Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Criers & Kibitzers, Kibitzers & Criers” as Want to Read:
Criers & Kibitzers, Kibitzers & Criers
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Criers & Kibitzers, Kibitzers & Criers

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  120 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
These nine stories reveal a dazzling variety of styles, tones and subject matter. Among them are some of Stanley Elkin's finest, including the fabulistic "On a Field, Rampant," the farcical "Perlmutter at the East Pole," and the stylized "A Poetics for Bullies." Despite the diversity of their form and matter, each of these stories shares Elkin's nimble, comic, antic imagin ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published June 1st 2000 by Dalkey Archive Press (first published January 1st 1966)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Criers & Kibitzers, Kibitzers & Criers, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Criers & Kibitzers, Kibitzers & Criers

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
May 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
We all, I would hazard, have someone in our life whose presence is pure pleasure, and whose habits, whose character traits, their ticks and tocks, often irritating to others, slip through us un-sensed, leave us unruffled and starry-eyed. Perhaps they talk too much about themselves. Perhaps they are always late. Perhaps they intend to vote conservative in the coming general election in the UK.

The same, as you could predict I would say, applies to authors. I am sure you can all think of a book th
Vit Babenco
May 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Stanley Elkin’s stories are situated at the borderline of realism and postmodernism but he always remains fresh, highly original and scathingly sardonic.
“Would a crier listen to another man’s complaints? Could a kibitzer kid a kidder? But it didn’t mean anything, he thought. Not the jokes, not the grief. It didn’t mean anything. They were like birds making noises in a tree. But try to catch them in a deal. They’d murder you.”
That’s a portrait of modern society.
Guest is the beat generation heroi
Feb 19, 2012 added it
Shelves: general-fiction
Sometimes an author who is very obviously right up your alley inexplicably manages to slip underneath your radar, and when you discover him years later you find yourself faced with a huge backlist and gnashing your teeth that you did not come across this astonishing body of work earlier. Stanley Elkin is just such a case for me; by all rights, I should have stumbled over him in the early to mid eighties when I was discovering contemporary American literature for myself and started reading the li ...more
Jan 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
These are some of the most heart wrenching American tales of disease and death and isolation and despair, but at the same time, they burst with life and language that no other author can provide. Critics often label Elkin as a comic writer, but these are not comedies. They are, perhaps, humorous tragedies, certainly not dark comedies, in that hope is lost for any sort of redemption for any character found within. But the stories and the language show so much of the intricacies of the stuff of li ...more
Graham P
Feb 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Stanley Elkin is the king of writing about the half glass empty. All his characters ride a delusional wave, seeking meaning in a fast-moving whirlwind where humanity is elusive and pain is prevalent. This collection of existential comedies is full of sad souls meandering urban spaces like dirty laundry left behind in the laundromat. Bodegas turn into temples of remorse. City parks become doom-ridden sanctuaries. Apartments turn into asylums. And every story feels like a complicated joke with a h ...more
Jun 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
These are wonderful stories full of the humanness of people just trying to cope with life. Humorous, touching, and all that. They are beautifully and meticulously written. Some stories remind me a bit of Malamud. Regardless, they are stories that are worth the time to be familiar with.
Jun 27, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
i liked when it got weird.
Oct 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Ach. The story. The American story. The Garrison Keillor blurb of the front cover tells you a great deal in itself. This is, I guess, a purified, distilled dollop of early stuff from Elkin. I am only getting around to Elkin now. This is my first Elkin. His preface (written by he himself, for an edition published more than twenty years subsequent to the first) suggests that he would go on to be more of a ... stylist. Indeed, he was famous to me (through hearsay, natch) as a guy who can get wild a ...more
May 01, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People who understand the meaning of "comitragic", satirists, fabulists
Recommended to Christine by: Michael
Shelves: read-fiction
This was my first experience with Elkin, although I feel like he may have always been circling the sides of my reading lists like a guy at a bar it's too crowded to go and talk to, but you are both wearing the same NPR tote bag.

The thing I was least prepared for was the first title story, which, far from being any fabulist comedy was full of the painful emotions and mundane realism of surviving after a tragedy to get back to the everyday drama of a sinking ship business.

After that first story,
Mar 30, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those who can't read pynchon but would like too

Basicly my recomendation is where it's at.

Now, I haven't finnished all the shorts in this yet, and they are a little long for today's standards, but they hard work has pay off and it isn't as hard as, say, Joyce or pick your fav unreadable author.

