By Richard Stern
For many years, Richard Stern has been acclaimed as one of many American masters of the fast tale. Almonds to Zhoof: accrued tales brings jointly for the 1st time forty-nine of Stern's most sensible brief works and novellas-from "Dr. Cahn's Visit," which the recent Republic praised as "the best possible very brief tale within the English language," to classics like "Teeth" and "Wanderers."Stern's stories-witty, relocating, regularly jam-packed with energy-never sacrifice storytelling to mere beauty or wandering knowledge. This assortment demonstrates Stern's staggering skill to painting humans from all walks of existence, their unsuitable relationships to rules, their occasionally extraordinary relationships with fans and pals, their usually significant, if skewed, value determinations of themselves. The tales constantly mirror an abiding compassion for his characters whoever they're and no matter what their origins. All exist in the politics and offices and bedrooms of the true global. All are incorrigibly human.
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Additional resources for Almonds to Zhoof: Collected Stories (Triquarterly Books)
36 RICHARD STERN Little William Doyle prepares to leave the world, and his loving father, Lester, works to ﬁll the gap with a perhaps affair of the melancholy genius. Giving Chopin this bit of postmortuary life, does Lester somehow provide for his son? The word “mail” — I’ve looked it up — derives from the Old High German Malha, a wallet. Its homonym, the woven metal rings used for armor, derives from Old French maille, link, and the Latin macula, stain. I like to think of the lexic twins in Siamese uniﬁcation: so in these small sacks, these envelopes, we inscribe our little maculae, the spots and stains of our individuality.
My mother, another acolyte of cleanliness, was, in womanliness, beyond that. You wouldn’t say she was immaculate. There was ﬂow to her, dress over breasts and rear. Arms hooked, she and Bert strolled Fifth Avenue, mirrored paragons, proud to be with each other, going into Saks and Sulka’s, Bert commandeering the service that was the chief source of his selfsatisfaction. That and his Packard, his annuities, his neckties, his opinions, the blonds whose signed portraits — “To Bert with love, Jocelyn” — stood on his chifforobe.
Perhaps if I were a more proliﬁc poet, Fopper would not try to drill for epistolary ﬁretuckery. The letter — about two thousand words long — is almost entirely literary. It begins by quoting one of the three French poets born in Montevideo, Jules Laforgue. The others, as I do not have to tell you, are Jules Supervielle and the astonishing Isidore Ducasse, the self-styled Comte de Lautréamont. ) I know a small master’s career is, as Laforgue writes, “decked out with rags and praise” (“un train pavoisé d’estime et de chiffons”), but I could not resist trying to sew in my rag.