Truthtelling : Stories, Fables, Glimpses
Author(s): Lynne Sharon Schwartz
With her new, dazzling collection of short fiction, Schwartz has propelled herself to the front rank of inventive short story writers such as George Saunders and David Means. Her characters are indefatigable New Yorkers whose daily lives are thwarted by a swerve of fate or a mishap or a time warp. A man lends his car to his ex-wife and is bewildered when she makes implausible excuses not to return it. A sophisticated high-end clothing store owner is taken in and manipulated by an ailing elderly neighbor who then leaves her all earthly possessions. A woman visits her ex-husband and his younger wife and realizes with a mixture of fascination and dismay how her former husband has been physically and psychologically debilitated by his new marriage. The characters from her early prize-winning novel, Rough Strife, reappear in middle-age, facing a life-threatening crisis. Schwartz’s characters, presented with her impeccable style, reflect her many decades of accumulating wisdom and her sharp perspective. Contemplating the past, one of her characters muses, “Memory is so prone to digression. To sustain a logical or chronological sequence, we must keep dragging our minds off their natural course, like a cowboy tugging on a calf with a rope around its neck who wants to run off into the fields.” With this sort of nuanced thinking, Schwartz’s fiction brings an original and piquant angle of intelligence to the matter of how to navigate our complex lives.
"Meticulously crafted. . . . This first-rate collection demonstrates why Schwartz remains an American literary treasure."
“A grab bag of realist and experimental stories, each one a treasure . . . Wise, wry, and witty—theses stories in all their stylistic variations are perfect.”
“This excellent writer has the great gift of making even the slightest of domestic situations feel richly alive to the pleasures we allow and the punishments we inflict on ourselves and one another. It is a joy to read this latest collection of her short fictions.”
“These wonderful stories about our need for connection and our sense of alienation are timely and timeless at once. Lynne Sharon Schwartz is a dazzling writer.”
“This elegant new collection includes some of Schwartz’s most surprising and satisfying short works, demonstrating anew her sustained powers as a writer, through an astonishing 28 books and 40 years.”
“[Schwartz’s] insights are at once sympathetic and drenched with irony."
“Disturbances in the Field seems a more-than-welcome return to a classic idea of the novel... A wonder to read... I can think of no other contemporary writer who writes so well, with such rich sensuality.”
“Wonderful... It goes beyond literature and philosophy to a tough, battered truth.”
“A quiet masterwork of late 20th-century American realism.”
“The book has the architecture of a sonata.”