there is a story about a mescline adict who is in a house going crazy for a day and it is how those people act. I've lived with them. the kid gets robbed (he's house sitting) and he says, well, they will think I'm worthless, and pitty me, so he robs a
Oct 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
No other story in this collection quite matches "Push" in style or execution of concept, but there's plenty of humor and jazz to be found in several of the better ones, particularly the closer, which seems less beholden to naturalism than do some of the less exuberant attempts. I'm not sure when Elkin wrote which of these pieces, but the way they're assembled here allows them to gain momentum as the reader pages through.
Leonard Pierce
May 15, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
A collection of short fiction by Stanley Elkin, this is a bit of a mixed bag. A few of these are sort of flat and inchoate, leading me to believe that the long form is really his strength, but in a few of them -- especially "In the Alley" and the hilarious "Perlmutter at the East Pole" -- are as good as anything he's done and show a real grasp of the medium.
Krok Zero
Mar 29, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: spring-2010
Five out of nine ain't bad. Especially when one of those five is "A Poetics for Bullies," one of the best short stories I have read.
Michael Shou-Yung Shum
Jun 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
It wouldn't kill you to read this book.
Dec 06, 2010 rated it liked it
Short story collections are a problem to rate. Some deserved 4 but I think overall 3 stars makes sense. This was not as strong as his later novels.
Aug 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great collection by Elkin who shines with the darkly comic short. Standouts for me were "I Lookout for Ed Wolfe", "Perlmutter at the East Pole" and "A Poetics for Bullies".
Jul 01, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: short-story
Read like period pieces. Didn't like the first one but read on.
E. Mo
rated it it was amazing
Sep 15, 2017
rated it liked it
Dec 29, 2016
rated it it was amazing
Apr 19, 2008
rated it really liked it
Sep 11, 2008
Steven Felicelli
rated it really liked it
Jul 04, 2012
Deb Oestreicher
rated it liked it
Mar 14, 2014
rated it really liked it
Sep 28, 2009
Giovanni Garcia-Fenech
rated it it was amazing
Nov 07, 2016
rated it really liked it
Apr 11, 2010
rated it really liked it
Oct 07, 2014
Julia Jackson
rated it really liked it
Feb 19, 2015
rated it really liked it
Sep 11, 2007
rated it liked it
May 15, 2009
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Night Soul and Other Stories
  • Stories in an Almost Classical Mode
  • The Collected Stories
  • Cartesian Sonata and Other Novellas
  • A Night at the Movies, Or, You Must Remember This: Fictions
  • Singular Pleasures
  • The Free-Lance Pallbearers
  • Witz
  • The Ring of Brightest Angels Around Heaven: A Novella and Stories
  • Dukla
  • Captain Maximus
  • Escapes
  • The Awful Possibilities
  • The Golden Age
  • The Train to Lo Wu
  • Once the Shore
  • Isle of Dreams
  • Am I a Redundant Human Being?
Stanley Lawrence Elkin was a Jewish American novelist, short story writer, and essayist. His extravagant, satirical fiction revolves around American consumerism, popular culture, and male-female relationships.

During his career, Elkin published ten novels, two volumes of novellas, two books of short stories, a collection of essays, and one (unproduced) screenplay. Elkin's work revolves about Americ
More about Stanley Elkin...

Fiction Deals

  • War Brides
    $3.99 $2
  • Bluebeard
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Madonnas of Leningrad
    $10.74 $2.99
  • Orphan Train Girl
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Want Not
    $14.95 $2.99
  • Finding Rebecca
    $5.49 $1.99
  • The Twelve-Mile Straight
    $14.99 $2.99
  • The Long Way Home
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Cafe by the Sea
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Everybody's Son
    $12.99 $1.99
  • The Restaurant Critic's Wife
    $3.99 $2
  • The Word Game
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Ahab's Wife, or The Star-Gazer
    $10.74 $1.99
  • Cats Are Weird: And More Observations
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Wake Up
    $4.99 $2
  • The Way to London: A Novel of World War II
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Abby's Journey
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Ask the Dust
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Kings of Broken Things
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Collected Stories of Stefan Zweig
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Saving Abby
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Vanessa and Her Sister
    $13.99 $2.99
  • The King's Mistress
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Midnight Sun (The Northern Lights Series, No 3)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Cement Garden (Ian McEwan Series Book 2)
    $8.99 $2.99
  • The Book of Love: Poems of Ecstasy and Longing
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Under the Wide and Starry Sky
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard von Bingen
    $14.95 $1.99
  • The Cove
    $7.49 $1.99
  • The Secret Healer (The Secret Healer #1)
    $3.49 $0.99
  • Fat Chance
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Jailbird
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Mrs. Saint and the Defectives
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Fire by Night
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Bagombo Snuff Box
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The High Mountains of Portugal
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Cat's Pajamas: Stories
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Thistle and the Rose (Tudor Saga, #8)
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Burgess Boys
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Waterfalls (Glenbrooke, #6)
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Tibetan Book of the Dead: The Great Liberation through Hearing in the Bardo (Shambhala Classics)
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Skinny Legs and All
    $14.99 $1.99
  • The Unkillable Kitty O'Kane
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Fire from Heaven (Alexander the Great, #1)
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Most Dangerous Place on Earth
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Waiting for Morning (Forever Faithful, #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Paris Wife
    $11.99 $2.99
  • It Is Well
    $4.99 $1.99
  • If I Was Your Girl
    $9.99 $2.99
“There’s something comforting, almost soothing, about realism, and it’s nothing to do with shocks of recognition — well it wouldn’t, since shocks never console — or even with the familiarity that breeds content, so as much as with the fact that the realistic world, in literature, at least, is one that, from a certain perspective, always makes sense, even in its bum deals and tragedies, inasmuch as it plays — even showboats and grandstands — to our passion for reason. The realistic tradition presumes to deal, I mean, with cause and effect, with some deep need in readers — in all of us — for justice, with the demand for the explicable reap/sow benefits (or punishments), with the law of just desserts — with all God’s and Nature’s organic bookkeeping. And since form fits and follows function, style is instructed not to make waves but merely to tag along, easy as pie, taking in everything that can be seen along the way but not much more and nothing at all of what isn’t immediately available to the naked eye.” 3 likes
More quotes…