 'Stoner'. That novel didn't disappoint and neither did this collection of short stories. Whilst nothing much happens in the stories apart from normal life, Maxwell's descriptive powers, both of place and settings and of people and their thoughts, are evocative and thought-provoking. Several of the stories feature the same characters and, told in the first person, appear to be almost autob ...more
One of the strengths of his writing is its matter-of-factness while yet conveying an attention to detail that somehow transcends the seemingly prosaic nature of what he is portraying. The Man in the Moon story is to my mind a good example of that. I just love the 'improvisations' at the end of the book, for example A love story which is about Madame Mole and her husband who's just called Mole because 'she had married beneath her'.
A perfect collection of short stories from a master. Not a single story lacks the depth and scope and emotional intelligence of Maxwell's art. My all time favorites, "The Front and Back parts of the House," "Over by the River," "The Man in the Moon," "The Holy Terror," "What He Was Like," "My Father's Friends."
I'm only half way through this book and may not go back to it for a while but wanted to comment on how beautiful the stories are. I'm not normally a short story reader but this was a moment in my life when I needed something that I could be absorbed in and yet not be lengthy. Some of the stories speak to me more than others but all have been good. Settings have varied . . . from rural Illinois to NYC to France, all places important to Maxwell, I presume.
Stories were written over a 40 or 50 yea ...more
Stories were written over a 40 or 50 yea ...more
Collected stories spanning more than 40 years by the former fiction editor of the New Yorker. Maxwell grew up in a small town in Illinois and returns there in many of his pieces. Much of his fiction is quasi memoir (perhaps more than quasi). According to the back cover, his primary aim was "a Flaubertian one: to evoke the texture of human experience" which is a fair description of the stories in this book, which take place in Illinois, Europe, and New York City. The exception are the 21 improvis ...more
These are really exquisite stories. Narrative events and characters reappear serially across the collection in slightly different guises. Readers familiar with Maxwell's fiction will recognise similar settings, events, characters; much of this work is autobiographical. These are not remarkable for their formal inventiveness, but for their close observation of detail, their patience, their depth of psychological characterisation.
Maxwell has the gift of taking very small moments and making one see something in them. (Whether in the previously-published Serious Stories collected in the first part of the book or in the little occasional vignettes collected in the second.) Very simple and clean, but sticking in the memory. (I wonder what non-Midwesterners think of him?)
I almost gave this four stars, based solely on the 21 fables at the end of the book. But then, by the end, I fell in love with the fables too. As for the other stories in the book, they are quintessential 20th century American fiction, my favorite period/cultural source of literature.
Strong collection overall, though sometimes unfocused, which is inevitable with an omnibus like this. I was pleasantly surprised by the 21 "improvisations" at the end, which read almost like allegorical fairy tales, all of them delightful.
William Keepers Maxwell Jr. was an American novelist, and fiction editor at the New Yorker. He studied at the University of Illinois and Harvard University. Maxwell wrote six highly acclaimed novels, a number of short stories and essays, children's stories, and a memoir, Ancestors (1972). His award-winning fiction, which is increasingly seen as some of the most important of the 20th Century, has r ...moreMore about William Maxwell...