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Tobias Wolff - Author

About the Author

Tobias Wolff is the author of seven previous books and the editor of The Vintage Book of American Short Stories and other anthologies. Among his honors are the PEN/Malamud Award and the Rea Award, both for excellence in the short story, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the PEN/Faulkner Award. He lives in Northern California and teaches at Stanford University.

 

Author photo © Marion Ettlinger

Featured books by Tobias Wolff

Other books by Tobias Wolff

Federal Offense

Federal Offense

Author: Tobias Wolff Format: eBook Release Date: 08/08/2017

';We weren't meant to be here.' From the modern classic memoir, In Pharaoh's Army, a selection by Tobias Wolff portrays the final days of civilian life before boarding the bus that would carry him to the blind carnage of the Tet offensive and the greater War. With his uncanny eye for detail, pitiless candor and mordant wit, Wolff brings to life the tender and transitory hours when nothing had seemed irrevocable and before the sergeant called out the names of the men that would. A Vintage Shorts Vietnam Selection. An ebook short.

Mature Student

Mature Student

Author: Tobias Wolff Format: eBook Release Date: 15/12/2013

Theresa left the Marines after twenty-two years to start a new life. Her husband had moved on to a second wife, and her son had recently enlisted. Now Theresa is going to school, getting a degree in hotel management. But it is her art history class she finds most interesting, and a chance encounter with her professor leaves her with new fears for her life, for the future-and for her son.

White Bible

White Bible

Author: Tobias Wolff Format: eBook Release Date: 15/12/2013

Maureen is an English teacher, and she's had a long day. All she wants is a relaxing night out with friends, a few beers, and maybe the chance to forget the troubles of her past: the gambling ex-husband and the daughter who'd thrown her life away sleeping with married men. But her night-and maybe her life-is thrown off track when she leaves the bar and a man approaches her in the parking lot as she unlocks her car.

Lady's Dream

Lady's Dream

Author: Tobias Wolff Format: eBook Release Date: 15/12/2013

Lady, suffocating in the car on a hot summer's day, slips into a feverish dream. Robert, her husband, watches her slip into unconsciousness as he drives. He's a soldier, a man of principle, well-educated and well-adjusted. But Robert is also a man with an agenda; he has married this young, wild lower-class girl to spite his father, and now he regrets it. How much does Lady know about Robert's intentions, and how far will he go to set things straight?

Smorgasbord

Smorgasbord

Author: Tobias Wolff Format: eBook Release Date: 15/12/2013

Garcia, the wealthy, swaggering son of a foreign dictator, invites two lower-class boys from his boarding school to have dinner in New York along with his Spanish-speaking stepmother, Linda. When the group decides to go to a kitschy, unpretentious Swedish smorgasbord rather than a fine restaurant, Garcia refuses to leave the limousine, still angry with Linda after an argument over money. Linda proves to be more than the young men had anticipated, and she has more influence over them during their brief encounter than they will ever know.

Chain

Chain

Author: Tobias Wolff Format: eBook Release Date: 15/12/2013

When Gold's daughter is viciously attacked by a neighbor's dog and barely escapes with her life, Gold's world is torn open. Haunted by the incident and unable to convince local authorities to take action, he agrees to a friend's offer of retaliation. When he feels compelled to return the favor, one bad turn leads to another-and this time, Gold finds the repercussions much worse than he ever could have anticipated.

Two Boys and a Girl

Two Boys and a Girl

Author: Tobias Wolff Format: eBook Release Date: 15/12/2013

Gilbert saw Mary Ann first, but the second time he sees her she is dancing with his best friend, Rafe. The three of them begin hanging out all the time, driving around in the car Rafe got as a present for getting into Yale. But when Rafe goes out of town, Gilbert and Mary Ann keep the tradition going, seeing movies and going on drives ... in Rafe's car no less. Gilbert thinks he and Mary Ann are perfect together, even the way they fit next to one another when they dance, but falling in love with your best friend's girlfriend is a sure way to break someone's heart.

Other Miller

Other Miller

Author: Tobias Wolff Format: eBook Release Date: 15/12/2013

Miller is unlucky. That's why he's in a foxhole with the rest of Bravo Company. That's why his dad is gone and his mother remarried. That's why his teeth are falling out. Then, when the first sergeant tells Miller his mother has passed away, Miller thinks he's finally gotten lucky. Surely it's another Miller's mother, and now he can get away from the battalion for a couple days thanks to the Army's error. But Miller knows the future rarely has happiness in store.

Flyboys

Flyboys

Author: Tobias Wolff Format: eBook Release Date: 15/12/2013

In this short story from Our Story Begins, three friends confront their relationships to one another as they work on plans to build their very own airplane.Clark's parents are rich, supplying the boys with all they need to follow their pursuits, making films and building catapults. Meanwhile, Freddy's family is dealing with the loss of his older brother, and Freddy's friends are having a hard time knowing how to act around him anymore. The boys all have their troubles, but maybe their airplane can help them escape.

