Clouds and Eclipses: The Collected Short Stories
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Clouds and Eclipses: The Collected Short Stories

3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  165 ratings  ·  25 reviews
Celebrated for more than fifty years as a world-renowned novelist, essayist, and political figure and commentator, Gore Vidal is less known for the exquisitely crafted short fiction he wrote as a young man. Like the work of Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams, his stories have been overshadowed by the author's triumphs writing in other genres. Still, Vidal's short fiction...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published August 10th 2006 by Da Capo Press (first published July 28th 2006)
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Rowena
This was a great collection of short stories, my first Vidal book in fact, and it definitely exceeded expectations. The stories had very interesting characters, twists in the tale, humour, wit and great use of the language, moral issues were discussed, hypocrisies revealed. I'm looking forward to reading more Vidal.
Cathy DuPont
One of my favorite Florida authors, James W. Hall was in St. Augustine a few years ago and when I met him I told him I had read all of his books, poetry and short stories. One story I even read twice. He asked with a playful smile, “You didn't get it the first time?” “No,” I explained, “it was in two separate books. I 'got it' the first time.”

These collected stories of Gore Vidal, well, I admit, I did have to go back to re-read a few paragraphs so that I was sure I 'got it.' Vidal is not as easy...more
Marija
I initially wasn’t aware that Vidal wrote short stories. Eight stories make up this collection and actually they’re rather good, though I did notice that they sort of resemble the tone and style of Tennessee Williams. But this does make sense, as Vidal mentions in his preface that these stories are almost like a response to Willams’s work.

Generally the stories explore themes of innocence, identity, acceptance and sexuality, yet each story shows a different facet of those themes, with each facet...more
Sara Fleenor
I adore this collection.

Each story was a portrait of an intriguing character. I felt as if I actually knew these people and not that they were contrived purely for a reader's entertainment.

Before starting this book I was a little wary because of its less than stellar reviews. Upon completion I'm pretty sure some of the reviewers are big Harry Potter fans.
Carol
Did I catch Gore Vidal at a bad time or are short stories just not his strong suit?
Janice Hussock
I've read Vidal's historical fiction, Burr and Empire, in the past and loved it. When he recently died,literary critics wrote that his short stories were perhaps better than his fiction. I was intrigued so I borrowed this collection from my local library. The stories have certain common elements, characters with wealth who attend elite private schools and universities, esp. Princeton and Yale. Washington, D.C. society is a frequent element.

These stories are true gems. Reading them is so pleasur...more
Christopher
Enjoyable collection by Gore Vidal. Some stories are more like musings, or remembrances...more "moments" than actual stories. In these, the story has no clear end, it's more like he uses a moment in time (such as, a walk down an old street after a party) as the backdrop to express his personal feelings and thoughts on a given subject. Some of the stories in this book read like the thoughts of somebody who's people-watching, which I liked, as I myself am an observer of people in general. Others w...more
Tisha
I picked up this book of short stories to get a taste of Gore Vidal's writing. This being said, I do think I will enjoy his historical fiction novels. As for his short stories, most of them are moments rather than stories and while I had a minor frustration about his choice to not provide the whole story, I actually came to appreciate it. I felt like I was walking into a scenario already in progress, without complete knowledge as to what happened to cause the moment...or how it ends.

Intriguing....more
Jack
Gore Vidal and Tennessee Williams spent a summer in Italy together, which precipitated the stories in this volume, one of which has never before been published. It's fascinating in part due to Vidal's egotism - he seems determined to prove he can out-write Williams in that writer's own milieu, the short story of domestic drama.

So the stories collected here have a distinctly Williams tone, but with the occasional searing wit that is Vidal's signature.
Michael
Fiction A-Z Book "V": Clouds and Eclipses by Gore Vidal

This is my first experience with Vidal, and I think I'd be interested in going on to his longer fiction. There's a coldness in regard to character in some of the stories that I found off-putting, but Vidal has a definite style that I liked overall. The stories range in tone and type, and it's interesting to see the hints toward questions of sexuality that Vidal was putting forward in the 50's.
Matthew
I'm not sure that I'm sold on Vidal but, particularly in light of the fact that these 8 short stories are the only ones he ever wrote, this is a great collection.

I really admire his unwillingness to give the reader all the facts; and I love that there are obvious typos throughout. Clearly either his editor or Vidal himself thought that the strength of name would distract people from caring too much.
Paul
Amazing that he has written 24 novels and countless essays but only eight short stories all from the late 40s/early 50s. The gay-themed stories contain the boldest writing and are an excellent addition to 'The City And The Pillar' - very enjoyable and an excellent window onto a little discussed area of American life at that time.
Matt
All in all, a decent collection. The stories are of uneven quality, some, such as "Zenner Trophy" are of good quality while "Three Strategems" and "Erlinda and Mr. Coffin" leave something to be desired. That being said, the quality of the writing throughout is superior, and it is clear while Vidal is revered for his prose.
Graham
Interesting set of stories. Some fairly subtle, some adorned with quasi-twist endings that struck me as kinda bizarre. Overarching theme of the hypocrisy of polite, conventional society underpins all the works present. Ahead of its time for dealing with homosexuality, though it's never addressed by name exactly.
Powells.com
Due to the rediscovery of the previously unpublished title work, all eight of the short stories by one of America's most highly regarded contemporary writers are now gathered together for the first time.
Recommended by Jack, Powells.com
Morgan Wills
Loved it! Gore Vidal is such an amazing writer. My favorite was the Ladies in the Library. The only downside--I wanted more! I wanted a full novel on each story. But alas, that's the short story blues.
Alvin
Vidal's stories are, as everyone else has noted, like watered down Tennessee Williams short stories. They're still keenly observed, delightfully spare, and well worth reading.
Jeanette
Beautifully crafted short stories with inviting and well-drawn characters. Thoroughly Gore Vidal -- . Great night time reading -- savoring one story at a time.
Kerfe
Vidal has a way with words--"(he took many pills; his heart murmured)"--but the world he creates is a shallow one and the stories seem slight.
Jason
I seem to be drifting toward short stories these days. This collection reminded me why I like Gore Vidal as a writer.
Steerpike
Tight, careful prose. Especially enjoyable from a male homosexual point of view.
Miriam
Interesting characters. Short stories.
Preetidevinath
I think it was amazing.
Michelle
I'm likin' it....
Robin Goldman-roth
Robin Goldman-roth marked it as to-read
Sep 16, 2014
Iva
Iva marked it as to-read
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5657
Eugene Luther Gore Vidal was an American writer known for his essays, novels, screenplays, and Broadway plays. He was also known for his patrician manner, Transatlantic accent, and witty aphorisms. Vidal came from a distinguished political lineage; his grandfather was the senator Thomas Gore, and he later became a relation (through marriage) to Jacqueline Kennedy.

Vidal ran for political office twi...more
More about Gore Vidal...
Lincoln Burr Julian The City and the Pillar Myra Breckinridge

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“The planet Venus, a circle of silver in a green sky, pierced the edge of the evening while the wintry woods darkened about me and in the stillness the regular sound of my footsteps striking the pavement was like a the rhythmic beating of a giant stone heart.” 5 likes
“Each writer is born with a repertory company in his head. Shakespeare has perhaps 20 players. … I have 10 or so, and that’s a lot. As you get older, you become more skillful at casting them.” 5 likes
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