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Wittgenstein's Lolita and The Iceman: Short Stories
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Wittgenstein's Lolita and The Iceman: Short Stories

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  148 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Gay maps out a landscape of love and death, exploring the terrain where a person’s love of life interacts with their fear of the dark unknown. He portrays a character looking for love that reaches beyond death—with occasional morbid consequences.
ebook, 72 pages
Published May 21st 2013 by Dzanc Books (first published March 1st 2006)
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so people have been telling me and telling me to read WILLIAM* gay, and until now, i just haven't. what is wrong with me, i wonder?? because he is everything i love, if this one short story is any indication of his themes and style. he does what i like, and he does it very well.

yeah, i'm reviewing another short story, what of it?? this seems to be the week for that sort of behavior. and this is the last one from me, i promise. no more cheapening of book also contains a portion
May 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These were two excellent short stories and an afterward about this most enigmatic author who produced too little art and died too soon. It makes him all the more mysterious, with those lost single copies of novels in the mail. Gay's prose is original, fresh, often terrifying as the tragic comes out of nowhere. He understands loneliness and the smells and feel of the outdoors, as his oddly composed characters wander and ponder about. This was a short book that I selfishly chose to increase my num ...more
Gay didn't publish his first book until later in life. Sadly, he died not long after, leaving as his legacy a handful of beautifully written novels and short stories.

Wittgenstein's Lolita and The Iceman contains two short stories by the same names that are as beautifully written as his other works. A must read for his fans.
Doug H
Oct 11, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two short stories, both featuring woman-battering. I love William Gay but I think any of the short stories in I Hate To See That Evening Sun Go Down: Collected Stories are stronger than either of these. Just being honest.
Nov 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: southern
These are two very good short stories in true William Gay fashion. I'm still saying The Paperhanger is my favorite short story by Gay. However, anyway you slice it, he knows how to write and draw the reader into his creations.
Jul 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
On the heels of news this week that the publishing rights to Gay's two remaining unpublished works had been bought with the intent to publish next year, I decided to knock out this short two story collection I had held back for such a time as this.

The title track (calling it such in respect to Gay's love of music) is pure his best stuff. Landscape, violence, crossed love, circumstance, and how the Hell did we get here. I loved it. The second was a snippet from the then soon to market novel that
“With the dim light behind her and her red hair unbraided all down her back she looked like a fairytale princess a few years past happily ever after who’d rethought her position and gone over to the dark side.”

Can William Gay write a story I don’t want to read over and over for the rest of my life? (No. No, I don’t think he can.)

Adam Nevill
Apr 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
William Gay’s two story (plus a short essay) chapbook, WITTGENSTEIN’S LOLITA & THE ICEMAN is wonderful and worth collecting. Sadly departed, but what a master he was. I thought these two stories were as good as just about anything in the superb, I HATE TO SEE THAT EVENING SUN GO DOWN.

Right from the opening paragraph, the quality of the authorial voice assured me that I was in for a treat, and I was.

[From Wittgenstein’s Lolita]: “Through a deep blue dusk that fell at the very end of a season
Robert Wechsler
Mar 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-lit, stories
This was my introduction to William Gay. Although I was not enamored with his violent sensibility, I was very taken with the sensibility of his prose which, at least in these two stories, is very different. His writing conveys a deep sense of alienation from the world along with an attraction to nature. I found an unusual beauty in his prose.
Dec 28, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, horror, south
Though it was through a story that I first found Gay, I've grown to prefer his longer work. His tremendous vocabulary and range show up in both forms, but the shorter works don't (can't?) convey the emotional spectrum we need in order to make sense of the violence that, with Gay, always appears.
John Lester
Aug 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read these stories and then read them again. What beautiful use of words. If you want to spend time with some really fine writing, here is where you need to be.
Dave N
As a story "Wittgenstein's Lolita" is good, but it doesn't feel good enough to warrant a separate book, nor to anchor the sub-par "Iceman", which feels tacked on. The lead story feels too similar to "A Death in the Woods" in Gay's earlier book of stories, I Hate To See That Evening Sun Go Down, which is very worth the read. "Iceman", on the other hand, is unique but underwhelming. All in all, neither story deserves the $10 it will cost you for the ebook.
James Seawel
I enjoyed the short story and the afterward, but did not read the excerpt for the Iceman as I want to real the whole book. I always enjoy reading William Gay and reading about him. I think I've read everything of his that has been published, but this compilation seemed just an excuse to get a work in the hands of the readers and perhaps make a few dollars, I suspect. One short story, an excerpt from a future book, and the afterward. Meh.
Nov 06, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A short chapbook published by a buddy of Gay's, the 2 stories are top-notch, and the brief bio is interesting. According to Gay these stories will probably appear again in a larger collection due out next year.
Jul 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
William Gay is my favorite living writer. This very small book holds two very short stories about the most un-noteworthy things, but the stories are good, which is no surprise coming from Gay, and I loved them both.
Truly blown away by Gay's mastery of imagery and style.
Jul 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Two short stories by William Gay perfect for a quick afternoon read. Gay's prose is among the best in the southern gothic tradition.
Feb 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Just two short stories. They are stark, dark and a bit violent, but the writing is beautiful.
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William Elbert Gay was the author of the novels Provinces of Night, The Long Home, and Twilight and the short story collection I Hate to See That Evening Sun Go Down. He was the winner of the 1999 William Peden Award and the 1999 James A. Michener Memorial Prize and the recipient of a 2002 Guggenheim Fellowship.
“in time to come Rideout would decide that everything that happened grew out of the stories they told each other. Everything they were to each other, everything they were not. Threads from one tale crept to” 1 likes
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