Desert Breakdown, 1968

Desert Breakdown, 1968

Author: Tobias Wolff Format: eBook Release Date: 15/12/2013

Mark's parents have never done a thing for him. When he got out of the army and married Krystal, they were against it, just as they are against his moving to Los Angeles. But Mark has a dream, a dream of being an entertainer, of having a show in Las Vegas. So he packs Krystal and their son, Hans, into their car and starts driving from Arizona to California, determined to show his parents how wrong they are to doubt him. But when the car breaks down at a small gas station in the desert, Mark and Krystal are forced to face realities about their future and their marriage.

Rich Brother

Rich Brother

Author: Tobias Wolff Format: eBook Release Date: 15/12/2013

A classic tale of brotherly love and rivalry from short story master Tobias Wolff Pete has always been successful. Happily married with two daughters, he lives a comfortable life in Santa Cruz. Pete is a practical, hardworking man and he enjoys life's monetary pleasures. His younger brother, Donald, is a gaunt, troubled man. Unmarried and without children, Donald earns what little money he has by occasionally painting houses. He's a religious man, unlike Pete, and has spent several years as a member of various Christian groups. When Pete receives a call from Donald, telling him that that his most recent religious commune has failed, Pete decides to pick him up- a trip that will test the limits of the brothers' relationship.

Soldier's Joy

Soldier's Joy

Author: Tobias Wolff Format: eBook Release Date: 15/12/2013

A powerful tale of life after war by short-story master Tobias Wolff Hooper, a Vietnam veteran, finds himself at an army base in Washington State. His days are uneventful, filled with mundane duties, empty conversations, and the occasional jaunt with a married woman. A phone call in the middle of the night breaks Hooper's predictable routine. One of the guards at the communications center is threatening to kill himself-and says he'll shoot the other guard if he interferes. Hooper goes to talk to the distressed soldier, a cook nicknamed "e;Porkchop"e; who's disappointed by his life as an army man. As their talk reveals the struggle to readjust to life after combat, the situation turns deadly, and the men must face the consequences of their actions.

Liar

Liar

Author: Tobias Wolff Format: eBook Release Date: 15/12/2013

One of Tobias Wolff's classic tales, "e;The Liar"e; is the story of a deceitful teenage boy and his religious, resolute mother. James is a liar. He enjoys inventing fantastic stories about his family, particularly his mother. Margaret is orderly, stubborn, and judgmental-a woman who throws rocks at hungry bears and never misses four o'clock Mass. She loves her children but has always struggled with James. Like his deceased father, he's fascinated by the darker aspects of life-car crashes, illness, and crime. Dr. Murphy, the family physician who dabbles in psychiatry, believes that James' lying is harmless. His mother, however, thinks otherwise. Written with candor and humor, "e;The Liar"e; is a meditation on one of the most pervasive characteristics of human nature.

Hunters in the Snow

Hunters in the Snow

Author: Tobias Wolff Format: eBook Release Date: 15/12/2013

An unnerving tale of self-absorption and deception by short-story master Tobias Wolff Three friends are leaving the suburbs of Spokane on a hunting trip. Kenny is the prankster, harsh and mean. Frank is laid-back and full of idealism. Tub is overweight, sensitive, and the brunt of everyone's jokes. Searching for tracks in the snow, the trio has little luck until they spot a set of deer prints heading into a nearby farm. Kenny, desperate for a token of their difficult journey, insists that they ask the farmer's permission to hunt on his land. But as they set out in the fading sunlight, things go terribly wrong and what appears to be an accident becomes more and more questionable as strange events call each man's character into question.

In the Garden of the North American Martyrs

In the Garden of the North American Martyrs

Author: Tobias Wolff Format: eBook Release Date: 15/12/2013

Tobias Wolff's masterful short story about one woman's quiet revenge on the pomposity and arrogance of academia Meticulous, funny, eccentric-Mary has always been mindful of the complex role she plays as a professor of history. Her lectures are carefully written out beforehand; her departmental loyalties ambiguous. She is so careful, in fact, that she began to see herself as flat, dull, and lifeless. The closing of Brandon College, the institution she'd spent more than fifteen years at, changes everything. Forced to find another position, Mary finds herself at an experimental college in rainy Oregon. Sickly and unhappy, Mary feels as if she's dying-until a letter from an old colleague holds promises of a bright future. Louise works for a prestigious school in upstate New York and wants to help her secure a position there. Excited, Mary flies across the country for an interview. But things aren't as they seem, and Mary, disenchanted with Louise's vanity and the futility of the university, for once, throws caution to the wind.

