The Stories of J.F. Powers (Paperback)

By J. F. Powers, Denis Donoghue, Denis Donoghue (Introduction by)
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Hailed by Frank O'Connor as one of "the greatest living storytellers," J. F. Powers, who died in 1999, stands with Eudora Welty, Flannery O'Connor, and Raymond Carver among the authors who have given the short story an unmistakably American cast. In three slim collections of perfectly crafted stories, published over a period of some thirty years and brought together here in a single volume for the first time, Powers wrote about many things: baseball and jazz, race riots and lynchings, the Great Depression, and the flight to the suburbs. His greatest subject, however--and one that was uniquely his--was the life of priests in Chicago and the Midwest. Powers's thoroughly human priests, who include do-gooders, gladhanders, wheeler-dealers, petty tyrants, and even the odd saint, struggle to keep up with the Joneses in a country unabashedly devoted to consumption.
These beautifully written, deeply sympathetic, and very funny stories are an unforgettable record of the precarious balancing act that is American life.
Table of Contents
The Lord's Day
The Trouble
Lions, Harts, Leaping Does
He Don't Plant Cotton
The Forks
The Valiant Woman
The Eye
The Old Bird, A Love Story
Prince of Darkness
Death of a Favorite
The Poor Thing
The Devil Was the Joke
A Losing Game
Defection of a Favorite
Blue Island
The Presence of Grace
Look How the Fish Live
One of Them
Priestly Fellowship

About the Author

J. F. Powers died in 1999 at the age of eighty-one. His two novels, "Morte D'Urban" and "Wheat that Springeth Green, " and a collected volume of his short stories are available as NYRB Classics.

Denis Donoghue is University Professor and Henry James Chair of English and American Letters at New York University.

Denis Donoghue is University Professor and Henry James Chair of English and American Letters at New York University.

Praise For…

"Powers is a genuine original. Read him…for the pleasures he bestows of ear and eye, but read him too for the supreme trustworthiness of his vision, a trust earned by impeccable craft, and by a balance perfectly struck between a cutting irony and a beleaguered faith." — Mary Gordon

"In these stories, there is a lovely, travelling hesitancy, an obliquity, so that they seem to creep up on the reader….The strongest of them are surely among the finest written by an American." — James Wood, The New Yorker

"To read the first story (“The Lord’s Day”) in this collection is to put down the book with the sense of having read as great a short story as any ever written, and I mean by anybody: by Cheever, Sherwood Anderson, Checkov. What ease they have is in the style: there are no easy morals here, no edifying lessons, but their vigor and correctness make them delightful to read. And while they’re terribly funny — laugh—out—loud funny, in spots — they’re also complex and deeply serious." — Donna Tartt, Harper’s

"Power’s particular blend of trenchancy and bleak wit….Powers’ short pieces remain more effective than his novels. His was a gift of understatement and speed, and at his best his narrative economy is breathtaking….It is a pleasure to see [them] reissued…in a single volume. For a collection that spans three decades, The Stories of J.F. Powers isn’t especially long, but the work is striking, impelled by a vision that has been cleansed by deep intelligence and powerful subject matter." — Erin McGraw, The Georgia Review

Product Details
ISBN: 9780940322226
ISBN-10: 0940322226
Publisher: New York Review of Books
Publication Date: March 31st, 2000
Pages: 592
Language: English