Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Gryphon by Charles Baxter Book Review...

Gryphon: New and Selected Stories
Charles Baxter

Product Details
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Pantheon (January 11, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0307379213
ISBN-13: 978-0307379214

Product Description
"Ever since the publication of The Harmony of the World in 1984, Charles Baxter has slowly gained a reputation as one of America’s finest short-story writers. Each subsequent collection—Through the Safety Net, A Relative Stranger, and Believers—was further confirmation of his mastery: his gift for capturing the immediate moment, for revealing the unexpected in the ordinary, for showing how the smallest shock can pierce the heart of an intimacy. Gryphon brings together the best of Baxter’s previous collections with seven new stories, giving us the most complete portrait of his achievement. Baxter once described himself as “a Midwestern writer in a postmodern age”: at home in a terrain best known for its blandness, one that does not give up its secrets easily, whose residents don’t always talk about what’s on their mind, and where something out of the quotidian—some stress, the appearance of a stranger, or a knock on the window—may be all that’s needed to force what lies underneath to the surface and to disclose a surprising impulse, frustration, or desire. Whether friends or strangers, the characters in Baxter’s stories share a desire—sometimes muted and sometimes fierce—to break through the fragile glass of convention. In the title story, a substitute teacher walks into a new classroom, draws an outsized tree on the blackboard on a whim, and rewards her students by reading their fortunes using a Tarot deck. In each of the stories we see the delicate tension between what we want to believe and what we need to believe. By turns compassionate, gently humorous, and haunting, Gryphon proves William Maxwell’s assertion that “nobody can touch Charles Baxter in the field that he has carved out for himself.”

About the Author
Charles Baxter is the author of the novels The Feast of Love (nominated for the National Book Award), The Soul Thief, Saul and Patsy, Shadow Play, and First Light, and the story collections Believers, A Relative Stranger, Through the Safety Net, and Harmony of the World. He lives in Minneapolis and teaches at the University of Minnesota and in the M.F.A. Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College."

What we thought: This was a wonderful compilation of short stories. Each story is written from a unique perspective and Baxter is really great at engaging the reader in every tale. He does a wonderful job of making even the most dull everyday situations really intriguing and meaningful. His work is complex and beautiful and his talent as a writer really shines in this collection of stories. ABCD Diaries gives Gryphon an A+!

Buy It: Find Gryphon at your favorite book seller mid-January.

Disclosure: ABCD Diaries was given a copy of this book for review purposes only. We were in no other way compensated. The opinions expressed in this post are ours and ours alone.

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