Night in Question

Night in Question

Author: Tobias Wolff Format: eBook Release Date: 15/12/2013

A story of siblings and faith from short-story master Tobias Wolff Frances has always been protective of her younger brother Frank. The children of a brutal father and a sick, defenseless mother, Frances fought to keep her brother safe. And throughout all of his adult failings-from drug addiction to near-fatal car crashes-she has stood by his side. Now Frank has found religion. Standing in his crisp white shirt and restrictive tie, he's eager to recount last Sunday's sermon to his older sister. As the sermon unfolds, the father must make a terrible choice-one that cuts deep for Frances. Can she and her brother withstand these new challenges?

Firelight

Firelight

Author: Tobias Wolff Format: eBook Release Date: 15/12/2013

A mother and her son dream of a life beyond their means in this classic short story by Tobias Wolff. "e;Firelight"e; tells the story of a mother and her son who are spending the afternoon viewing apartments on a chilly day in Seattle, Washington. The two have no intention of renting one-they can only afford to live in a meager boarding house. Nevertheless, they spend every Saturday wandering through apartments and department stores, dreaming of a different life. On this particular afternoon, their last stop is a beautiful Victorian home-far beyond anything they could ever afford. And for the first time, wishful thoughts blur with harsh reality as the son becomes entranced by the apartment and the life it represents.

Bullet in the Brain

Bullet in the Brain

Author: Tobias Wolff Format: eBook Release Date: 15/12/2013

The story of a book critic and his final thoughts from short-story master Tobias Wolff Anders is an angry, cynical man. A book critic known for his scathing reviews, he finds any excuse to dismiss, belittle, or insult. This afternoon is no more agitating than the next. Angers finds himself in a long line at the bank, waiting to reach a teller. Even after two men-wearing masks and carrying guns-take control of the building, Anders is unfazed. It's this behavior that lands him with a pistol against his stomach and a man screaming in his face. And when the bank robber, indignant over Anders' behavior, shoots the book critic in the head, his mind floats through the memories of his life, settling on one particular event.

That Room

That Room

Author: Tobias Wolff Format: eBook Release Date: 15/12/2013

In this short story by the masterful Tobias Wolff, a teenage boy learns the joys-and struggles-of adult life. Eager for independence and adult-like freedom, a teenage boy takes a summer job baling hay on a rural farm. Savoring the farm wife's attention and the extra change in his pocket, the boy feels like a grown man. The fellow hands give him a sense of camaraderie-Clemson, a fastidious boy who attends the same high school; Eduardo, a talkative Mexican seasonal worker; and Miguel, a quiet man and Eduardo's brother. One night, after working the fields from dawn until dusk, Clemson and the boy drop the two brothers off at the decrepit hotel they live at during the summers. Eduardo invites the men in for a drink and they all accept. But the room is filthy and reeking of mildew, and as angry words lead to dangerous actions, the boy must face the reality of his situation.

Awaiting Orders

Awaiting Orders

Author: Tobias Wolff Format: eBook Release Date: 15/12/2013

Sergeant Morse is a risk-taker, playing chicken with the potential exposure of his sexuality. Julianne is looking for her brother, Specialist Hart, not knowing he's shipped out to Iraq. In a surprising moment of tenderness, Sergeant Morse offers to help her, but whether due to fear of exposure or stubbornness, they might both be beyond rescue.

Her Dog

Her Dog

Author: Tobias Wolff Format: eBook Release Date: 15/12/2013

John didn't want a dog. He wasn't ready, he said. Grace, on the other hand, did want a dog, and when she brought Victor home from the pound, John made sure Grace knew it was her dog, her responsibility. But when Grace dies, John is left with just Victor and his grief, and he learns a new level of devotion.

Deposition

Deposition

Author: Tobias Wolff Format: eBook Release Date: 15/12/2013

Burke, a San Francisco lawyer, is defending a woman who has been disabled by a botched surgery. His client has a personal connection to Burke, and the trial happens to be taking place in his Ohio hometown, a place ravaged by fallen industries and greedy corporations. While taking a deposition from a particularly difficult witness, Burke calls for a break and takes a walk around the neighborhood where he grew up. A chance encounter with a beautiful woman sets in motion a series of events that Burke could never have foreseen-and is unlikely to forget.

Down to Bone

Down to Bone

Author: Tobias Wolff Format: eBook Release Date: 15/12/2013

A son sits at his mother's deathbed, hesitant to leave her side. He leafs through one of her old photo albums, remembering her abusive, estranged father. When a visit to a funeral home turns into a conversation with a beautiful, mysterious woman, he develops a deeper-and perhaps darker-understanding of his relationship with his mother.

