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Paperback The Stories of Breece d'j Pancake Book

ISBN: 0316715972

ISBN13: 9780316715973

The Stories of Breece d'j Pancake

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Book Overview

A collection of short stories that memorably capture American life in rural Appalachia by Breece D'J Pancake, the brilliant writer praised by Joyce Carol Oates as "a young writer of such extraordinary gifts that one is tempted to compare his debut to Hemingway's."

Breece D'J Pancake cut short a promising career when he took his own life at the age twenty-six. Published posthumously, this is a collection of stories that depict the world...

Customer Reviews

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Stories from the Mountain Folk!

Direct from the Appalacian Mountain hollows, a world of cock fighting, deer stalking, fox hunting, truck driving, prize fighting, sex, depression, drinking, and death! Tales from the dark side by an uncannily observant chronicler of the region, who brillantly evokes a whole crowd of doomed and despairing brawlers, murderers, drunkards, and demented husbands and wives - desparate people desparately alive. Raw boned and fiercely original!

Twelve Outstanding Stories of West Virginia

Breece Pancake killed himself with a shotgun in Charlottesville, Virginia on Palm Sunday in 1979. He was 26 years old at the time and had just completed a graduate writing program at the University of Virginia. Four years later "The Stories of Breece D'J Pancake" was published, a collection of twelve stories that posthumously established his literary reputation as one of the finest short story writers in twentieth century American literature.Pancake grew up in the hollows of West Virginia and each of the carefully wrought stories in this collection deals with the seemingly desperate lives of the working poor in that part of the country. They are remarkably crafted stories, written with a deep sense for the locale and the people from which they are drawn. They are also models of precision, the kind of stories that deserve to be read over and over, studied for the way in which they use foregrounding and the mundane details of everyday life--albeit everyday life that quietly screams with the desperation of poverty, deadening work, drinking, promiscuity, and brutality-to draw complex portraits of people who endure, even when endurance is no more than a substitute for hope. As he writes in "A Room Forever," the story of a tugboat mate spending New Year's Eve in an eight-dollar-a-night hotel room where he drinks cheap whiskey out of the bottle and eventually ends up with a teen-aged prostitute: "I stop in front of a bus station, look in on the waiting people, and think about all the places they are going. But I know they can't run away from it or drink their way out of it or die to get rid of it. It's always there."The best of these stories are "Trilobites," "The Honored Dead," "Fox Hunters," and "In the Dry." But there really isn't a weak story in the bunch. Every story is captivating, every one an exemplar of what good short story writing should be. At the end, the only thing that disappoints, that leaves the reader discomforted, is the thought that Pancake died so young, that these are the only stories we have by a truly remarkable writer.

Twelve Outstanding Stories of West Virginia

Breece Pancake killed himself with a shotgun in Charlottesville, Virginia on Palm Sunday in 1979. He was 26 years old at the time and had just completed a graduate writing program at the University of Virginia. Four years later "The Stories of Breece D'J Pancake" was published, a collection of twelve stories that posthumously established his literary reputation as one of the finest short story writers in twentieth century American literature.Pancake grew up in the hollows of West Virginia and each of the carefully wrought stories in this collection deals with the seemingly desperate lives of the working poor in that part of the country. They are remarkably crafted stories, written with a deep sense for the locale and the people from which they are drawn. They are also models of precision, the kind of stories that deserve to be read over and over, studied for the way in which they use foregrounding and the mundane details of everyday life--albeit everyday life that quietly screams with the desperation of poverty, deadening work, drinking, promiscuity, and brutality-to draw complex portraits of people who endure, even when endurance is no more than a substitute for hope. As he writes in "A Room Forever," the story of a tugboat mate spending New Year's Eve in an eight-dollar-a-night hotel room where he drinks cheap whiskey out of the bottle and eventually ends up with a teen-aged prostitute: "I stop in front of a bus station, look in on the waiting people, and think about all the places they are going. But I know they can't run away from it or drink their way out of it or die to get rid of it. It's always there."The best of these stories are "Trilobites," "The Honored Dead," "Fox Hunters," and "In the Dry." But there really isn't a weak story in the bunch. Every story is captivating, every one an exemplar of what good short story writing should be. At the end, the only thing that disappoints, that leaves the reader discomforted, is the thought that Pancake died so young, that these are the only stories we have by a truly remarkable writer.

A Voice Crying to be Heard...

In this volume, the writer's surviving voice really hits home and stays there. Like that perfect song that stays in your head and carries you through the day, Breece Pancake's words and wisdom echoe through the reader's mind forever after reading them. In this life, there is always something around to remind of a Breece Pancake story. From the time weathered fossils in the creek beds to the rare West Virginia 120 m.p.h. strait stretches, after reading this volume I see Pancake everywhere, no matter where I am in the world. Like the trilobite preserved beneath the earth that hides it, these stories are a tangible (and for some reason widely unknown), history of a time and generation that, like the tragedy of Pancake's suicide, is destined to be repeated if ignored.
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