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Fiction Short Stories (single Author)

Pittsburgh Stories

by (author) Clark Blaise

Porcupine's Quill
Initial publish date
Oct 2001
Short Stories (single author), Literary, General
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2001
    List Price

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'Written over four decades, Pittsburgh Stories, is the second in a projected four-volume set of Clark Blaise's selected short stories. Set largely during the forties and fifties, these nine stories, with one exception, are reminiscences about a distant Pittsburgh adolescence. The previous and inaugural collection in the series, Southern Stories, was also unified by one locale.

'Blaise's prowess as a writer is evident from the outset. The opening story, ''The Birth of the Blues,'' written in 1983, is clearly the work of a skilful, deft craftsman. A well-honed tale, it impresses with its subtlety and detail. The protagonist, young Frank Keeler, witnesses his father's humiliation before a woman who has hired him to fix her pipes. Standing before the two Keelers in her bathrobe, she reprimands Frank's father and summarily dismisses him. In so doing, she sets both father and son alight with desire, ''becoming for Keeler, the prototype of all beautiful women. For his father, the most perfect bitch.'' '

About the author

Clark Blaise has taught in Montreal, Toronto, Saskatchewan and British Columbia, as well as at Skidmore College, Columbia University, Iowa, NYU, Sarah Lawrence and Emory. For several years he directed the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. Among the most widely travelled of authors, he has taught or lectured in Japan, India, Singapore, Australia, Finland, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Holland, Germany, Haiti and Mexico. He lived for years in San Francisco, teaching at the University of California, Berkeley. He is married to the novelist Bharati Mukherjee and currently divides his time between San Francisco and Southampton, Long Island. In 2002, he was elected president of the Society for the Study of the Short Story. In 2003, he was given an award for exceptional achievement by the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and in 2009, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada ``for his contributions to Canadian letters as an author, essayist, teacher, and founder of the post-graduate program in creative writing at Concordia University``.

Clark Blaise's profile page

Editorial Reviews

'These stories are polished and raw at the same time.'

Montreal Gazette

'The pieces collected ... display the sure hand of a skilled writer. And though Blaise is unflinching is his portrayal of the poverty and backwardness of the post-war American South, a muted sense of wonder leads the reader over some very rough terrain.'

Quill & Quire

'Those who have read Blaise will likely be familiar with his non-fiction bestseller Time Lord, not the four volumes of his Collected Stories that have sold somewhere in the low hundreds. Though he became a member of the Order of Canada in 2009, Blaise has never won a GG. And yet his body of work -- and one can speak of it as a coherent body -- is an entertaining and profound monument to the craft of the short story.'

The Afterword

'Blaise has the writer's gift of recalling childhood textures in cinematic detail.'

The Globe and Mail

'More often than not, Blaise meets the high standard he has set for himself. In story after story, he deftly blends musings and incidents, subjecting all to searing analysis that never lapses into pat explanations. He's one of those ''genuine artists'' Chekhov celebrated in yet another letter to Suvorin, the ones who know full well you'd best keep your eyes wide open.'

The Georgia Review

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