Deep Kiss

Deep Kiss

Author: Tobias Wolff Format: eBook Release Date: 15/12/2013

When Joe Reed was a teenager, he fell so deeply in love with Mary Claude Moore that his parents threatened to send him away. Decades later, he's living a normal life with his wife and their two children; yet in the thirty years since he's last seen Mary Claude, he hasn't stopped thinking of her. With recent news of her in hand, Joe begins to understand the reasons for which he has never stopped loving her-and just how pivotal that time in his life had been.

Benefit of the Doubt

Benefit of the Doubt

Author: Tobias Wolff Format: eBook Release Date: 15/12/2013

While on a crowded bus near the Vatican, a man named Mallon-visiting Italy on business-feels someone reaching into his pockets, searching for his wallet. He elbows the pickpocket, seriously injuring the man. Driven by his guilty conscience, Mallon finds himself peering in on the life of an unfamiliar culture and learning more about the world than he ever could have imagined.

Nightingale

Nightingale

Author: Tobias Wolff Format: eBook Release Date: 15/12/2013

Dr. Booth drives his son, Owen, to Fort Steele Academy, where he hopes his son will thrive in a structured, disciplined environment that mirrors Booth's own upbringing. But after he drops Owen off at his new school, he's filled with a deep sense of doubt-about his decision to send his son away, about his childhood-and finds himself lost in more ways than one.

American Lives A Reader

American Lives A Reader

Author: Tobias Wolff Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/03/2010

Memoirs are as varied as human emotion and experience, and those published in the distinguished American Lives Series run the gamut. Excerpted from this series (called splendid by Newsweek) and collected here for the first time, these dispatches from American lives take us from China during the Cultural Revolution to the streets of New York in the sixties to a cabin in the backwoods of Idaho. In prose as diverse as the stories they tell, writers such as Floyd Skloot, Ted Kooser, Peggy Shumaker, and Lee Martin, among many others, open windows to their own ordinary and extraordinary experiences. John Skoyles tells how, for his Uncle Fred, a particular Hard Luck Suit imparted misfortune. Brenda Serotte describes a Turkish grandmother who made her living reading palms, interpreting cups, and prescribing poultices for the community. In Son of Mr. Green Jeans, Dinty W. Moore views fatherhood through the lens of pop culture. Janet Sternburg's Phantom Limb muses on the dilemmas of a child caring for a parent. Whether evoking moments of death or disease, in family or marriage, history, politics, religion, or culture, these glimpses into singular American lives come together in a richly textured, colorful patchwork quilt of American life.

Our Story Begins

Our Story Begins

Author: Tobias Wolff Format: eBook Release Date: 25/03/2008

Tobias Wolff's first two books, In the Garden of the North American Martyrs and Back in the World, proved how the short story can "e;provoke our amazed appreciation"e; (New York Times Book Review). In the years since, he's written a third collection, The Night in Question, as well as several other astounding works. Now he returns with fresh revelations-about biding one's time, experiencing first love, or burying one's mother-that come to a variety of characters in circumstances at once everyday and extraordinary: a retired marine enrolled in college while her son trains for Iraq, a lawyer taking a difficult deposition, an American in Rome indulging the Gypsy who's picked his pocket. In this potent new collection, as with his earlier work, Wolff displays his mastery over a quarter century, once again proving himself "e;a writer of the highest order: part storyteller, part philosopher, someone deeply engaged in asking hard questions that take a lifetime to resolve"e; (Los Angeles Times).

This Boy's Life

This Boy's Life

Author: Tobias Wolff Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 19/08/1999

The author of The Barracks Thief and Hunters in the Snow recreates his boyhood experiences, relating how he and his mother travelled throughout the United States, and tracing his experiences and changes from young boy to manhood against the background of a violent and wildly optimistic America.

The Night in Question

The Night in Question

Author: Tobias Wolff Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/09/1997

Stories of Tobias Wolff

Stories of Tobias Wolff

Author: Tobias Wolff Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 23/04/1997

This volume brings together all the stories from Tobias Wolff's collections Hunters in the Snow (1982) and Back in the World (1985) with his intense short novel The Barrack's Thief - winner of the 1984 PEN/Faulkner Award. These are works which impart powerful realisations of the discrepancy between the everyday world and our secret dreams and aspirations, hallmarked with a craftsmanship that has earned the author three O. Henry Prizes.

In Pharaoh's Army Memories of a Lost War

In Pharaoh's Army Memories of a Lost War

Author: Tobias Wolff Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 29/08/1996

The follow-up to the author's memoir This Boy's Life which describes his experiences during the Vietnam War. As a young officer serving in the Mekong Delta, he ricocheted between boredom, terror and grief for lost friends. Tobias Wolff is the author of Hunters in the Snow .

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