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Clouds and Eclipses: The Collected Short Stories

3.61  ·  Rating Details ·  200 Ratings  ·  32 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
Mar 18, 2013 Rowena rated it it was amazing
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.
Elizabeth (Alaska)
Seven of these stories were originally published in 1956 under the title A Thirsty Evil. The title story was written at about the same time, but at the request of his friend, Tennessee Williams, it was withheld from publication at that time. Vidal was reminded of this story by a Harvard archivist in 2005, and the collection was republished with its inclusion. These eight stories are a marvelous collection and I feel lucky to have found it by accident at the Friends of the Library book sale last ...more
Cathy DuPont
Jun 22, 2013 Cathy DuPont rated it really liked it
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
Sep 20, 2010 Marija rated it really liked it
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
Rachel Swords
Dec 13, 2015 Rachel Swords rated it really liked it
As someone with two degrees in English, you'd have thought, somewhere along that eight year journey of education, that I would have read/studied something by Gore Vidal. I'd heard his name before, but never knew much about him. The other day I watched the documentary "Best of Enemies" detailing his legendary debates with William Buckley, and their snappy banter had me rolling. The documentary also highlighted Vidal's successful writing career, and so I was intrigued enough to finally seek out hi ...more
Sara Fleenor
Jul 29, 2009 Sara Fleenor rated it really liked it
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
May 16, 2007 Carol rated it liked it
Did I catch Gore Vidal at a bad time or are short stories just not his strong suit?
Miguel
Jan 06, 2016 Miguel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: contos, queer
"The fools were in possession of the beach today. They sat watchfully beneath umbrellas, admiring the cold and radiant angels who could, they believed, exorcise the graceless shadow of the years and with firm flesh recreate youth and the sense of permanency, or its illusion. I suppose by now I know the hearts of the fools almost as well as I know my own and sometimes I am frightened when I watch their sad courtship of the treacherous angels for I see in them my own eventual fall from beloved ang ...more
renee
Nov 19, 2015 renee rated it it was amazing
These short stories are fabulous. Often short stories don't seem to have an ending to them. These all have a point and what a wonderful point they have. They're all well written and I was quickly taken in by each story.
I am now on a journey to read many many more of Vidal's work.
Janice Hussock
Sep 14, 2012 Janice Hussock rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
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
Jun 05, 2007 Christopher rated it liked it
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
Nitya
Dec 12, 2015 Nitya added it
Vidal's stories start in the middle, end in the middle and have no resolution. I can't make up my mind if I like them or not.
However I'm spending a lot of time thinking about them after I finish reading the short stories!
Tisha
Nov 27, 2008 Tisha rated it liked it
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
Christine
Jan 25, 2016 Christine rated it it was amazing
A compilaton of short fiction from one of america's great writers. A must-read.
Jack
Apr 15, 2010 Jack rated it liked it
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
Dec 01, 2009 Michael rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction-a-z
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
Apr 25, 2008 Matthew rated it really liked it
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
Dec 26, 2011 Paul rated it really liked it
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
Sep 30, 2008 Matt rated it liked it
Shelves: would-read-again
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
Mar 21, 2013 Graham rated it liked it
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
Nov 24, 2008 Powells.com rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 17, 2013 Morgan Wills rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 02, 2010 Alvin rated it liked it
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
Aug 08, 2009 Jeanette rated it it was amazing
Beautifully crafted short stories with inviting and well-drawn characters. Thoroughly Gore Vidal -- . Great night time reading -- savoring one story at a time.
Kerfe
Mar 04, 2011 Kerfe rated it liked it
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
Sep 17, 2010 Jason rated it really liked it
I seem to be drifting toward short stories these days. This collection reminded me why I like Gore Vidal as a writer.
Robin Goldman-Roth
Feb 05, 2016 Robin Goldman-Roth rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-a-copy
Great short stories by Gore Vidal. Makes me want to go back re-read some of his novels.
Steerpike
Tight, careful prose. Especially enjoyable from a male homosexual point of view.
Miriam
Mar 22, 2009 Miriam rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Interesting characters. Short stories.
Preetidevinath
May 03, 2013 Preetidevinath rated it it was amazing
I think it was amazing.
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Play Book Tag: Clouds and Eclipses by Gore Vidal, 5 stars 4 14 Apr 12, 2016 10:53PM  
  • Selected Stories
  • Tales of Love & Loss
  • Buying a Fishing Rod for My Grandfather
  • Blackberries, Blackberries
  • Problems: And Other Stories
  • The Rendezvous and Other Stories
  • Tropical Fish: Tales from Entebbe
  • Through the Safety Net: Stories
  • Beasts and Super-Beasts
  • My Fantoms
  • Here's Your Hat What's Your Hurry
  • Life's Little Ironies
  • Selected Stories
  • Collected Stories
  • On the Golden Porch
  • The Darling and Other Stories (The Tales of Chekhov, Vol 1)
  • Short Friday and Other Stories
  • The Ugliest House in the World
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...

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