No catches, no fine print just unadulterated book loving, with your favourite books saved to your own digital bookshelf.
New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop Plus lots lots more…Find out more
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
Twenty one short stories brilliantly told in the briefest of ways. Perfect reading for those short journeys! May 2010 Guest Editor John Boyne on Tobias Wolff... Whenever I want a quick fix of writerly brilliance, I open Our Story Begins, Wolff’s collected stories. Always surprising, always moving, each story is the work of a master. His novel Old School is a brilliant tale of young aspiring writers in a New England school.
A coming of age novel set in an American public school where the boys compete to write a masterpiece worthy of winning an audience with Ernest Hemingway. A voyage of discovery tales place as battle amongst the boys commences. May 2010 Guest Editor John Boyne on Tobias Wolff... Whenever I want a quick fix of writerly brilliance, I open Our Story Begins, Wolff’s collected stories. Always surprising, always moving, each story is the work of a master. His novel Old School is a brilliant tale of young aspiring writers in a New England school.
';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.
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.
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, 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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?