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All The Days And Nights: The Collected Stories of William Maxwell
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All The Days And Nights: The Collected Stories of William Maxwell

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  289 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
From the American Book Award-winning author of Ancestors
Hardcover, 415 pages
Published January 15th 1995 by Knopf
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Diane Barnes
Jun 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: slow-reads, favorites
It is rare for me to give a book of short stories 5 stars for the obvious reasons. Not every story is great, a few miss the mark entirely, and the rest fall somewhere in the middle. But in this case, EVERY SINGLE STORY was a mini masterpiece. A lot of them were about the same family, so there was continuity, and the settings were either in a small Illinois town just after WWI, or New York City in the 40's and 50's. Both induced nostalgia in me for times and places with no familiarity on my part. ...more
Lance Woods
Oct 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 02, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 06, 2011 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
Nov 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: families
William Maxwell is a master storyteller and master stylist. He often tells the same domestic story from different points of view and every story is original. OVER BY THE RIVER, THE TROJAN WOMEN, A FINAL REPORT, THE FRONT AND BACK PARTS OF THE HOUSE and BILLIE DYER should not be missed. Whether writing about New York City, a Midwestern small town or the American experience in World War I France, Maxwell tells believable and compelling stories, although in some of them, little happens.
Dec 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Am familiar with (have kin in) the town of Lincoln, Illinois, where many of Maxwell's stories are set. He's not quite an unknown writer, given his long editorial association with the New Yorker and the plenty of literary awards he gathered up in his lifetime. But I suspect he is a writer more read about than read. Not quite sure why this should be. His tales, many of which are domestic dramedies set in the world he grew up in, are sharply observed and calmly written. The voice in these tales is ...more
Sep 17, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This was a bit uneven; I suppose that's to be expected when the stories were written over a period of more than fifty years. Alice Munro-like, many of Maxwell's stories are set in the same small Illinois town, with the occasional foray to Chicago, and involve the same family members. They surely must be based on his own family experiences, as Munro's stories are. The volume finishes with 21 "Improvisations", one of which gives its title to the collection. They are insubstantial and quirky; he ga ...more
Apr 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 24, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Roy Bicknell
Nov 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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'.
Jan 09, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 05, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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?)
S.K. Kalsi
Jan 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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."
Nov 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Chris Gager
Jun 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
WM is a "quiet writer". He assumes that the reader is a reasonably grown-up and intelligent person. I really don't remember this book(2 years ago) but I assume it deserves this rating.
Michalle Gould
May 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Man in the Moon is surely one of the most beautiful short stories of all time. Every time I think there can't be a better story, there's a better story!
Simone Martel
I liked about half of these stories. Some seemed precious and self-indulgent.
Nov 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
really delightful short stories
Sep 22, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dec 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
No need for the 21-Improvisations, spoils it slightly.
Several of the short stories are captivating.
Benjamin Haller
rated it it was amazing
May 13, 2014
Elizabeth Fleming
rated it really liked it
Nov 30, 2011
Oscar Del Sébastien
rated it it was amazing
May 03, 2013
Aaron Coder
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Nov 24, 2014
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Oct 26, 2017
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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 ...more
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“Elm Street was the dividing line between the two worlds. On either side of this line there were families who had trouble making both ends meet, but those who lived below the intersection didn't bother to conceal it.” 0 likes
“Lots of Lincoln people had been to Chicago, and some even to New York, but very few had any firsthand knowledge of what Europe was like--except for the coal miners, and they didn't count.” 0 likes
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